Intel Dawson Canyon NUCs are ready for tinkering

The idea of taking what's essentially laptop hardware and packing it into ridiculously tiny enclosures didn't start with Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) mini-PCs, but the series has been one of the most successful examples of that concept. Intel sells NUCs to end users, but it also offers some embedded models in kit form, as well as in board-only format. The company just released six new "Dawson Canyon" models packing Kaby Lake CPUs.

Intel NUC7i5DNHE with 2.5" drive bay

All six of the new machines are based around the same system board, with either a Core i3-7100U or a Core i5-7300U processor on board. Besides that difference, you get to choose whether you want to buy a bare board, a slim-line kit with casing and power adapter, or a fatter (but still compact) kit with a larger casing that accepts a 2.5" drive. Regardless of model, you'll need to provide your own storage and DDR4 SODIMM memory. The handy-dandy chart below will outline the differences in the models.

Intel "Dawson Canyon" NUCs CPU Includes kit? Includes 2.5" bay?
NUC7i3DNBE Core i3-7100U Board only N/A
NUC7i5DNBE Core i5-7300U Board only N/A
NUC7i3DNKE Core i3-7100U Case and power No
NUC7i5DNKE Core i5-7300U Case and power No
NUC7i3DNHE Core i3-7100U Case and power Yes
NUC7i5DNHE Core i5-7300U Case and power Yes

Intel NUC7i5DNBE

If you compare these machines to the other Kaby Lake NUCs that Intel is already selling, they might seem a bit anemic hardware-wise. That might be because these Dawson Canyon models are apparently aimed at the enthusiast and embedded markets, which is to say folks who will tinker with their toys. These NUCs still support the same technologies that more feature-packed machines do, including Rapid Storage Technology caching using an Optane module.

Front and back of an Intel NUC7i5DNKE

External I/O for all models consists of four USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, and a pair of HDMI outputs. Internally you'll find two USB 2.0 ports, another USB 3.0 connection, a SATA port, two M.2 sockets, and a regular old serial port header. One of the M.2 sockets is intended for full-length 80-mm devices like SSDs, while the other is a short 30-mm slot meant for things like Wi-Fi adapters. The NUC kit models include an Intel 8265 wireless card meant for just that slot, though you'll have to provide your own wireless card if you buy one of the board-only NUCs.

If these look like an exact fit for your next project, you don't have much longer to wait. Intel says the new NUC boards and kits will be available in Q4 this year.

Comments closed
    • Ummagumma
    • 5 years ago

    At least Intel did not “cheap out” on the wired LAN chips for these models. The 219-LM chip is very respectable, but “LM” suggests the “Intel ME” function likely resides within the NUC, and the “tin foil hat crowd” doesn’t like that stuff. Having the 219-LM chip suggests this series of NUC could also be marketed to the business sector that has a large IT shop and not just consumers or SMB segment.

    • NTMBK
    • 5 years ago

    Wait, they choose now to launch new systems with the non quad-core Kaby Lake parts? Way to Osborne yourself, Intel!

    • Delphis
    • 5 years ago

    So want a dual intel Ethernet one for a router. Some external rp sma antenna connections too for the Wi-Fi card.

    • MOSFET
    • 5 years ago

    You mean you watched Buffy but not Dawson? The CW is cringing in retrospect.

    • MOSFET
    • 5 years ago

    They also come with MANY (if not all) of the international plugs one would need to start it up right away. Actually it’s more likely that you won’t have RAM or storage than not having the right plug.

    • homerdog
    • 5 years ago

    We sell these things like crazy. Businesses love them. Really the only time we sell desktop PCs any more is for those who need a GPU (very rare) or servers.

    I do get calls now and then asking how do I turn my computer on but it’s cool. 🙂

    • Chrispy_
    • 5 years ago

    The reason I end up buying NUCs (and I’ve bought about two dozen now) has NOTHING to do with their size, and everything to do with the included VESA/wallmount.

    So many tiny PC’s like the NUC don’t come with a way to mount them to the back of a monitor, out of the way to a wall or to the underside of a desk. The mounting plate is an “optional extra” that is practically impossible to get hold of. I’ve had to import the VESA plate for an ASUS before from another country because despite being advertised, ASUS support didn’t sell them in my region.

    Europe, middle East and Africa. What a tiny, insignificant region to not sell crucial accessories in….

    Anyway, Intel NUCs always come with the mounting hardware, and they’re reasonably priced so they get an automatic pass from me.

    • 5 years ago

    I didn’t make any because while I’m right in the pocket demographic I, likewise, never watched the show. 😛

    • MOSFET
    • 5 years ago

    I was confused as well, at first. This release seems to be about 7th gen non-Iris GPUs, and therefore no L4 cache. I strongly prefer the NUC7I5BNH with its 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7260U and Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 and its 64MB eDRAM.

    • morphine
    • 5 years ago


    • Growler
    • 5 years ago

    Maybe Zak is still broken up about how Joey treated Pacey. That was cold-hearted.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 5 years ago

    Wow. I had assumed (perhaps mistakenly) that all the forthcoming Baby Lake NUCs were already available and that this story was about 8th-gen NUCs with 15W quad-core processors. This is a huge letdown.

    • chuckula
    • 5 years ago

    You keep getting older.
    And they stay the same age.

    Alright Alright Alright!

    • Waco
    • 5 years ago

    I was expecting them even though I never watched that comedy of TV idiocy.

    Perhaps the editors are becoming younger…or I’m getting older.

    • chuckula
    • 5 years ago

    I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that the complete lack of Dawson’s Creek jokes in this story comes from an almost super-human level of editorial restraint.

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