I’ve been running a home lab a while with a couple of Intel NUCs. They have been absolutely brilliant, but they do have a slight problem with network card drivers. ESXi 5.5 didn’t support the Intel 82579LM Ethernet Controller inside NUCs, so you had to create a custom ISO image with the correct drivers. Today I wanted to upgrade my old ESXi 5.5 image to the latest one (I’m prepping to give vRA 7.0 a go). To my happy surprise, VMware has included the necessary E1000 drivers in the ESXi 5.5 U3 (and newer) package! Oh joy, no more custom images!
I can highly recommend NUCs for homelab if the Wife Acceptance Level (WAL) on hardware needs to be high. Here’s a (old) picture of my earlier homelab with a single NUC and a ventilated cabinet. Two large fans circulate the air and they are powered from a USB port. No sound, no visual -> WAL high!