Intel has been cranking out miniature Next Unit of Computing (NUC) systems for several years now, dating back to when Sandy Bridge was relevant in the CPU space. These small form factor (SFF) PCs keep getting better with each new generation. So, what's next? Well, based on an extensive leak from a user in China, Intel is readying a NUC 9 Extreme codenamed Ghost Canyon, which will utilize a concept it recently showed off called "The Element."
This particular configuration measures 238 x 216 x 96 mm (5.0L), so it is a bit bigger than some earlier NUCs (the largest one to date, in fact). Buyers will have a choice of three different 9th generation Intel 45W processor options, including a Core i9-9980HK, Core i7-9750H, or Core i5-9300H.
Here's a look at the full spec sheet...
Connectivity options abound, including Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 on the wireless side. On the wired side, users will find a pair of 1-gigabit LAN ports. The NUC 9 Extreme also serves up a two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI 2.0a port, six USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, and an SDXC memory card reader.
What's especially interesting about this NUC is the swappable Element board. As shown off earlier this month at an event in London, an Element is basically a modular PC with a CPU, memory, and storage configured on a dual-slot PCI Express card, with various connectivity options.
Inside the NUC 9 Extreme, the top PCIe slot houses the Element module, while the bottom one is intended for a discrete graphics card. There is the potential to build a veritable power house around this the NUC 9 Extreme, with a fast processor and graphics card, up to 64GB of RAM, and copious fast storage by way of multiple M.2 slots.
What's neat about the Element module is it gives users a relatively easy way of upgrading the NUC 9 Extreme, if they prefer to go that route rather than buy a whole new system. The feasibility of this approach will come down to pricing.
It remains to be seen how that will shake out. The NUC 9 Extreme is likely to show up sometime in early 2020. In the meantime, hit the link in the Via field below to see an extensive teardown with a whole bunch of high resolution photos.
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