Gone are the days when you could accurately distinguish how powerful a PC can be just by looking at the physical size of the system. You can pack an impressive amount of computer muscle inside a small format PC, and a shining example of this has been Intel's modular NUC kits. After the NUC 9 Extreme Kit (Ghost Canyon) released last year, Intel has unveiled its most powerful system Kit NUC 11 Extreme, codenamed Beast Canyon.
The heart of the system is still an interchangeable computing element that houses many of the core components, including a small motherboard, but is now stuck inside a larger chassis. “It’s no longer played,” Intel says.
Notice what I said bigger, no great. It is still a compact system, built around an 8-liter chassis that measures about 357 x 189 x 120 mm (14 x 7.4 x 4.7 inches). Inside is the Compute Element cartridge that contains the motherboard, processor, RAM, and storage. This allows for a wholesale system change or piece-by-piece updates when and when the desire arises.
"Packing the latest hardware components in a small 8-liter box, the Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit is loaded with features typically found on much larger gaming platforms and offers customizable design options," says Intel .
There are two basic models: the NUC11BTMi7 with a Core i7 11700B processor and the NUC11BTMi9 with an unlocked Core i9 11900KB processor. Both are 8-core / 16-wire CPUs based on the 11th generation Intel Rocket Lake architecture, which is the newest (up to Alder Lake arrives later this year).
Prices start at $ 1,150 for the Core i7 model and $ 1,350 for the Core i9 configurations, each equipped with a 650W 80 Plus Gold power supply. Either way, you'll need to add your own RAM, storage, operating system, and optionally a discrete GPU (which you'll definitely want to do if you're planning on playing with this).
Therefore, it is not a cheap setup in any way. However, it is quite flexible and can be a high-end PC. To this end, the Beast Canyon NUC supports up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 RAM (SO-DIMM) and houses four M.2 slots, evenly distributed between compatible PCIe 4.0 and 3.0 SSDs.
Then there is the GPU support. Intel says you can coat a full-size 350W graphics card with a dual slot up to 12 inches long inside the NUC 11 Extreme. It can be a tight fit, as our friends do Tom & # 39; s Hardware discovered, but there is the potential to install a fleshy graphics card inside this thing. Viously, obviously the main warning here is … if you can find it.
Wireless connectivity consists of Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. As for port selection, the Beast Canyon NUC offers a 2.5G Ethernet port, a single HDMI 2.0b output, two Thunderbolt 4 ports. Eight USB 3.1 Gen 2 type A ports (six on the back, two on the back) the front), a 3.5mm headphone jack, an SDXC card slot (plus graphics card ports), and a Kesington lock slot. You will also find two pairs of headers (USB 3.1 and 2.0).
I’ve really enjoyed SFF systems over the last few years, as they’ve become more powerful and capable (it comes from a time when full tower desktop computers were much more common than they are now). Fascinate me with the BUC Canyon NUC (minus the price premium), which Intel says will be available for purchase in the third quarter.