The big news in PC hardware this week was obviously the unexpected union of an Intel CPU and an AMD graphics chip with HBM2 memory within a single package, seemingly for a "new class" of thin and light gaming laptops. It looks like that combination may also be coming to desktop gamers in the form of a future NUC. An image leaked to Chinese rumor forum Chiphell gives a first glimpse of what the package could look like in the flesh. A presumption that the pictured SSD is an M.2 2280 unit combined with a bit of pixel-counting confirms that the leaked board is very close to the 140x147 mm dimensions of existing NUCs.
The image gives us a chance to guesstimate the size of the individual chips and of the package itself. By using the same methods outlined above, the chip we assume to be the GPU die looks to be about the same size as the Polaris 20 chip found in the Radeon RX 580. The chip most likely to be the HBM2 stack looks large enough to contain a single stack of the wide-bus memory. The entire package appears to occupy a 2.5 cm² patch, considerably larger than a CPU alone.
The size of the graphics chip could suggest performance in line with a midrange desktop graphics card, and the single stack of HBM2 suggests a capacity of 4 GB or less and about half of Radeon RX Vega 56's 410 GB/s memory bandwidth. WCCFTech's digging in the 3DMark database suggest that graphics performance lies between that of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and the GeForce GTX 1060, which is about where the Radeon RX 570 falls. According to the site, entries in Geekbench's database say that the graphics chip reports 24 compute units, a sizeable markdown from the Radeon RX 570's 32 CUs.
The leaked picture shows two SODIMM memory slots along with a single M.2 slot and a pair of SATA connectors for adding bulk storage. The I/O area is fairly cluttered with connectors, but we can't make out their identities from this photo.
The relationship between the clock speeds of the chips in the database entries and the final shipping parts remain to be seen, but the future NUC appears to offer potential graphics performance far in excess of that in Intel's last performance-focused NUC, the 2016-vintage Skull Canyon system. Also to be seen are the thermal management strategies Intel's engineering team will apply to cooling a high-performance CPU, a graphics chip, and a memory stack in such close proximity to one another.
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