Minisforum NUCXi7: Full Review of a Compact i7 Gaming Desktop

Man gaming on his PC during a live stream

Minisforum NUCXi7: Full Review of a Compact i7 Gaming Desktop

Key Points

  • The NUCXi7 prices have been steadily declining since its launch.
  • The NUCX dropped earlier in 2022, retailing for between $1100 and $1400, depending on your CPU and GPU configuration.
  • The higher performance option is the MinisForum NUCXi7.

Gamers have always shown a special love for compact PCs. While the race to make the smallest PC often means sacrificing power and upgradeability, Minisforum, a German company, has created a highly compact system with a powerful batch of hardware.

The NUCxi7 is the latest release from Minisforum, aimed squarely at gamers who want a gaming desktop and gaming laptop but can’t decide between the two. This system takes advantage of both form factors and melds them into one highly compact and robust design. 

NUCXi7: Best Deal Today

The NUCXi7 is still fresh off its initial release, and prices have been steadily declining since its launch. We’ve taken the liberty of locating the best deals amongst all of the confusion:

  • NUCXi7: Overview

    Release date and price

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    The NUCX dropped earlier in 2022, retailing for between $1100 and $1400, depending on your CPU and GPU configuration. Currently, the price has dropped significantly since the release. Even the fully developed Intel Core i7 model with maximum RAM and storage configuration can be had for just $1279.

    Different Models

    There are two basic configurations of the NUCX available today, each with a different CPU and GPU. There is the Minisforum NUCXi5, which an Intel Core i5-11400H processor powers to offer a suitable amount of midrange performance. Combined with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU, this system makes up the entry-level option.

    The higher performance option is the MinisForum NUCXi7. This is the more powerful system with the Intel Core i7-11800H and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU. As for price, both models start as barebones systems from $859 to $1029.

    Intel NUC NUC11PHKi7C Gaming Computer,Intel Core i7-1165G7,2.8–4.7GHz,28W Intel Iris Xe Graphics,NVI-Dia GeForce RTX2060 Discrete Graphics w/6GB GDDR6,NO RAM, NO SSD, NO OS, Add't Components ...
    • 【Processor and Discrete Graphics】Intel NUC 11 take gaming to the next level with the ultra-sleek, super-small Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast Mini PC and kit. Powered by an 11th Generation Intel Core...
    • 【Phenomenal Performance, Spectacular Size】 This system is designed for anyone who wants an unparalleled combination of performance, riveting visuals, and fast and flexible connectivity. Along with...
    • 【Memory and Storage, Operating System of The Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast Mini PC】 Intel NUC NUC11PHKi7CAA1 Gaming PC has Dual-channel DDR4-3200 SODIMM slots, M.2 22x80/110 PCIe x4 Gen3 NVMe and M.2...
    • 【Intel NUC NUC11PHKi7CAA1 Gaming PC's Other Features & Technology】 HDMI 2.0b port, Mini DP 1.4 port, Two Thunderbolt 4 ports (fast charging), Intel 2.5 GB Ethernet port , Intel WiFi 6 AX201 and...
    • 【3-Year Global Warranty from Intel & GEEK+】 We are the Intel NUC Authorised Reseller on Amazon. All products sold from GEEK+ are will automatically receive a 3-year free Warranty Service from...
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    08/29/2023 10:16 pm GMT


    The NUCXi7 comes with all the important connections you would expect on a gaming laptop. Although it doesn’t offer the endless expanse of ports you might find on a full-size desktop, you still get enough connectivity to hook up peripherals, gaming monitors, and headsets. If you’re hoping to plug in a headset for VR gaming, you have open USB and Thunderbolt ports ready to go.

    You’ll find three USB 3.2 ports along the front of the device, an SD card reader, and a headphone jack. The back contains the power connector, USB Type-C, and HDMI ports. The USB Type-C port also doubles as a Thunderbolt port, giving you a secondary option to plug in displays, docking stations, and headsets.

    The NUCXi7 gives you plenty of options for wireless connectivity. With a built-in Intel WiFi 6E-AX210 module, you can enjoy decent performance for gaming and streaming.

    However, the integrated WiFi is not as powerful as competing devices, especially gaming laptops with much stronger dedicated antennas. Fortunately, the integrated LAN port provides a faster alternative, with speeds of up to 2.5Gbit/s.


    ProcessorIntel Core i7-11800H
    Base Clock Speed2.30GHz
    Boost Clock Speed4.60GHz
    GraphicsNvidia RTX 3070
    Storage TypeNVME M.2
    Storage Capacity1TB
    Weight5.39 pounds or 2.444 kg

    NUCXi7: Review

    The Minisforum NUCXi7 is aimed squarely at gamers who want a cross between a gaming laptop and a gaming desktop. As such, this system offers many of the benefits of each platform, with only a few drawbacks worth mentioning. 


    Based on Intel’s Tiger Lake architecture, the Intel Core i7-11800H offers eight native computing cores. According to Minisforum, PL2 can consume up to 110 watts, although PL1 still offers decent performance at around 68 watts on average. This leads to decent performance for gaming, streaming, and editing videos. 

    If you do processor-intensive work like 3D modeling or rendering, you might want to step up to a more powerful system, but the NUCXi7 is surprisingly well-equipped for gaming. The biggest limitation of a compact design like this is the thermal efficiency. While the system runs great now, the compact design could lead to thermal throttling after extended periods of use.

    ​​Graphics Card

    One of the quickly apparent drawbacks to the NUCXi7 comes when you realize the graphics card limitations. As opposed to the desktop version of this GPU, which runs at a much higher wattage, the RTX 3070 used in this system is the scaled-down laptop version. This RTX 3070 performs about 25% slower than its desktop counterpart, thanks to the lower wattage and limited thermal capacity.

    Even still, the graphics performance in the NUCXi7 is on par with an RTX 3060 desktop. This system offers a competitive package compared to similarly priced gaming laptops. Gaming performance is sufficient for 1,440p gaming most of the time. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU can occasionally deliver 2,160p, provided the game doesn’t require excessive processing power. 


    Undoubtedly, the most striking element of the NUCXi7 is its compact design. With such a slim form factor, this system is more reminiscent of a gaming laptop than a gaming desktop. The NUCXi7 is about as slender as your average gaming laptop when positioned on its side. As a result, this system is ideal for limited space.

    If you have a tiny bit of space left on your desk or behind your PC monitor, you’ll easily be able to slot this computer right in without much hassle. Although the construction is all plastic, the black finish and design accents give the system a high-end look and feel.

    The honeycomb pattern along the back of the device allows for airflow while maintaining a modern aesthetic. Additionally, you can place the NUCXi7 in a stand for vertical usage or lay it on its side for horizontal operation.


    Much like a typical desktop, the NUCXi7 allows you to upgrade and service your own components. Suppose you don’t like the allowance of RAM and storage offered in the default configurations. In that case, you can easily pop the side panel off of the computer and access your internal components. Thanks to the clever design, the inside of the system can be accessed by removing three screws along the bottom of the device.

    At first glance, you’ll notice the internals of the NUCXi7 is composed mainly of laptop components. While most gaming desktops use desktop components, this system employs smaller and more efficient laptop components to save space and power. Fortunately, you can still upgrade your system without too much trouble. There are additional spots for more RAM and up to two NVMe M.2 solid-state drives.

    Power Consumption

    One area where the NUCXi7 shines above standard desktop gaming PCs is power consumption. The energy efficiency of this system is on par with a laptop, thanks to its unique construction and composition out of mainly laptop components. Even when pitted against similar small form factor desktops, the NUCXi7 comes ahead.

    The efficient hardware and thermal design combination allow this system to sip resources. As a result, the NUCXi7 consumes between 28 and 36 watts at idle. While under load, this figure jumps up to an average of 83 watts, still far below the competition. Even under peak usage, the maximum wattage is constrained to less than 230 watts with the included power supply. Overall, the NUCXi7 is a highly energy-efficient system.

    NUCXi7: Pros and Cons

    The NUCXi7 is a powerful system with plenty of positive qualities, but its design has some disadvantages.


    • Compact
    • Good design
    • Great specs


    • Expensive
    • Less expandable
    • Runs hot

    NUCXi7: Is It a Buy?

    The NUCXi7 offers a unique combination of laptop components and desktop performance, but it is not right for everyone. Despite a host of advantages and unique selling points, there are a few drawbacks worth mentioning.

    Buy it if…

    You want a compact cross between a gaming desktop and a gaming laptop. The NUCXi7’s unique design offers a functional combination of a laptop and a desktop. If you want to enjoy the benefits of both form factors, the NUCXi7 gives you a comfortable start, with plenty of performance to handle the latest games.

    With the 11th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, you get plenty of power for handling demanding applications. Coupled with an Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU, you have a well-equipped gaming system capable of handling the most popular titles at 1440p resolution. Conversely, the Intel Core i5 model is sufficient for 1080p gaming if you have a smaller budget.

    Don’t buy it if…

    You want a fully portable gaming solution like a laptop. If you like an integrated display for a gaming package you can take anywhere, you could look at gaming laptops instead. Many alternatives from companies like MSI, Asus, Alienware, and Razer offer highly competitive options depending on your situation.

    The NUCXi7 is not the system to get if you want a massive gaming desktop. Since this system is designed to be compact, you have to deal with several sacrifices because of the small size.

    As a result, it is more difficult to upgrade or overclock the NUCXi7. If you want something larger, there are many prebuilt gaming desktops and options that would work better.

    Check out the Minisforum NUCXi7 on Amazon.

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Minisforum NUCXi7: Full Review of a Compact i7 Gaming Desktop FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Who makes the NUCXi7?

The NUCXi7 is produced by Minisforum, a system manufacturer based in Germany.

How old is the NUCXi7? 

The NUCXi7 is fairly recent, with a launch date earlier this year.

Is NUCXi7 good for gaming? 

Yes. The NUCXi7 is designed for gaming, with its 11th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and RTX 3070 graphics card. You can expect to play all of the most popular games on high settings at 1080p and 1440p resolution.

Can you upgrade the NUCXi7? 

Yes, you can quickly upgrade the RAM and SSD on the NUCXi7. Simply remove the side panel with a few screws; your internal components are easily accessible.

Does NUCXi7 have HDMI ports?

Yes, despite its compact size, the NUCXi7 manages to cram one HDMI port along the rear panel. You can also plug in a second monitor with the built-in Thunderbolt port.

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