We’re still making the rounds at the Intel Developers Forum, and are minutes away from jumping into the large technology showcase, but wanted to make a quick pit stop here to post up some cool pictures of Intel’s “Next Unit of Computing”, or NUC, for you SFF enthusiasts. If you’re unfamiliar with NUC, it’s essentially an ultra small form factor platform that Intel has in the works, currently built around a Core i3 processor. We’re told that NUC hardware featuring all of Intel’s processor families, spanning from Atom to Core i7, is likely, but this first iteration aims right for the middle of the market with the Core i3.
With NUC, Intel is producing a 4”x4” motherboard, complete with a Core i3 processor and PCH. The company is also sourcing a tiny enclosure to accommodate the mobo, but we’re told Intel will not be selling full systems. NUC will be sold to partners as a barebones configuration; OEMs will be responsible for memory, storage, and any other components, like a Wi-Fi controller, for example. We should also note the enclosure will include Wi-Fi antennas certified with four Intel Wi-Fi controllers at launch, so there’s no need for clunky external antennas.
The motherboard you see pictured here has a Core i3 processor, 7-series PCH, dual SO-DIMM slots and a pair of mini-PCIe slots. I/O on the motherboard consisted of a pair of HDMI outputs, three USB ports (one front, two back), an RJ45 LAN jack, and a DC power port. There will also be a version, however, that ditches one of the HDMI outputs in favor of a Thunderbolt connector. We don’t have final pricing, but Intel’s goal with this platform is to allow partners to offer full systems in the $399 range. We’re hoping to have a NUC setup in-hand soon for testing and will fill you in on additional details as we have them.
I really think this is cool, but how does this compare in price to a budget desktop? There have been small form factors like this before, and there will be in the future. It's all about price. If this is around $100-$150 I can see it being very successful. ESPECIALLY if it has an SSD.
It's definitely looking like the NUC is going to command a premium. At $399-ish, it's giong to be somewhat pricey.
Marco ChiappettaManaging Editor @ HotHardware.com
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Very much looking forward to the coming test, Marco ! If possible, with several different versions of the processor....
This is a funny thing I hear and have for many years how the desktop is going to die but what I see is the desktop becoming ubiquitous, cheap, available to anyone, small and everywhere. Yes it does not look the same and is nowhere near as functional, but even though it is super small etc it is still a desktop computer meant to be hooked to an external display and controllers (KB,Mouse, etc)! This is kind of like the WIFI article about Google and another company posted today. What if we all had mini desktops like this and the super small cellular wifi antenna's were everywhere along with the broadband and cellular signal already in place any metro area would be covered completely with the only real cost being maintenance. I am saying open WIFI transmitters built into every motherboard/PCB (they are in your cable box, your smart phone, DVD player, computers and on and on) period and then you are responsible or your provider is about the security like a spider web connections everywhere.
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