Intel’s 4-inch Next Unit of Computing to cost $400

Computex — Intel’s got next… The Next Unit of Computing, that is. While making our way through the madness at the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan, we stopped by Intel’s booth to check out the company’s new small-form-factor PC. The 4" x 4" NUC is truly tiny, and it really needs to be seen to be appreciated. Here’s the diminutive system and motherboard posed next to an iPhone for reference.

Although the NUC was designed primarily for kiosks and digital signage, there’s been so much interest that Intel expects products to be available from both system integrators and etailers. Users should have the option of buying complete systems, barebones configs, or just the motherboard. We could see cases offered by multiple enclosure makers, too.

The initial system will arrive in the third quarter of this year and cost $400. Inside the box, you’ll find a mobile Core i3 processor paired with the HM65 chipset. USB 3.0 didn’t make the cut for this version, which will feature three USB 2.0 ports in addition to dual HDMI outputs. Audio will be carried over HDMI, and we can expect 4GB of RAM, a 40GB mSATA SSD, and both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. The motherboard has dual SO-DIMM and mini PCIe slots, so there’s some freedom to mix and match components.

This first version is just the beginning. In the fourth quarter, we can expect another configuration with a 7-series chipset, USB 3.0 support, and Thunderbolt connectivity. The platform is designed for 17W CPUs, and Intel is planning variants with Core i5 and i7 processors. A cheaper, Celeron-based version may be offered, as well.

At the moment, Intel is finalizing the case and cooling solution. Those areas aren’t its strengths, the company conceded, and it’s working closely with chassis makers to iron out the details. The demo system was equipped with an Ivy Bridge-based Core i5 CPU whose temperature topped out at 79°C while rendering a Cinebench scene. Considering the NUC’s size, that’s not bad for a CPU that showed no signs of deviating from its 2.7GHz Turbo peak.

Comments closed
    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    If this thing came with the cheapest and literarly coolest (temperature wise) dual core CPU and costed between 50-100 bucks then it would make sense. Otherwise the f*ck?

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Mm… attaching a $35 chip to a $400 all in one solution…

    These are definitely neat though. I’m not sure why you would need a i5 or i7 on these unless Intel has some sort of clustering planned for them.

    • Dave_N
    • 7 years ago

    Chrometop?

    • glynor
    • 7 years ago

    Where’s the CPU on that motherboard? Is it bottom-mounted or attached to a not-shown daughtercard?

      • Duck
      • 7 years ago

      Mounted on the other side to the right. You can see from the pic where it is as well as the southbridge to the left of it.

    • NeelyCam
    • 7 years ago

    Once they get rid of that small grilled exhaust vent and the noisy fan that goes hand-in-hand with that vent, I’ll think about it

    • flip-mode
    • 7 years ago

    Next … Unit …. of Computing….

    LOL. Am I the only one that finds that sadly humorous?

    How about Computer Puck? Puck PC? TPC (tiny PC)? Next Top (next desktop / play on Net Top)? Brick? Pocket PC is already taken… Nano Top? Nano PC? Cuboid? PCPC (People of China PC)? Mini Me PC? iPC? Mighty Mite?

    Anyway. I *love* the SODIMMs. SODIMMs should have completely replaced DIMMs with DDR3

    And I love the rest too. mSATA for the win.

    • smilingcrow
    • 7 years ago

    Considering how good Intel are at producing ever smaller process nodes for CPUs etc I’m surprised that they haven’t been able to shrink the Intel inside sticker to more discrete dimensions.

    • Thatguy
    • 7 years ago

    This looks like a tempting computer for when my parents need an update. OR a fun toy for me!

    • Duck
    • 7 years ago

    This thing is 98 x 98 mm for those of you that don’t speak american.

      • Arclight
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t think you speak American either.

    • GTVic
    • 7 years ago

    Where did you find that giant iPhone?

    • ludi
    • 7 years ago

    Considering that the Zotac boxes are twice as large on two of the three dimensions and cost $200 and up with no RAM or disk subsystem, this is surprisingly price competitive, given the Intel logo stamped on everything.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      Maybe it doesn’t come with cables, so you have to buy your own..?

    • StashTheVampede
    • 7 years ago

    One more NIC slot, please!

    • dpaus
    • 7 years ago

    If Intel is smart – yes, Neely, I said that – they’ll reduce this further, eliminating the DIMM slots in favour of 8 or 16 GBytes of on-board RAM, add Bluetooth and on-board WiFi, and give it an edge connector for power and audio/video. Then they package it in a plastic case like the old Gameboy cartridges, and freely license the edge connector design to any TV/monitor manufacturer in the world to incorporate into their products. Voila; you can now buy your TV – any size you want – and simply plug-in your HTPC. The retailer will throw in a Bluetooth keyboard/touchpad device, and you have an all-in-one home theatre system. Want a bigger screen? Upgrade and keep your HTPC module. Want a faster HTPC module, maybe to do a little gaming? Keep your screen and buy an AMD-based module (ok, just kidding). But whoever designs and patents the plug-n-play interface and gets maufacturer buy-in will own that market.

      • Johnny5
      • 7 years ago

      Do we get to blow on them to get them to work?
      People sometimes think I’m weird when I breath on my phone when it runs out of power, but you know, one of these days it’s going to work.

      • ludi
      • 7 years ago

      I like the idea, but for what you’re proposing, 4GB of RAM onboard would be plenty for most users and the most practical to implement, and 8GB would be overkill.

      WiFi and BT will be included on the shipping product, according to Geoff’s writeup.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 7 years ago

      Why put it in the TV? Intel has had wireless HD video for a while now, and that will make its way into phones before you know it. TVs need support for that built in a lot more than they need an x86 computer built in.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      What you are describing here is exactly what Samsung is doing with their high end TV’s this year except with ARM processors.

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    Intel’s 4-inch Next Unit

    4 inch? Intel needs some male enhancers.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      It will be cool when it’s the basis for the next Mac Mini though, right?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        The current Mac Mini already uses basically the same parts – Core i5 mobile and HM65 chipset. If this is the next Mac Mini, the price needs to drop accordingly.

          • Duck
          • 7 years ago

          The mac mini is way too big compared to this.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          Talking about the form factor.

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