Rate my hardware - Intel NUC

Hi Everyone,

I’m very new in the journey, but looking to get an Intel NUC and use Proxmox to have a VM for HA and one for Frigate. I’m using VM instead of docker for HA so I can use supervised at a minimum for more flexibility later. I have a USB Coral for Frigate.

Just for reference, I also have an older Synology NAS, but when I attempted to set up a VM it struggled as it’s an older CPU with sub par RAM. I’ll continue to use the NAS but just for media, back ups and storing footage from Frigate.

For my hardware, I want something that’s future proofed without going too over the top. The 11th Gen i5 Intel NUC seemed to hit this point for me.

In choosing which model, I’m looking to go for the PAHi5 as it has the additional 2.5" SATA slot on top of the M2. I thought, again in the interest of future proofing, that keeping the m2 slot free would be ideal. While I already have a USB Coral, I might want to move to an M2 down the track or have other needs.

For the 2.5", I am looking at the Samsung 870 EVO 1TB 2.5" Internal SSD. Again, this aims to keep the M2 slow free.

For the RAM, as this model has up to 64gb RAM with 2x drives, I was just going to get 1x Crucial 32gb RAM. I’m thinking that this will allow me get another big one down the track if required, noting that 32gb sounds like it would be enough for the rest of my set up.

I welcome any feedback on any of this - I’m just a hobbyist so feel free to tear my plan to shreds!

Thanks :slight_smile:

11th gen i5 is definitly enough. It will even be overpowered.
I was using an older J5005 previously which was a Pentium Silver. This was actually already just fine for all I am doing.
However, as i wanted to host more VMs via Proxmox I decided to upgrade. First I found an i5 10th gen NUC and shortly after an i7 10th gen. They can be found relatively cheap slightly used for way less than the 11th gen.
For me, the main benefit of the 11th gen is the beefed up GPU.
However, my I7 10th gen still has 6 Real CPU Cores + HT.
I paid for the NUC i5 around 300€ and for the i7 upgrade 75€ more.
When I see what you are looking for, you can probably also very comfortably go with 8th gen (didnt really change that much compared to 10) and still have a lot of headroom.

The NUCs are seriously powerful. Compare prices also from older Gen.
If you need GPU Power go 11th gen+

Just for comparison:
Im currently running 12 active LXCs, 1 Active VM (HA). My CPU Usage is around 6% for my I7 10th gen. If i turn on some other VMs like Win11 CPU usage goes up, but never so much as i dont have enough resources left.

Another possible path is to buy a separate NUC for your HA setup (I have a NUC10i3FNK with 8G memory and a 0.5TB SSD for this) which will still have enough power. Next to this, you can then buy a separate (maybe also a slightly older generation) NUC for your Proxmox/VM setup.

A few benefits:

  • You keep your home automation (which might be considered quite critical) separate from a setup that might be more of “playing around”.
  • HA doesn’t have to share disk/memory with other VMs
  • If you use MariaDB instead of Sqlite, you can use the addon, which means that the start of HA doesn’t have to wait for other VMs or services.

The downside might be a slightly higher cost (both for the hardware as by means of power consumption).

1 Like

Thanks for that. I have considered this mainly as I’ve seen a lot of comments that OS works better on bare metal, but to be honest I’m not sold the benefits are worth the cost. Based on the benefits you outlined can you see VMs adding a failure point? Is it likely to create a timing lag when I make a request on HA? Thanks!

I got

HP Ex Lease Mini Desktop EliteDesk 800 G2 Mini Intel Core i5-6500T 3.1 GHZ Turbo 8GB 256GB SSD Windows 10 Pro

all it does is run HA
has not let me down

Thanks for that, all good to know! I was tempted to find a 6 core just to give more flexibility if I dedicated the CPUs to VMs.

The GPU is a good point- to be honest I probably don’t need it given I have my coral for frigate, but I thought it might help future proof it for anything I do in the future. Did you have any thoughts on the other specs I had for RAM and storage?


For my use cases I would probably go with a m2 System Drive (512 gb in my machine) and keep the 2.5" Slot for possible cheap future storage upgrade. Like the 8tb QVO SSD.

32GB seems like overkill. If you are set on 32gb then id go for 2x 16gb to enable dual channel.
Im sporting 2x8 and have ample of free ram.

Thanks for that, what is the benefit of m2 vs the sata? I do have a NAS with plenty of storage at the moment so was interested in seeing if there’s any other difference.

Thanks for the info on the RAM too, that makes sense!

I don’t think it will add any differences with regards to speed or lag als long as you don’t overload with too many VMs.

The main reason why I have split my own setup is because I like to play with my VM setup, so this environment can get messed up every now and then. And with the split setup, HA isn’t impacted.

The m2 ssds usually are faster.
Sata speed is limited. Plenty fast for HA though.

Regarding VMs as a failure point. Might happen, but thats usually if you play around with the underlying system. Not because you play around with VMs.
One additional benefit is that its super easy to do backups and restores. Even easier than the built in HA ones.

Another reason a system like proxmox is better suited to my needs is network managment. While you can load several ha addons that are basically all docker containers, i actually was standing rather frequently before some issues that could not easily be fixed with how ha addons are setup. For example I needed two addons which both absolutely needed to listen to port80.
Now with VMs amd LXC i basically have all these addons running on their dedicated IP Adress which is awesome

This I would actually disagree - the HAOS works just as well as in the VM.