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Intel Corp. has demonstrated the world's smallest personal computer powered by Core i-series "Ivy Bridge" central processing unit. The PC uses pico-ITX sized mainboard, but provides all the capabilities the latest chips from the microprocessor giant have to offer.  Presently Intel positions the 10cm*10cm PC for embedded applications, but it is likely that eventually such miniature solutions will reach desktops.

The ultra-small Intel desktop PC is called Next Unit of Computing (NUC) and features Intel Core i3/i5 "Ivy Bridge" microprocessor (any model, provided that it can be cooled down by a not very large cooling solution), two SO-DIMM slots for memory, two mini PCIe headers for expansion cards of storage solutions as well as Thunderbolt, HDMI and USB 3.0 ports. The whole system offers features like any other fully-fledged personal computer, but on an extremely small sized mainboard.

Image by SweClockers web-site

Currently Intel NUC is primarily targeted at digital signage and kiosks, reports ExtremeTech, but it can perfectly fit into set-top-boxes, home-theater PCs, nettops and many other solutions that benefit from both miniaturization and powerful performance. Unfortunately, Intel is not planning to make NUC a truly mass product just now.

"In the second half of this year one can get one of the NUCs. [...] We are working on different kind of SKUs, but [NUC in general] is not something that is going to get into hundreds of thousands [units shipped] range," said Fred Birang, product marketing engineer at Intel's motherboard division.

Intel is known for showing prototypes of systems that will be viable in the distant future. Perhaps, it will take several generations of chips to make NUC a feasible desktop solution for the masses. Still, even in its current form, it can serve some niche markets.

Image by SweClockers web-site

Tags: Intel, Ivy Bridge, Core, 22nm, NUC


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