Have you ever thought of getting a compact or a Mini PC for your “Gaming” needs, or any other task for that matter? Well, enter INTEL’s NUC as a solution/alternative.
NUC is Intel’s definition of their ultra-small self-contained personal computers. The acronym NUC stands for “Next Unit of Computing“, which perhaps gives us the idea that in the near future, home computers could become this small as a matter of standard.
In hardware terms, it might be simplest to think of a NUC as a laptop, minus the built-in screen and battery. However, many of the same technologies that have allowed laptops to shrink in size and increase in performance are leveraged in the design of the NUC as well.
NUC is a pint-sized desktop PC kit meant for enthusiasts who prioritize “size” over everything else. Think of it as a glimpse into the future of “tabletop” PCs. For the last few years, Intel has hinted at intriguing entries focused on gaming.
Intel’s NUC 9 Extreme kit is a perfect example of such a powerful “compact” gaming PC. The NUC 9 Extreme is a small machine that can actually fit a “desktop” graphics card. The NUC 9 is an exceptionally compact computer that packs enough power to run the latest AAA games at high resolutions and high frame rates. It’s also easy to assemble, easy to work in, and has a surprisingly effective cooling system.
Now, Intel’s next unreleased NUC 11 Extreme device has been spotted in 3DMark’s database. Intel’s latest NUC computer takes on the small form factor/SFF gaming segment. Hardware Leaks has spotted one model which rocks a quad-core 11’th gen “Tiger Lake-U” processor along with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, and 8GB of memory.
Intel divides the NUC 11 family into two categories: the “NUC 11 Extreme” (Phantom Canyon) for enthusiasts and gamers, and the “NUC 11 Performance” (Panther Canyon) for mainstream users. In case you were not aware, Tiger Lake processor actually leverages “Willow Cove” cores, produced on the 10nm+ process node. The enhanced process (10nm++) should deliver faster clock speeds and better power efficiency, though we need to wait and see.
Coming to the leak, we are looking at the “Phantom Canyon” NUC, with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU inside. It comes with a Tiger Lake-U engineering sample CPU sporting a 2.3GHz base clock and 4.4GHz boost clock, which is quite decent for an engineering sample (ES) and also better than the maximum 4.1 GHz boost found on it’s predecessor ICE LAKE. There is also 8GB of RAM.
This new gaming-oriented NUC will sport 28W Tiger Lake U-series processors (i5 and i7 options) and some 3rd party discrete graphics (with 6GB or 8GB VRAM). By having all the hardware within a 1.35L case provides a decent gaming performance for the fans of small form factor/SFF PCs.
It is speculated that the “Phantom Canyon” NUC will also utilize the NVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU, which has the same 80 W TDP envelope as the GTX 1660 Ti notebook SKU variant.
3DMark identifies the Tiger Lake-U chip as a quad-core, eight-thread design, on the NUC 11 Extreme. Since this is an unreleased silicon, many of its parameters aren’t available and could be subject to change. On the integrated graphics side, Tiger Lake-U is rumored to feature “Gen12 XE” graphics.
Source: Hardware Leaks