Intel's NUC, or Next Unit of Computing, PC is getting a refresh that makes them even more powerful this year. Along with updated models of the Compute Stick, Intel refreshed its NUC PCs with the company's sixth generation Skylake processor at CES 2016.
On the surface, not much has changed with Intel's NUC PC. The small form factor desktops maintain a similar design as last year's model and competes in the same space as Apple's Mac Mini. However, on the inside, this year's model comes with either a dual-core Intel Core i3-6100U or an i5-6260U processor.
Not on display at CES in Las Vegas is a quad-core model that Intel said will also be coming sometime in the future. The quad-core model will also be able to support discrete external graphics cards.
The quad-core model is codenamed Skull Canyon. Intel hasn't shared many details about that model, except that it will support a Thunderbolt 3 port. The Thunderbolt 3 connectivity will be good news for gamers looking at a compact PC. Even though Skull Canyon won't ship with discrete graphics, likely topping out with Intel's Iris, you'll be able to add external graphics through the Thunderbolt 3 connection.
This will allow Intel to target Skull Canyon at gamers and desktop users who need a compact workstation with discrete graphics.
Intel will offer its NUC PCs in several different configurations. The base models with either the Core i3 and Core i5 processors will offer a low profile design with an array of ports for connectivity, including HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, four USB 3.0 ports, two internal USB 2.0 ports and infrared sensor. The desktops will also include 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC support for wireless connectivity.
For the dual-core NUC PC models, the Skylake processors will also give Intel's new NUC PCs a graphics boost. These PCs will come with the Skylake-based integrated graphics. The Core i3 model will be powered by Intel HD 520, while the Core i5 model will top out with the more powerful integratedIris graphics. For comparison, last year's Broadwell-based NUC PCs shipped with the Intel HD 6000 graphics.
Additionally, Intel will also make variants with a slightly taller profile. The extra space will be used to accommodate a 2.5-inch hard disk drive.
Intel hasn't shared pricing information about its NUC lineup at this time, but the company stated that the PCs will arrive in March.
- Read our coverage of CES 2016