CES 2013: Intel Announces Three Future NUC Systems, Coming Later This Year

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2013 - 11:06 PM |
Tagged: CES, nuc, next unit of computing, Intel, htpc, haswell, core i5, celeron 847, ces 2013

Intel released its first Next Unit of Computing system last year, and it seems that the 4 x 4-inch computer was enough of a success that Intel is ready to introduce new models. The Tech Report managed to talk to Intel on the CES show floor, and the x86 chip-maker is planning as many as three new models for release later this year.

Intel is reportedly planning a cheaper model as well as two higher-performance models. The former is a NUC system that switches out the current-generation’s Core i3-3217U processor for a cheaper Celeron 847 chip. While the Core i3-3217U is a dual core part with HyperThreading clocked at 1.8GHz. It is a 22nm, 17W part with 3MB of cache. On the other hand, the Intel Celeron 847 CPU that will allegedly be at the heart of the next NUC is an older 32nm chip with two physical cores, no HyperThreading, 2MB of cache, and a clockspeed of 1.1GHz. It does retain the same 17W TDP, but it is an older and slower part (and cheaper as a result).

This new NUC is said to be available for around $220 with a Thunderbolt port or $190 without Thunderbolt. That makes it as much as $100 cheaper than the current-generation NUC that we reviewed in December 2012.

In addition to the Celeron-powered model, Intel is also ramping up the performance with a Core-i5 powered NUC due in April 2013. There is no word on pricing but it should be available for purchase sometime in April 2013. It will have USB 3.0, triple monitor, and vPro support. The article in question was not clear on whether the Core i5 NUC will keep the Thunderbolt port in addition to USB 3.0 or if it will simply be swapped out. One concern I have is heat as the Core i5 chip will be faster and run hotter than the Core i3-3217U. With the current generation NUC, there were issues of heat that caused the system to hard lock during large file transfers over the network. Granted that particular issue is thought to be caused from heat generated by the NIC and SSD heat causing a component to overheat, but any new/additional heat (like that of a faster CPU) in the same NUC form factor may be problematic. Here’s hoping that Intel has found a way to resolve the overheating issue with the new 2013 models.

Finally, Intel is reportedly also planning to release a Haswell-powered processor in Q4 of this year. IT seems that Intel is preparing a trifecta of NUCs aimed at lower cost, higher performance, and higher efficiency (Haswell) respectively.

Are you excited about the Next Unit of Computing form factor? 

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Source: Tech Report
January 10, 2013 | 01:48 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"Are you excited about the Next Unit of Computing form factor?"

-No, because it has been available for years under the name Zotac Zbox Nano. This is not new. It's new that Intel is now offering one as well, but it's a copy of an existing design. And it's more expensive while not offering anything substantially different.

January 10, 2013 | 02:11 AM - Posted by Zicoz (not verified)

I'm interested to see where this goes from a HTPC perspective, I'm sort of on the edge between whether the way to go is a small box like this, or a tablet with a dock like the Acer W700.

I honestly don't understand why there aren't any real Windows 8 tablets with a dock that has HDMI, NIC and a couple of USB ports, the only one I know of that has HDMI in the dock is the Dell one, but that's out of the question since it's an Atom.

January 10, 2013 | 02:13 AM - Posted by Zicoz (not verified)

If I were to go for a NUC, I would prefer it if it had the shape as a Ultrabook.

January 10, 2013 | 09:01 AM - Posted by klatch

Did intel ever resolve that lockup issue?

January 10, 2013 | 10:56 AM - Posted by markt (not verified)

I am very excited about the NUC as a form factor because its allow component level changes.

February 25, 2013 | 08:34 AM - Posted by ALbertSY (not verified)

The NUC will the be the best PC ever, I am waiting for the model with 3 screen output + USB 3.

May 24, 2013 | 12:05 PM - Posted by Logic Supply (not verified)

klatch, responding to your question re the NUC thermal lockup issue, Intel released a bios fix for the SSD but we are still seeing some instability when an Intel SSD is paired with a wireless card. To address this issue, we engineered a heat spreader for the SSD and wireless card. See test results here: http://www.logicsupply.com/blog/2013/05/14/system-comparison-intel-ice-c...

Full disclosure: Logic Supply is an embedded computer co developing NUC-based systems.

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