Intel NUC 12 could be a mini PC powerhouse – and even play AAA games

Intel NUC
(Image credit: Intel)

It was only recently that a user from the Chinese tech giant Baidu allegedly revealed Intel’s latest NUC mini PC, and now new rumors about its full specifications have surfaced. And from what we can see, these leaked specs show how powerful these mini PCs will be even compared ton standard gaming PCs.

The NUC 12 Enthusiast, codenamed 'Serpent Canyon,’ is a follow-up of the ‘Beast Canyon’ NUC 11 that will apparently be using 12th Gen Intel Alder Lake CPU and the most recent Arc A7 Series GPUs. 

According to the leaks from FanlessTech and reported on by Wccftech, the Serpent Canyon will come in three types. 

All three will reportedly be using the Intel Arc laptop GPUs instead of the Nvidia GeForce GPUs the NUC 11s were equipped with. The 16GB variant points to the Arc A770M, while the 12GB and 8GB will most likely be the Arc A730M and Arc A550M.

The NUC 12 Extreme has also cropped up in the rumor mill – which, unlike the Enthusiast, which is reported to use discrete GPUs, is said to use full-length discrete graphics cards.

Analysis: Can Intel be competitive in the GPU market? 

It makes sense for Intel to cast off the shackles of its competitor Nvidia and use its own in-house GPU for the NUC 12 instead, especially in China, where budget GPUs are more prevalent due to the popularity of internet cafes.

However, considering the rocky benchmark performances for the Arc A7s and the high initial prices on the Arc A380 desktop, there seems to be trouble with Intel’s debut. In fact, Intel’s high-end GPU benchmarks lag behind Nvidia’s RTX 3060 in early testing, which is even worse.

There’s also the fact that Intel has been limiting its launch of the desktop Arc GPUs to China, which is resulting in delays to the rest of the world. And, looking at the reasoning behind this decision, it’s clear that Intel simply isn’t ready for the Arc GPUs to launch elsewhere.

"All these issues cast a huge shadow on Intel’s success in the GPU market, so we’ll just have to wait and see how well the tech giant will do once it fully rolls out products that use its GPU line, like the the NUC 12, in the near future."

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.