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Intel updates the NUC series, including follow-up to the Hades Canyon gaming mini-PC

Intel is updating its Next Unit of Computing (NUC) range of miniature computers with its 11th-generation processors, and again includes a game-focused model. NUC 11 Enthusiast is a follow-up to NUC 8 Hades Canyon from 2018, which managed to pack triple-A gaming performance (not to mention I / O that competed with a full-size desk) in a small cabinet.

Included in the update are updates to the company’s more traditional small cube NUC Performance Mini computers, which previously had 10th generation processors. The upgrade brings Wi-Fi 6 and Intel Xe graphics to the i5 and i7 models. Intel has also added a NUC Pro line, some of which have vPro-enabled CPUs and all of which can run 8K monitors. It is also a NUC 1

1 computing device, which is only briefly intended to be integrated into future computers. This is not the first time Intel has got that idea, but we’ll get into that in a moment.

The NUC 11 Pro computers come in many sizes.
Image: Intel

However, the NUCs are remarkable because of their size, and while the Performance and Pro lines are actually very small, they are more minor updates to what we already had before. What is more interesting is the game version.

Image: Intel

NUC 11 Enthusiast, codenamed “Phantom Canyon”, promises gaming performance with a 28W quad-core i7-1165G7 (the same one found in the Dell XPS 13 in 2020) and an RTX 2060, which was outdated the day before Intel’s announcement of the computer. It also holds the stacked I / O that made the last generation great, including two Thunderbolt 4 ports, 2.5 Gb Ethernet, all 6 USB 3.2 Type-A ports and Wi-Fi 6. The lack of HDMI 2.1 ( it has only 2.0b) can be forgiven somewhat due to the inclusion of a Mini DisplayPort 1.4 output. And again, these would mean that you have to spend for these processes.

Ports, beautiful ports.
Image: Intel

Like the other NUC models, Enthusiast also has Xe-integrated graphics, which should be good for streamers or creative professionals who like Intel’s Quick Sync video coding technology. Although it’s a shame with the almost updated graphics card, the computer should still provide a good amount of gaming performance in an absolutely small package, and I’m glad to see Intel’s still working with mini-game PCs.

Intel has a long history of trying to turn NUC into a full-size mini-gaming PC. It even teamed up with AMD to add dedicated Vega graphics to NUC 8, which clearly hoped to appeal to gamers more than office workers, with a glowing skull logo on top. Then, at CES 2020, it unveiled the NUC 9 Extreme, which aims to be a gaming PC with an easy-to-upgrade computing device. Except that Intel has so far not released any updates for the computing devices, so at the moment it is just an expensive and modular gaming PC for no reason.

Intel has not released pricing and availability yet, but SimplyNUC.com has Phantom Canyon from $ 1,349. It seems to be a better deal than NUC 9 Extreme, which is $ 1,599 on the same page and also requires its own mini graphics card. It also beats its more direct predecessor, the NUC 8 Hades Canyon, which is still $ 1,234 for nearly two-year-old hardware.

Intel seems to be using the same strategy as it was used for NUC computers in the past, where people can buy either a complete computer or a set where they are required to supply RAM, storage drive and operating system. SimplyNUC’s $ 1349 model has drive and RAM, but you have to pay extra for or bring your own copy of Windows.

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