Update: Hands-On Action With Intel's Impressive Skull Canyon Gaming NUC Mnin PC With Core i7, Iris Pro Graphics, Thunderbolt

We first learned about Intel's Skull Canyon NUC at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but Intel is now ready to give this bodacious mini-PC its official debut. The Skull Canyon NUC manages to cram plenty of high-end Intel silicon within an enclosure that measures just 8.5” x 4.6” x 0.9” and has a volume of just 0.69 liters.

Skull Canyon NUC

Inside, you’ll find a sixth-generation Intel Core i7-6770HQ processor with a 45W TDP and integrated Iris Pro Graphics 580. On the memory front, up to 32GB of 2133MHz DDR4 is supported, while storage duties are covered by two M.2 slots that support all of the latest NVMe SSDs. Networking duties are handled by Intel-supplied (of course) 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and GbE controllers. Intel has even thrown in a consumer infrared sensor for those of you that want to use Skull Canyon as a media box.

Skull Canyon NUC Ports

When it comes to external ports and IO, don’t let the small size of the Skull Canyon NUC deceive you. You’ll find a full-size HDMI 2.0 port, Mini DisplayPort 1.2, four USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot which can accommodate up to 512GB, and support for Thunderbolt 3 (40GBps) and USB 3.1 using a USB Type-C connector.

skull canyon NUC playing unchartered
Skull Canyon NUC Playing Just Cause 3

That last point should come in handy for the emerging trend of using external graphics enclosures to give “graphically-challenged” PCs access to the most potent desktop-class graphics cards around. As we’ve seen with the release of AMD’s Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.2.2 complete with XConnect technology, adding an external graphics enclosure to a PC equipped with a Thunderbolt 3 port is a straightforward affair thanks to the work put into the Thunderbolt 3 spec and Windows 10.

skull canyon NUC in action
A Couple Of Skull Canyon NUCs Gaming

So, if that Iris Pro Graphics 580 integrated GPU isn’t really putting a fire in your belly, rest assured that you can always connect a device like the Razer Core to your free Thunderbolt 3 connector and enjoy some Radeon R9 Fury gaming goodness to really show off that Core i7-6770HQ processor.

Skull Canyon NUC And Razor Core
Skull Canyon Connected to Razer Core over Thunderbolt 3 Running Just Cause 3 at 1440p

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In terms of pricing, Intel says that a barebones Skull Canyon NUC (model NUC6i7KYK) has an estimated street price of $650. Adding 16GB of memory, a 256GB SSD and Windows 10 will push the price to roughly $999. Pre-orders for the NUC6i7KYK SKU will begin next month at Newegg, and shipments will commence in May.