Intel's Crazy Thin Compute Card Platform Puts A Kaby Lake PC In Your Wallet

If you thought Intel's line of Next Unit of Computing (NUC) mini PCs or its HDMI Compute Stick were impressive feats of engineering, wait until you check out its Compute Card, a new modular compute platform that can fit a fully configured Kaby Lake PC on a slab that is about the size of credit card. This has the potential to reshape computing in many segments, both because of its small and thin size and due to its modular design.

The Intel Compute Card has all the elements of a standalone PC. It features a System-on-Chip (SoC), memory, storage, and wireless connectivity, along with flexible I/O solutions so that manufacturers can design solutions for specific categories. These can anything from interactive refrigerators ans smart kiosks to security cameras and IoT gateways. It's really up to the customer's needs and manufacturer's creativity.

Intel Compute Card

"Device makers simply design a standard Intel Compute Card slot into their device and then utilize the best Intel Compute Card for their performance and price needs. This reduces the time and resources needed to design and validate the compute block and helps speed up innovation to bring the power of intelligence into an ever wider range of devices," Intel explains.

The Compute Card measures just 94.5mm x 55mm x 5mm. It draws power from the device it gets install into, along with cooling and an optimized I/O. Connection to devices can be done through an Intel Compute Card slot with a new standard connector (USB-C plus extension). That extension also provides USB, PCIe, HDMI, DisplayPort, and additional signals between the card and whatever device it's installed in.

Intel Compute Card Appliances

This could really be a boon for smart devices. Imagine that after a few years your smart fridge, smart TV, or even your all-in-one PC starts to feel sluggish as new apps and other functions are released. Rather than replace the entire appliance, a user could upgrade the Compute Card. That's pretty snazzy.

Several hardware partners are already working Intel to develop solutions based on the Compute Card, including Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Sharp. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

As for the Compute Card itself, Intel says it will release full details and pricing information in the second quarter of 2017.