Intel® NUC 9 Extreme Integration Video

Learn how to build your own Intel® NUC 9 Extreme. Watch us install a discrete graphics card, memory and storage with step by step instructions.


Welcome to the NUC 9 Extreme Kit build video. In this video, we're going to build out an Intel NUC 9 Extreme Kit. So you can start a gaming and fragging your buddies [INAUDIBLE].

First thing we're going to do is unbox this guy, and take a look at what is inside. And we've got this great box. And it has flaps. Opens here. And some packaging foam to keep your device safe. Lift that out, and set it aside. Lift up. on your NUC. Find in the box, an envelope underneath the NUC that contains some regulatory information and quick start guide.

This quick start guide is extremely useful to get familiar with the process that we're about to go through. I'm not going to leaf through the entire thing. But you can see that it includes diagrams of the device and will tell you how you can install the components that we're going to be installing. Get the system ready for power.

Underneath that envelope is a box that contains your power cord. And it's snug in the foam. And this is going to be the power cord we'll use to plug into the wall or your power strip and power on the NUC once we're done with our build. So for now I'm going to go ahead and place this back in its box and keep it inside the packaging so I know where it's. Replace the envelope with our quick start guide. I'm going to go ahead and put the foam packing material back in the box. And I'm just setting this whole box aside because we do not need it anymore.

Here we have the NUC 9 Extreme Kit out of the box. We've got a number of ports in front of the unit. First, we're going to have at the very top our power button. Below that, we have an SD Card Reader. Directly below that, we've got two USB 3.1 ports. And below that, we have got our headphone jack.

In back of the unit, you can see there are a number of ports back here. At the very bottom is the location. This is our power supply. And there's a fan in here that will dissipate heat while the system is running in the power supply. And the other side here we've got the location we're going to plug- in our power cord once we're done with our build.

Coming up the unit, we can see a number of ports that are going to be used for various things. We've got an HDMI port. You've got some USB ports that are used for plugging in things like keyboard and mouse. We've got our network ports here that we can use for connecting to our network in order to get internet access and talk to other devices on our network.

The first step to building this NUC is getting familiar with the different ports and the form factor. But then also noticing in the back of the unit at the top here, we've got two screws that hold and secure the top of the NUC on the top here.

All right, before we break into this NUC 9, to start the build, we're going to go ahead and take a look at the other components that came with your kit, your build kit. So what we've got here is our GeForce RTX video card. It's an ASUS RTX 2070 08G Mini. It's got two fans on it. And we're going to have locations on the back of this where we're going to plug in our screen, ultimately, after we've installed it in the NUC.

The other thing that should have come in your kit is an Intel SSD 6. You can see on the back of this packaging that it talks about the type of device that is inside this package. We've got an M.2 80 millimeter PCIe 3.0 times 4, M.2 SSD. This is going to be the device where we install our operating system and all of our games once we have it installed in the device.

Go ahead and open this package, all of the inside packaging. And we can leave this M.2 SSD in the clamshell and set aside for later. For now, I'm going to go ahead and get these boxes back [INAUDIBLE].

Another item that should have arrived with your kit is some memory. These should be two 8 gigabyte SODIMM. You'll see that referenced as S-O-D-I-M-M. And these are going to go with the compute element and will be the RAM that the system will use for loading your programs and the operating system.

All right. Now that we've got all of our equipment ready for installation, we can examine the NUC again and notice we've got a couple screws in the top panel at the back of the unit. These are small, Phillips-head screws. You notice that I've got small screwdriver here that is going to be used for disassembling and reassembling this unit. I don't need any other tools for this build. You don't have to have this exact tool. A small, Phillips-head screwdriver, as long as the Phillips-head and it seats nicely into the screws, that's what you're going to need.

One thing I'd like to say right away is that sometimes on computers there are sharp edges that can catch you or touch you. And you want to just be careful. There is a bracket at the back of this unit here and some sharp edges. I just want you to be careful and target some of that so you don't get yourself.

I'm going to go ahead and loosen these screws in the top cover in the back of the NUC. When I'm backing these screws out, they will start to click as I continue to rotate the screwdriver counterclockwise. And I notice that these screws don't come out of the top cover at all. This type of fastener is called a captive screw, and it is designed to make it very difficult to lose these particular fasteners.

You can see also directly beside of one of the screws is a hole here. This is a device lock hole. You can use a Kensington-style locking device [INAUDIBLE] to secure your NUC to a desk or something else that's secure and can't be easily removed in order to keep it safe. That is a piece that did not come in your kit. That is available for purchase if you wanted to buy it.

In order to go ahead and remove the top cover, once we've loosened these screws, you're going to go ahead and secure the NUC with one hand and slide the top cover back. Sometimes it's a little bit sticky. But it just slides straight back. We don't want to try to lift up until you've got this all the way back, right? Once this is slid all the way back, and it doesn't take a lot of pressure to get there, you can lift it straight off of the unit.

This top lid is special. It's got a couple of fans in there that are designed to lift away heat as the system is running. And this will keep the system cool while you're gaming so the system is stable. Inside, at the front of the NUC, you can see it there are some gold contacts in here. We try not to touch any of those gold contacts.

But we notice also on the lid that there are equivalent pins here that contact that location in the front of the NUC. This is going to allow power to drive these fans. On one of the fans we can see it. There's a shroud or some metal guard. It's important that this stay in place and not get bent in any way. If it was to get bent up into the fans, it would prevent the fans from spinning. And that would reduce the ability of the fans to cool the unit. You want to make sure that stays in good shape.

With the lid off, the next thing that we're going to do in our build you're going to remove the side panel. These mesh side panels lift directly up off the unit. And I just need to grab at the top [INAUDIBLE] of both sides and gently lift it. It doesn't take a lot of force to lift the side. It can be [INAUDIBLE].

The next thing that we're going to go ahead and remove in order to get our build dialed is this cross bracket that is currently installed. This is what our top panel connects to and slides into. In order for us to do our build, we're going to have to go ahead and take it. I'm going to lie this NUC down on its side so that as I'm removing the screws in the cross bracket, you can lift the screws straight up and out. These screws are not captive and will need to be set aside in some sort of container. I advise small container that can hold the screws. There's going to be a couple of other screws we're going to want to take out. There's only two screws on this cross bracket. Once those are out, the bracket just lifts up and lifts away.

All right. In the inside of our NUC 9, there are a few different items of interest we're going to have to work during this build. One of the things we're going to need to work with is this cable here. Ultimately, this cable is going to plug into our video card and power our video card. The thing that we're going to work with is a cable over here. It's kind of tucked it up into the front bezel of the NUC. And this is our cable that allows the ports that we talked about earlier on the front of the unit to talk to the compute element that's in the NUC 9 Extreme Kit.

Right now, I'm going to go ahead and lift up on the cable at the top and at the bottom. And set that aside. This cable is designed so that it can go in either way. There's no forward or backwards to it. And it sits in the ports on the compute element and by the chassis only one way. So when we reinstall that, it'll flick into place nicely. Or it will prevent us from putting it in if we've got it oriented backwards way, unstick.

Another item that we're going to need to look at is this plastic flap. It's in here. And we will notice that this flap has some perforations at one of the [INAUDIBLE] that is bent. This is not to be removed even though it kind of looks like it could get pulled out of the unit. This is a flap that is going to stay in between our compute element and our video card, once we have it installed. And it's going to allow airflow between those two units and ensure that the system can operate coolly while we're putting it under load or gaming, whatever we're doing with our unit. So this flap is very important and is not to be removed.

That said, in order for us to get into the compute element, we do need to stash it. And what I do is I'll take this and kind of tuck it up underneath this cable that's towards the front of the unit to move it out of the way. And now you can see we can see the fan very clearly here on the compute element inside, which actually I'm going to go ahead and set this unit on its side again.

Now that we've got this on its side, we are going to need to move this GPU power cable that is secured to the outer board. It's at the bottom of the unit. It's sitting just on top of our power supply unit. You recall you can see where we're going to plug this unit in once we're done with our build. And we can follow this unit all the way back. This section of the computer is the power supply unit, which serves to power your NUC. And it's very important this is-- also you can see the fan that I mentioned at the beginning of the video here that will cool that power supply unit.

Just above the power supply, we see that there is a circuit board that our compute element plugs into and, ultimately, where we'll install our graphics card. And on that circuit board is our power cord. And it's secured here by a little beaded harness. And too, we're going to need to go ahead and release this power cord from there, so we can ultimately tuck these cords up into the front bezel where we've got our video card installed. So in order to do that, I think it's a little bit difficult to see, but we're going to secure the back of this beaded harness. And use our fingers to press down on the part that's sticking out of the fastener. And just release it from there.

Once that's done, we can go ahead and push these power supply cords out of the way. And we've got full access to our compute element inside our NUC, which leads us to the next screws that we're going to go ahead and release, which are at the bottom of the compute element. And these screws are also captive screws. So once we have got them loosened, and we're backing them out until they kind of start clicking. Once we feel that clicking, we know that we've released that fastener all the way. And go over to the next one. And release that as well.

With both of those screws released, it's now time for us to open up this fan shroud. this door that we just unscrewed, in order to gain access to the inside compute element. To do that, we're going to use the screws that we just released, and grab them with our thumb and forefinger, and kind of wiggle it down. And it is a wiggle. No, we're not going to pull up on it yet. So we need the door to release downward from its fasteners. Once that's occurred, you can gently lift this door, this fan shaft up and away.

Now, I want you to be careful. There is a power cord that powers the fan in this shroud that is going to remain connected to the compute element that holds nine. And we're just going to go ahead and set that aside. But before we do, I'd like to call your attention to this kind of bluish material that's on these long rectangles. These rectangles coincide with some ports on the inside of the compute elements called M.2 ports. Which there are two in the compute element, one for the back of the unit and one for the center of the unit. This material contacts our M.2 SSD and helps to dissipate heat as the computer runs. And this device is utilized by the computer, it will get warm. And this piece of metal on the back of this strange material-- I say it's strange because it's a little bit squishy-- is a heat sink. And this is going to move the heat up and away from our M.2 SSD and allow this fan to exhaust the heat out the unit. And it's very important for stable running of our system.

Next up we're going to do is we're going to go ahead remove the M.2 SSD hold-down retention screw from this rear standoff in the M.2 socket that's toward the middle of the compute unit. Notice that there's another M.2 socket that is closer to the rear of the unit here. And these are the actual ports that are the M.2 ports where we can plug in SSDs or other expansion [INAUDIBLE].

Also notice that there are some silver pegs that come up. And at the back here, we've got a different standoff that's screwed in towards the end. This is for a 110 millimeter M.2 card that can go in. But this standoff can be moved between these different locations. Since the M.2 port that is toward the middle of the compute element is 80 millimeters and the SSD that we're going to be installing is 80 millimeter and the standoff is already in the right location for that size M.2 SSD, we are going to use that M.2 port.

In order to do that, first we're going to go ahead and screw the M.2 retention screw. And my screwdriver's magnetized, so the screw comes out on the tip of my screwdriver. If you don't have a magnetized screwdriver, be careful when you're lifting it out so that the screw doesn't drop into the compute element. It's not that big of a deal. If it does, just kind of angle the unit around until you can see the screw and just pick it up with your fingers. No problem.

Now once we've got that screw removed and set aside into our little tray, we're going to take our M.2 SSD that came with your build kit, remove it from the clamshell container that it's in. There is a space in the M.2 connector side that is going to line up with the M.2 port in the compute element. So take a screwdriver. You'll see there's only one way to place this into the unit so that the piece of plastic on the port lines up with the connector in the M.2 drives. And as you see, the drive is now seated in that M.2 port and is kind of sitting up at an angle. That is normal and exactly what we want. Now we are going to put a little bit of down pressure on that guy just to make sure that it's seated in properly.

And once it is, we'll grab our screw again. One thing that we're going to go ahead and press down on our M.2 SSD. And it should line up nicely with the rear standoff. You can notice that kind of slipped into place. And now it's not sitting up at that 45-degree angle because it's in there nice and snug. And it sits right down on that standoff, just so.

So I can go ahead and place my screw back in the standoff and begin to screw it in. And I don't need to overtighten that screw, but I'll screw it down until it's seat. Now we have installed our M.2 SSD into the compute element, and now we're [INAUDIBLE].

Your next step is going to be to install our memory modules. You really notice that there are some ports in the back of the compute element, back towards the front of the NUC here. And they are two identical ports. You need to grab your memory that came with your build kit, and open the packaging. It might look a little different than what I have here, but will contain the same form factor memory modules. I'm going to take one at a time out of the packaging. And I noticed that just like our M.2, these modules have that a small notch in them, or space, in between either side.

Now on the M.2 SSD, that notch was really offset. And it was very, very clear that it was only one way or the other that the module could go in. With the memory DIMMs, it's a little bit less obvious. But it is offset a bit from center. And we can look at our ports and notice that there is a key, again a piece of plastic, in that port that is going to correspond with the notch in the DIMM. If I was to try to put this into the socket with it oriented improperly, that notch wouldn't line up with the space in the DIMM.

So the way I have this here, I'm going to have to turn it over. And I'm going to just place this DIMM into the socket, [INAUDIBLE] side first into there. And I'm going to push on it until it seats nicely. Again, just like the M.2 SSD, sitting at a 45-degree angle here. Once I can tell that that's seated in there nicely with a little bit of pressure putting it in, I can press with even pressure in the end of the DIMM until I hear a little bit of a click. And that ensures that the retention clips have snapped into place properly. And the DIMM is now flush in the port, right?

Go ahead and grab the other memory module. And both ports are keyed in the same way, so I know that I am going to have to flip this module over. And again, line it up with the key, that little plastic piece in the port, DIMM sockets. Once it is seated in there properly, you go ahead and press down on the [INAUDIBLE] edges until it clicks into place. And I can see that is now installed just as I needed to.

If I was going to go ahead and remove these memory modules, I'd use one finger from each hand and spread those little retention clips a little bit. And the module pops up into that 45-degree orientation. And then I can just grab that memory module, and pull it right on out. So if I wanted to go ahead and upgrade my RAM at a later time, it's a pretty simple process to do so, Set that back in. We can replace.

At this time, we have completed the installation of components inside the computer element in this kit. And so we can replace our compute element door and fan shroud in place. You can notice that our heat spreader is going to line up with our M.2 SSD. And that fan goes right over our memory units.

I want to call your attention this time to this little hook that's on the fan. And it will be a bit difficult to see, but there's a little hook here. And we want to make sure that the fan cable is seated inside that hook. So if it's come out of that area while we've been working on this, it's fine. We're going to want to go ahead and just run that cable back into that clip. There are three small wires that make up that fan power cable. And make sure that all three are [INAUDIBLE] or that you are in that clip. Because it's a little bit stubborn, it's easier to do this while the fan shroud is off of the compute element.

So with that done, I'm going to go ahead and set my compute element door back down. I may have to move some wires or other items out of the way in order to make sure that it seats down in there. This does set into place. We can see that all of the seams along this are aligned straight with one another and snug. There's not a lot of space in any one spot. It's OK if there's a little bit of space. What we really want to do is make sure that when we go ahead and tighten the screws at the bottom of this shroud, that our screws go into the holes. And we'll be able to feel that pretty easily.

So I moved around so you can see that I have got the door, this fan shroud, seating on the compute element. I've got anything out of the way that might have gotten in the way of me placing it placed and I've set it down. And now I'm just tightening the screws back on up. There's one on each side. Again, we don't need to tighten these down with a lot of pressure or force, just until they are snug and all in place.

So that concludes the component installation in the compute element itself. So we are ready to go ahead and install your GPU into this device. [INAUDIBLE] To get started with installing our GPU, first and foremost, we're going to need to run our power cords that are kind of flopping out. We set these aside earlier on. We're going to need to run these into this front bezel of the NUC chassis. OK? And to do that, we're going to go ahead and pull out our fan, excuse me, our [INAUDIBLE], this plastic flap that is our air baffle that helps with airflow in the unit that we had tucked up into those power cables earlier, so that it's out of the way. And we're going to go ahead and start at the bottom towards the power supply unit. And we're going to just hook the cables into the front bezel, moving up towards the top the unit.

Once we've done that, there's multiple power connectors on the end of this cable. We're only going to use this one that's a single piece here. There's this other cable here that's got two pieces to it. And we're going to also tuck that into the front bezel of the NUC. So it is out the way. You might need to tuck it back up there a couple of times during this process. It doesn't need to stay there right now. The video card is going to kind of put some pressure on that and hold it in place. So at this particular time, we can go ahead and just let it be.

Next thing we want to do is grab our front IO, excuse me, the cord that we took out earlier at the very beginning and set aside. This is the piece that connects our front ports on the unit to the compute element. And to do that, we're going to go ahead and just plug it in towards the bottom. And we see that it's already bent in a certain way that will correspond with the way that we took it out. And we're going to just reinstall it same way that we took it out. Going to go ahead and plug it into the base. Then I'm just going to set it aside a little bit. The reason I'm doing this now is because with the video part in place, it's kind of difficult to get to that connector.

So that is now in place and ready for us to work with. If the plastic flap flaps up, that's totally fine. Again, when our video card is installed, it's going to hold that in place just where we need it to be.

At this time, in order to plug this video card in, we need to remove these two slot covers before we can go ahead and install our video card. There are two screws that we need to remove to do that, one in each slot cover. These screws are not captive screws, so they will come all the way out of the chassis when we are doing this. Again, you've got a little bit of magnetism on the end of my screwdriver, so they just came out as I lifted up. I'm going to go ahead and remove the other screw before I take these slot clips out. There we go. Then I just lift straight up on the slot cover. It may be a little bit sticky. But with a little bit of pressure, just straight up and gentle, it'll just come right up and out. And I like to put one hand on the outside and one hand on the inside to kind of pinch and lift straight up on that. And it comes right out.

So these slot covers can be set aside. I advise that you put these back in your original box. And that way you've got them for later if you ever want to take your video card out and just use the included video connector.

All right. So now we get those slot covers off. And we've got our print and IO cable back installed, and we've got our power cords tucked into the front bezel of the unit. And we have got our air flap in place. We can go ahead and take our video card. And what we to do is come in at an angle. Once we've got that in, you might see that the power cords are getting in our way a little bit. And we might need to use a finger at the top or the bottom to allow that video card to seat in parallel to our compute element. Once that is installed like so, we can see that there is little connectors in the bottom of the card that you're going to line up with this loose slot on that circuit board on the bottom of the unit.

You go ahead and set this on its side again, so I can get this lined up properly. [INAUDIBLE] having to adjust the location of the power cords [INAUDIBLE] chassis. And then line up the gold leads with the loose slot in the bottom of the board. Once it's lined up and seated in there, I can go ahead and put the unit back on its feet and press down until the video card seats into this. Double check to make sure that there's no exposed gold leads. And I can tell that the video card has seated in there equally along the entire slot.

Once that's done, we can go ahead and connect the power cord to the top of the video card by just plugging it in. And if you are going to run our power cords into [INAUDIBLE] in that front bezel, it will be out of the way down the front, and that will just plug right in to where it needs to go. At this point, I make sure that the plastic flap is where I want it to be, which is positioned just between the video card and the compute element. I see that that is in good shape.

So I'm going to go ahead and place the screws that were retaining the slot covers in order to secure down the video card. Again, I don't need these to be super tight, but I do want to make sure they're snug. By snug, it means seated all the way down. Go ahead and screw them in until they get pretty resistant to my being turning, but I don't need to crank them.

All right. We're almost done with our build at this point. Remember we still have this one cord that's flopping out. And we're going to go ahead and run that into the front of the bezel next to our power cords. It will just pop in there. And we're going to go ahead and line this up with the port in the inside of the compute element. And we might into bend the cord around our GPU power cord a little bit. But it will go ahead and seat nicely into that port. If it does come out of that front bezel, we are going to want to go ahead and push that back in there. And that's no problem if it pops out. Again, we can just go ahead and tuck it back into that location there.

So now we've got this cord going up. And you remember in the beginning when we took the top port-- the top cover off with the fans. We have to make sure that these contacts are able to be contacted by that top cover. And so we want to make sure that this port is definitely below that piece. Looks like we've gotten that pretty well done.

At this time we're going to reinstall our crossbar. And I like to do this with the unit on its side. We'll get and grab one of the the screws. Some [INAUDIBLE] crossbars. Start with the front, but you can start with the [INAUDIBLE]. And it is OK if that crossbar comes up as you tighten it down in the front or in the back. You're just going to align it the hole, and get your screw in there. And tighten it down. Again, we don't need to tighten it with excessive force, just until it snugs down and doesn't spin easily in there.

All right. The NUC 9 Extreme Kit is mostly assembled. We are just missing our side panel and top cover. The side sets into the frame. And once it's lined up, you're going to go ahead and slide it down until it's seats into place. And this can be a little bit tricky. It might need some jiggling back and forth when you do it. I just am going to go ahead and take it off again, and put it back in place. It is a couple of tabs on this mesh cover that correspond with some spots on the chassis. And when those sit properly, it rests nicely in there, and it is now aligned. If one of them is out or getting hung up, you just start over. Just pull it out, seat it in there until it feels good and it's flush. And then you just kind of push down gently. There's nothing about these side panels that require a lot of force to put them in place. So if you feel like you're pressing on it all really hard, you need to back off and just going to restart the process. And it will go in there if you just kind of slide it in there nice and gently.

All right. Once that side panel's on, we're ready to replace the top cover of our kit. That's going to just sit down in those brackets, like so. We're going to secure the front of the NUC with our hand. Grab this and slide it into place until it clicks. If you get resistance, like I am right now, you might remove your top cover again and make sure that there is no power cords or the front USB cord in the way of that snugging down. OK?

So we're going to go ahead and try this again. Put the cover down. Slide it in place. And you know that it is in place when that front seat looks about like that. So it's just not very much space here. And the back is lined up like so. It's nice and flush. Once that's in place, we can go ahead and tighten our rear chassis screws. And that side. You feel good about building our NUC 9 Extreme Kit, installing your components. And we're ready to game.