Intel Phantom Canyon NUC 11 Mini PC Flexes Tiger Lake Muscle And Up To GeForce RTX 2060

Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast
Intel has quietly introduced a boatload of 11th Gen NUC products (NUC 11 series) with Tiger Lake processors inside. There are 44 new models in all, spread across Intel's Pro, Performance, and Enthusiast spectrum. We are not going to cover all 44 NUC systems in detail, though we do want to highlight the NUC 11 Enthusiast mini PC, because of its graphics.

Codenamed Panther Canyon (as previously leaked), the NUC 11 Enthusiast combines a quad-core 11th Generation Core i7-1165G7 Tiger Lake processor with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. Sure, the graphics chip is based on NVIDIA's previous generation Turing architecture rather than Ampere, but it is an enticing combination nonetheless.

The appeal here is the prospect of a mid-range (or high-end, in some cases) gaming experience in a relatively small package. Phantom Canyon NUC systems measures just 8.7 x 5.59 x 1.65 inches. They are much more compact than even the smallest mini-ITX systems. Even so, slapping a GeForce RTX 2060 GPU inside means these tiny boxes can belt out ray-traced gaming.

As for the CPU, the Core i7-1165G7 is based on Intel's Tiger Lake architecture and features 4 cores and 8 threads of computing muscle. It has a 2.8GHz base frequency (configurable down to 1.2GHz, depending on the TDP) and a 4.7GHz max turbo clock, as well as 12MB of L3 cache.

"Take gaming to the next level with the ultra-sleek, super-small Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast Mini PC and kit. Powered by an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with discrete NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics, these 1.3-liter systems deliver commanding performance while taking up just a sliver of desk space," Intel touts.

According to Intel, these systems are designed to handle hot workloads with a new cooling system it says "won't heat up the room." That's because of an "innovative thermal design," though has not provided details on that aspect. However, the company does claim that it runs "whisper" quiet and can be tucked into tight spots, either horiztonally or vertically.

NUC 11 Enthusiast

There are two versions to choose from—a barebones kit (NUC11PHKi7C) without any RAM or storage installed, and a complete mini PC (NUC11PHKi7CAA) with 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 32GB Optane Memory H10 module.

Both sport a pair of DIMM slots supporting up to 64GB of RAM. They also have two M.2 slots, and HDMI 2.0b port, a mini DisplayPort 1.4 output, front and rear Thunderbolt 4 ports, six USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, a 2.5Gbps LAN port, an SDXC memory card slot, and a Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) + Bluetooth connectivity.

Pricing and availabilty have not yet been announced, though SimplyNUC has a configuration with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD available to buy for $1,349 (you can configured different hardware), that will ship in March.

Intel also refreshed its other NUC products with Tiger Lake hardware, including its NUC 11 Pro, NUC 11 Performance, and NUC 11 Compute Element. Features and specifications vary by model, with processor options ranging from the Core i3-1115G4 to the Core i7-1185G7.