Intel updates its NUC lineup, including a follow-up to its Hades Canyon gaming mini-PC

Intel is updating its Subsequent Unit of Computing (NUC) lineup of miniature computer systems with its eleventh Gen processors, and it’s once more together with a gaming-focused mannequin. The NUC 11 Fanatic is a follow-up to the NUC 8 Hades Canyon from 2018, which managed to pack triple-A gaming efficiency (to not point out I/O that rivaled a full-size desktop) right into a tiny enclosure.

Included within the refresh are updates to the corporate’s extra conventional small-cube NUC Efficiency Mini computer systems, which beforehand had tenth Gen processors. The improve brings Wi-Fi 6 and Intel Xe graphics to the i5 and i7 fashions. Intel has additionally added a NUC Professional line, a few of which have vPro-enabled CPUs and all of which might drive 8K shows. There’s additionally a NUC 11 compute unit, which is only a board meant to be built-in into future computer systems. This isn’t the first time Intel has had that idea, however we’ll get extra into that in only a second.

The NUC 11 Professional computer systems are available many sizes.
Picture: Intel

NUCs, nevertheless, are notable due to their dimension, and whereas the Efficiency and Professional traces are certainly very small, they’re extra minor updates to what we already had earlier than. What’s extra fascinating is the gaming model.

Picture: Intel

The NUC 11 Enthusiast, codenamed “Phantom Canyon,” guarantees gaming efficiency with a 28W quad-core i7-1165G7 (the identical present in the 2020 Dell XPS 13) and an RTX 2060, which was made outdated the day before Intel’s announcement of the computer. It additionally retains the stacked I/O that made the final era nice, together with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, 2.5Gb Ethernet, a whopping six USB 3.2 Sort-A ports, and Wi-Fi 6. The dearth of HDMI 2.1 (it solely has 2.0b) will be considerably forgiven because of the inclusion of a Mini DisplayPort 1.4 output. And once more, all of that is becoming inside an enclosure that’s roughly the dimensions of a hefty ebook.

Ports, stunning ports.
Picture: Intel

Like the opposite NUC fashions, the Fanatic additionally has Xe built-in graphics, which needs to be good for streamers or artistic professionals that take pleasure in Intel’s Fast Sync video encoding expertise. Whereas it’s a disgrace concerning the almost-up-to-date graphics card, the pc ought to nonetheless present a very good quantity of gaming efficiency in a fully diminutive package deal, and I’m glad to see Intel’s nonetheless engaged on mini gaming PCs.

Intel has an extended historical past of attempting to make the NUC right into a miniature gaming PC with full-sized efficiency. It even teamed up with AMD to place devoted Vega graphics into the NUC 8, which was clearly hoping to enchantment to avid gamers greater than workplace staff, with a glowing cranium emblem emblazoned on the highest. Then, at CES 2020, it confirmed off the NUC 9 Excessive, which aimed to be a gaming PC with an easy-to-upgrade compute unit. Besides Intel, thus far, hasn’t released any updates for the compute units, so in the intervening time, it’s simply an costly and modular-for-no-reason gaming PC.

Intel hasn’t launched pricing and availability but, but has the Phantom Canyon starting at $1,349. That appears to be a greater deal than the NUC 9 Excessive, which is $1,599 on the identical website and in addition requires a separate mini graphics card. It additionally beats its extra direct predecessor, the NUC 8 Hades Canyon, which continues to be $1,234 for almost two-year-old {hardware}.

Intel seems to be utilizing the identical technique it’s used for the NUC computer systems up to now, the place folks should purchase both an entire laptop or a equipment the place they’ll be required to supply the RAM, storage drive, and OS. SimplyNUC’s $1,349 mannequin has the drive and RAM, however you’ll have to pay additional for or convey your personal copy of Home windows.

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