It's still a bit hard to believe that Intel's eighth-generation G-series processors are a real thing. The unholy union of an Intel CPU and a Radeon graphics processor scored a couple design wins in laptops when it debuted back at CES, but the most intriguing home for that chip at the show was Intel's own Hades Canyon NUC. One of those systems hit my doorstep a couple days ago, and I've been deep into testing it since. Say hello to Intel's highest-performance Hades Canyon system, also known as the NUC8i7HVK.
Although our full review with frame-time data is still in progress, I'm pleased to report that Intel has struck the difficult balance of making a tiny gaming system that's both quiet and fast. Although the NUC8i7HVK doesn't always produce 60 FPS gameplay at 1920×1080 with high (or better) settings in the range of titles we're testing, it comes close enough and does it smoothly enough that I'm prepared to call it a remarkable achievement in performance-per-liter. At the same time, $999 for a barebones system that still needs hundreds of dollars of storage, memory, and software to run may give even the most dedicated small-PC enthusiasts pause. Stay tuned as we hash out our full impressions of our time in Hades Canyon.