Broadwell NUCs have slimmer chassis, faster M.2 x4 storage

— 6:37 PM on January 6, 2015

Intel's NUCs are getting a Broadwell upgrade. Scott checked out the next-gen mini PCs at CES today, and they look pretty sweet. In addition to housing silicon based on Intel's latest microarchitecture, each of the new models has an M.2 slot tied to four Gen2 PCIe lanes in the chipset. That's double the M.2 bandwidth available on most full-sized desktop motherboards.

Three generations of slim NUCs; the Broadwell version is on the right.

The Broadwell NUCs come in two different enclosures. The slim version is less than 1.2" tall, a notable decline from its Haswell predecessor. There's also a taller variant with room inside for a 2.5" SATA drive. That case is also shorter than its last-gen equivalent, but Intel didn't have any examples of the old chassis on-hand for visual reference.

Interchangeable lids are a big part of the new lineup. Intel is showing an NFC-equipped unit that could be used in payment systems along with a Hauppage lid lined with a TV tuner. Purely cosmetic caps will be available in different colors and with different logos, too, and lid specifications will be available for folks who want to 3D-print their own designs.

Lids with NFC (left) and TV tuning (right)

Core i3 versions of the Broadwell NUC will be available list month, followed by i5 derivatives in March and an i7 box in April. The i7 is limited to the taller chassis, while the others come in both sizes. Don't get your hopes up about eDRAM for the GPU—the i7 has Iris graphics rather than Iris Pro.

Dual Mini DisplayPort outs on the commercial-oriented motherboard

In addition to offering consumer units, Intel is also prepping a couple of incarnations focused on commercial applications. These ones combine dual Mini DisplayPort outs with an embedded DP header, allowing them to power triple-display arrays. They're due in March, and they'll only be available with the taller chassis.

Intel tells us the Broadwell NUCs will have similar price tags to their Haswell counterparts. We expect to get one in our labs, so we should be able to provide some first-hand impressions of Intel's next unit of computing can do.

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