Intel Kaby And Apollo Lake NUCs, Arches Canyon And Baby Canyon, Break Cover

Intel continues to crank out new Next Unit of Computing (NUC) models and has no plans of slowing down. Just the opposite, the Santa Clara chip maker is readying a new generation of its small form factor (SFF) PCs based on its unreleased Kaby Lake and Apollo Lake processors, along with modern amenities like USB-C connectivity.

There's a lot of nomenclature being thrown around with these NUCs so let's take a moment clarify some things. Kaby Lake is Intel's next generation processor architecture, one that disrupts (perhaps permanently) Intel's "tick-tock" release cadence. With Intel having to push back the release of its 10nm Cannonlake architecture until 2017, it decided to fill the gap with another 14nm processor family. As such, Kaby Lake (14nm) is another tock after Skylake (also 14nm).

Apollo Lake is a new family of low power System-on-Chips (SoCs) designed to replace Cherry Trail and Braswell. They'll feature Goldmont CPU cores built on the same 14nm manufacturing process as Intel's Airmont cores found in Cherry Trail SoCs and will be used to power lower end systems, SFF PCs like the NUC, and 2-in-1 devices.

Intel NUCs

Getting back to Intel's upcoming NUCs, leaked slides indicate two categories codenamed Baby Canyon and Arches Canyon. The Baby Canyon NUCs will feature Intel's Kaby Lake-U SoCs, while the Arches Canyon models will sport Apollo Lake processors. These will sit next to and eventually replace Intel's Broadwell, Braswell, and Skylake NUCs.

There are five Baby Canyon NUCs on tap from Intel. Since they'll be rocking Core-based processors from Intel's Kaby Lake family, they'll be more powerful solutions for people looking for true desktop performance in a tiny footprint. Baby Canyon NUCs will offer up to IRIS graphics (Core i7 model), support for 32GB of DDR4-2133 memory, HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 via USB-C connectivity, an M.2-2280 socket for NVMe SSDs, a micro SDXC slot, four USB 3.0 ports, and a few other odds and ends.

At present, Intel is planning just Arches Canyon NUCs (NUC6CAYS and NUC6CAYH), both with four-core Celeron J-series chips running the show. Other features include two SO-DIMM memory slots with support for up to 8GB of DDR3L-1866 RAM, SATA 6Gbps storage support (the NUC6CAYS will have 32GB of eMMC), four USB 3.0 ports, SDXC card reader, and other standard features.

Collectively, Intel's upcoming NUCs will be the most powerful yet and certainly capable of handling general purpose computing chores.