Rumor: Intel to Launch Cannon Lake-U NUCs with AMD RX 500-series Graphics
Subject: Systems | April 20, 2018 - 01:05 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: RX 550, radeon, NUC8i3CYSM3, NUC8i3CYSM2, nuc, Intel, i3-8121u, Dawson Canyon, crimson canyon, cnl-u, cannon lake u, baby canyon, amd
Rumors surfacing from the WinFuture site seem to indicate that the Hades Canyon NUC and Kaby Lake-G processors aren't the end of Intel and AMD's relationship for compact PCs.
WinFuture was able to get their hands on some photos of both the hardware and software of the yet to be announced Crimson Canyon NUC. While there have been rumors, and even retail listings floating around recently about this Cannon Lake U-based NUC, WinFuture has uncovered a secret within this device—a discrete AMD Radeon GPU.
On the CPU side, the Crimson Canyon NUC seems to be based on the i3-8121U. Based on previous leaks, this processor will be part of the Cannon Lake-U family and one of the first parts produced on Intel's 10nm manufacturing process.
WinFuture has also sourced an image from what appears to be the AMD's Radeon Software package showing this NUC features "Radeon 500-series" graphics. While this could mean a few things, we take it along with reference to "2GB of GDDR5" on the leaked NUC box to mean that Intel is integrating a Polaris-based GPU and GDDR5 memory into a NUC system.
Unlike the Hades Canyon NUC, we do not expect this to be a CPU and GPU on the same package. Rather, it appears that Intel will be integrating the Polaris GPU, GDDR5, and associated power circuitry on the NUC motherboard.
Based on the 90W power adapter for the entire system, 2GB of GDDR5, and the leaked core clock frequency from the Radeon Software, it seems likely this GPU will be most closely related to AMD's current RX 550 GPU.
Update: It appears our speculation of the mystery GPU being an RX 550 is correct according to a 3DMark score listing we've been pointed to. For reference, this would place 3DMark 11 performance levels around the MX150 found in a lot of ultrabooks, as we measured here.
Interestingly enough, we found the RX550 to be in the same class of graphics performance as AMD's Ryzen 5 2400G APU when we reviewed that processor a few months ago.
A leaked Geekbench score from earlier in the year outs the i3-8121U as a dual-core, hyperthreaded part. Performance of this i3 part seems to be roughly in line with the Baby Canyon-based NUC7i5BNH containing an i5-7260U processor.
Interestingly enough, from the retail listings it appears this NUC will be sold as pre-configured systems, with 8GB of RAM, a 1TB 2.5" HDD, and Windows 10 as opposed to the traditional barebones NUC options.
Overall, it seems odd for Intel to be launching their first traditional form factor NUC with discrete graphics on top of an i3-based CPU. We'd love to see the potential for discrete AMD graphics with a quad-core based U-series part like i7-8650U found in the Dawson Canyon NUC we took a look at recently.
We're eager to hear more about this Crimson Canyon NUC, it's Radeon graphics, and the 10nm Cannon Lake-U processor hiding inside. Stay tuned for more news about this platform as they become available!