Details Emerge On Intel's Upcoming Kaby Lake and Apollo Lake Powered NUCs

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2016 - 05:07 PM |
Tagged: nuc, kaby lake, iris, Intel, baby canyon, arches canyon, apollo lake

According to Olivier over at FanlessTech, Intel will be launching two new small form factor NUC PCs later this year. The new NUCs are code named Baby Canyon and Arches Canyon and will be powered by Intel’s Kaby Lake-U and Apollo Lake processors respectively. Baby Canyon will occupy the high end while Arches Canyon is aimed at low power and budget markets.

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Left: Intel NUC Roadmap. Middle: Intel Baby Canyon NUC. Right: Intel Arches Canyon NUC.

First up is the “Baby Canyon” NUC which will come in five SKUs. Featuring aluminum enclosures, the Baby Canyon NUCs measure 115 x 111 x 51mm for models with a SATA drive (models without SATA drive support are shorter at 35mm tall). The PCs will be powered by Intel’s Kaby Lake-U processors up to a 28W quad core i7 chip with Iris graphics. There will also be 15W Core i5 and i3 models. Kaby Lake is the 14nm successor to Skylake and features native support for USB 3.1, HDCP 2.2, and HEVC. Further, Kaby Lake chips will reportedly utilize an improved graphics architecture. While Kaby Lake chips in general will be available with TDPs up to 95W, the models used in Baby Canyon NUCs top out at 28W and are the Kaby Lake-U mobile variants.

Baby Canyon NUCs will pair the Kaby Lake-U CPUs with dual channel DDR4 SODIMMs (up to 32GB), a M.2 SSD, and SATA hard drive (on some models). Networking is handled by a soldered down Intel’s Wireless AC + BT 4.2 WiFI NIC and an Intel Gigabit Ethernet NIC.

Connectivity includes two USB 3.0 ports (one charging), a Micro SDXC card slot, 3.5mm audio jack, and an IR port on the front. Rear IO is made up of two more USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 2.0 video output, Gigabit Ethernet port, and a USB 3.1 (Gen1 5Gbps) Type-C port with support for DisplayPort 1.2 (DisplayPort Alt Mode). Finally, users can get access two USB 2.0 ports via an internal header.

Arches Canyon will be the new budget NUC option in 2017 and will be powered by Intel’s Apollo Lake SoC. Arches Canyon is the same 115 x 111 x 51mm size as the higher end Baby Canyon NUC, but the reference Intel chassis will be primarily made of plastic to reduce cost. Moving to the lower end platform, users will lose out on the USB 3.1 Type-C port, M.2 slot, and DDR4 support. Instead, the Arches Canyon NUCs will use dual channel DDR3L (up to 8GB) and come in two models: one with 32GB of built-in eMMC storage and one without. Both models will support adding in a SATA SSD or hard drive though.
External IO includes four USB 3.0 ports (two front, two rear, one charging), two 3.5mm audio jacks (the rear port supports TOSLINK), one Micro SDXC slot, one HDMI 2.0 video output, a VGA video out, and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

Internally, Arches Canyon is powered by Celeron branded Apollo Lake SoCs which are the successor to Braswell and feature Goldmont CPU cores paired with Gen 9 HD Graphics. Intel has not announced the specific chip yet, but the chip used in these budget NUCs will allegedly be a quad core model with a 10W TDP. Apollo Lake in general is said to offer up to 30% more CPU and GPU performance along with 15% better battery life over current Braswell designs. The battery savings are not really relevant in a NUC, but the performance improvements should certainly help!

One interesting contradiction in these Intel slides is that the Baby Canyon slide mentions Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) and USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) support for the USB Type-C connector but in the connectivity section limits the USB 3.1 Type-C port to Gen 1 (5Gbps) and no mention of Thunderbolt support at all. I guess we will just have to wait and see if TB3 will end up making the cut!

The new NUCs look promising in that they should replace the older models at their current price points (for the most part) while offering better performance which will be especially important on the low end Arches Canyon SKUs! Being NUCs, users will be able to buy them as barebones kits or as systems pre-loaded with Windows 10.

If the chart is accurate, both Baby Canyon and Arches Canyon will be launched towards the end of the year with availability sometime in early to mid 2017. There is no word on exact pricing, naturally.

Are you still interested in Intel’s NUC platform? Stay tuned for more information as it comes in closer to launch!

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Source: FanlessTech

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July 16, 2016 | 10:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I kinda see this as perfect for people who are into the "tiny house" thing. Imagine a TV and this mini PC. Just 2 outlets are used. You have your phone charger cable in the front USB port, a wireless keyboard/mouse dongle in the other one, and an HDMI cable connecting the TV to use as your monitor. Just press the remote's source button and you go from watching TV to checking email, or even PIP the show while you browse the internet all from the same seat.

July 19, 2016 | 12:08 PM - Posted by John H (not verified)

OR just use a Raspberry Pi for a lot cheaper.. it's smaller and lower power.

July 17, 2016 | 01:00 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

AMD needs to brand a competitive design to Intel's NUC, so users can have a better SOC graphics solution. AMD really needs to step up their game in this market segment. I'd love to see some Zen CPU(at First) with maybe Polaris 11 graphics and then some Zen/Polaris APU solutions in early 2017 in some similar form factor designs as Intel's NUC.

P.S. there is no such naming from the USB-IF that uses "USB 3.1 Type-C". The proper USB-IF naming nomenclature is: USB Type-C Gen 1, and USB Type-C Gen 2, with no mention of USB 3.1 anywhere in the USB naming conventions concerning the USB Type-C plug. The Gen 1 denotes a USB Type-C plug’s usage with a USB 3.0 controller chip, and the Gen 2 denotes a USB Type-C plug’s usage with a USB 3.1 controller chip.

The USB Type-C plug/receptacle standard and electrical standard was developed at the same time the USB 3.1 controller standard standard/controller chip was being developed, but that does not imply any intrinsic ability of a Type-C plug to offer by default any USB 3.1 connectivity and bandwidth. Hence the USB-IF’s creating of the Gen 1 and Gen 2 naming qualifiers after the USB Type-C name.

The USB-IF and their lawyers and the FTC and their Lawyers need to step up and force the entire OEM industry and any websites to use the proper unambiguous naming nomenclature that the USB-IF established to avoid any confusion and marketing violations that arise from the improper use of the USB-IF officially sanctioned naming for the its Type-C plug/receptacle and related electrical standard/s.

July 17, 2016 | 01:05 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Edit: the its
to: its

July 18, 2016 | 07:21 AM - Posted by phillychuck

I get sticker shock when I look at these things. I guess your paying for miniaturization, because price/performance seems terrible.

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