Intel Nuc vs. Raspberry Pi: Mini-PC or Board?

Are you pressed for physical space but still want to assemble a top-notch computer system?

Intel NUC vs. Raspberry Pi is a great comparison to help you choose your mini-PC starting point. 

As is, the Intel NUC mini-PC is a fully-functional unit that comes with Windows and is ready to use.

Still, you can opt for Intel NUC chassis with customizable features.

The Raspberry Pi is a beginner-friendly, software-on-chip unit with upgradeable components. 

We’ll run down the two units, comparing strong points and shortcomings. 

Table of Contents

What is the Intel NUC?

Mini-PC showing USB connectors 

Mini-PC shows USB connectors. 

Intel NUC is a fully-functional computer with impressive power without screens and keyboards. 

Tech enthusiasts will tell you Intel has been a proponent of computer miniaturization for a while. Now, NUC is not just one computer. It’s more of an idea. It packs an ordinary PC’s processing power into a box, and users can add peripheral devices for a premium experience. 

Intel offers the NUC in three ways. 

  • Intel NUC full ready-to-use mini-PC
  • Intel NUC kit
  • Intel NUC motherboards. 

The Intel NUC vs. Raspberry Pi comparison focuses mainly on the fully operational mini-PC. Right out of the box, you get: 

  • A processor incorporated into the motherboard
  • RAM
  • Storage 
  • Windows operating system. 

For a proper Raspberry Pi vs. Intel Nuc comparison, we need to look at the Raspberry Pi briefly.

The Raspberry Pi is a set of single-board computers on which users can learn programming and develop computing projects. 

Regarding hardware, the premier version came with a single-core 700 MHz CPU and 256MB RAM. Upgrades to the Pi saw the hardware ramped up to a Quadcore 1.5GHz CPU coupled with 4GB RAM. 

Let’s compare both units based on technical specifics, usage, price, size, and performance. We’ll stick to base models. 

Intel NUC vs. Raspberry Pi

Intel NUC vs. Raspberry Pi Technical Specifics

Raspberry Pi board with connectors

Raspberry Pi board with connectors

Raspberry Pi single-board computer

To be clear, Intel NUC is technically superior to even the most advanced Raspberry Pi. 

The Celeron-powered Intel NUC NUC11ATKC2 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM with 64GB embedded storage. Even the more budget-friendly NUC7CJYSAMN has a 2.90GHz processor and 4GB DDR4 RAM. 

On the other hand, Raspberry Pi comes with a Broadcom BCM2835 processor clocking 700MHz. It also comes with 512MB of RAM and is bootable from a micro-SD card. 

For better comparison, a more advanced Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ comes with a 1.4 GHz processor and 1GB RAM. However, it is network and USB-bootable. 

Higher up the Intel NUC price ladder, you will find more technically powerful devices that eclipse the Raspberry Pi. 

Intel NUC vs. Raspberry Pi Usage

Finished gaming rig with RGB lights

I finished the gaming rig with RGB lights

Case use is a big determiner in choosing between Raspberry Pi vs. Intel NUC

With its processing power, you can assemble a custom PC for complex projects with an Intel NUC.

For example, an Intel NUC with a Core i7 processor would be great for building a gaming rig. You’d have to add components such as heat sinks and external GPUs. 

Most Intel NUCs perform well as media centers, data storage, servers, or digital signage computers. 

Powerful Intel NUC units like Intel NUC Skull Candy Canyon NUC6i7KYK have gaming capabilities.

However, their costs are astronomically above the most advanced Raspberry Pi. 

Raspberry Pi is great for projects such as home automation, a starter in programming, robotics, or display applications. 

Intel NUC vs. Raspberry Pi Price

Although there are many models, the Intel NUC 11 Essential(NUC11ATKC2) had a price range of between $198 and $220.

Comparatively, the Raspberry Pi retailed at a modest $35. 

The price difference may be due to the vast difference between the two products. The Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer, while the Intel NUC 11 Essential NUC11ATKC2 is a full mini-PC with Windows 10. 

The Raspberry Pi price is super attractive for beginners experimenting with customizable boards. Still, we cannot discredit Intel NU’s friendly price for experienced users who want a mini-PC for side projects. 

Intel NUC vs. Raspberry Pi Size

Mini-PC displaying vital PC components

Mini-PC displaying vital PC components

While both are small units, the Raspberry Pi is way smaller than the Intel NUC. The intel NUC measures about 4.6″x4.4″x2.04″, while the Raspberry Pi is a palm-sized device.

The Raspberry Pi B+ only measures 3.35″×2.2″×0.8 and weighs 42 grams. 

Intel NUC vs. Raspberry Pi Performance

Unsurprisingly, Intel NUC performs better than Raspberry Pi. Modestly powered Intel NUC is backed by Intel’s Celeron or Intel Core processors.

Therefore, their performance allows users to immerse themselves in complex tasks. 

The Solid State Drive storage and integrated graphics ensure most tasks on Intel NUC are lag-free. 

Raspberry Pi’s performance is decent. You can power it using the USB port through a USB adapter. If you want to max out on Raspberry Pi power, opt for Raspberry Pi 4. 

How good is a Raspberry Pi 4 as a computer?

Raspberry Pi 4’s performance as a computer is impressive. However, it might not perform as well as a laptop with similar specs.

Still, the Raspberry Pi 4 is the most powerful in the lineup. Here are some Raspberry Pi 4B specs. 

Processor Quad Core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8)
Clocking speed 1.5GHz
RAM2, 4, 8
GraphicsBroadcom VideoCore VI 500 MHz
System on Chip(SoC)Broadcom BCM2711B0
USB support 2x USB 2.0 ports, 2x USB 3.0
Power requirements5V, 3A

Intel NUC vs. Raspberry Pi 4

The Intel NUC’s closest comparison for complex tasks is a Raspberry Pi 4. Although the NUC costs more, the Pi 4 only consumes about 3.4 watts in an idle state.

It consumes 4.5W with one core active and 5.0W with two cores engaged. 

The Pi4’s 8GB RAM and 128GB memory are a good combination if you want to save power and are not planning on heavy applications.

However, if you plan on using any of them for tasks such as home security, choose the Intel NUC. 

What is a Raspberry Pi 4 equivalent PC?

A Raspberry Pi 4 cannot compete with most modern PCs. However, If you are spoiled for choosing between a Raspberry Pi 4 and vs. Intel NUC, here are three more Pi 4 equivalents. 

Odroid N2+Quad-core ARM Cortex-A73, dual-core Cortex A-53 at 1.5GHz4GB DDR4 Gigabit LAN, Headphone jack, HDMI port, 4x USB 3.0
Banana Pi BPi-M6Quad-core ARM Cortex-A73, single Cortex-M3 core at 2.1GHz4GB LPDDR4, 16GB onboard storage expandable to 256GB with microSD Gigabit Ethernet port, 4x USB 3.0, 1x Micro HDMI in, 1x Micro HDMI out
Libre(Le Potato) Computer Board AML-S905X-CCQuad-core ARM 4x Cortex-A53 at 1.5GHz2GB DDR340-pin header for UART, SPI, PWM, and I2C


Q: Is an Intel NUC a Raspberry Pi?

A: No, An Intel NUC is not a Raspberry Pi. Intel NUC is a mini-PC without monitors and a battery. Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer with excellent features for learning coding, robotics, and display applications.

However, both are minicomputers to connect to external peripheral devices for a laptop-like experience. 

Q: Is Intel discontinuing NUC?

Intel is NOT discontinuing NUC. However, Intel will not continue the NUC 12 Performance line as they discontinued the 11 Panther Canyon PCs. Still, you can get the Intel NUC 12 Extreme, 12 Pro, and 12 Enthusiast models. 

What’s your pick?

The Raspberry Pi might pale in comparison to Intel NUC. However, the Pi has a good price point and decent technical specs if you want a compact board for minimal power applications. 

The Intel NUC is a ready-to-go mini-PC suitable for light tasks if you start at a low price point. However, you can upgrade when you start complex power-hungry projects. 

How about you get both and play around with different projects?