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Despite rather high prices, Intel Corp.’s next unit of computing (NUC) ultra-small form-factor PC barebones managed to become popular enough to keep Intel developing new versions for different types of customers. At the Intel Solutions Summit, which is aimed at the company’s channel partners, Intel demonstrated three new additions to the NUC line: one based on current-gen Celeron processors and other two powered by higher-performance Core i5 chips with “Ivy Bridge” and “Haswell” cores.

Originally, Intel released two NUC barebone kits: DC3217IYE and DC3217BY, both based on dual-core Core i3-3217U microprocessor (1.8GHz, 3MB cache, 17W TDP) with Intel HD Graphics 4000 graphics core and QS77 core-logic. Earlier this year the company quietly added cost-efficient DCCP847DYE version with previous-generation dual-core Intel Celeron 847 processor (Sandy Bridge, 1.1GHz, 2MB cache, 17W TDP, Intel HD Graphics) and QS77 chipset. Quite naturally, Intel does not want to stop with three versions of NUC products and is developing higher-performance offerings.

According to LogicSupply, later this year Intel will introduce at least two new base versions of NUC, one with Intel Core i5 “Ivy Bridge” microprocessors and another with Intel Core i5 “Haswell” central processing unit, both of which will be aimed at performance-demanding consumers.

Intel NUC barebones can be equipped with two DDR3 SO-DIMMs, an mSATA solid-state drive and a mini PCIe Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module. The DC3217IYE features two HDMI outputs and 1Gb Ethernet; whereas DC3217BY has one HDMI output, one Thunderbolt port, but lacks 1Gb Ethernet. None of the models has any analogue audio output ports (the company proposes to use DP or TB ports for audio output), which points to the fact that either Intel wants to get rid of analogue completely. NUC systems are just 4.59”×4.41”×1.55” (116.6mm*112mm*39mm) in size, yet feature decent microprocessor with advanced graphics core along with multi-monitor capability. All-in-all, technology-wise, Intel NUCs are nothing, but impressive.

Unfortunately, Intel’s current NUCs are pretty expensive: after five months on the market, the Core i3-based barebones cost from $280 to $310, whereas the Celeron-powered barebone is priced starting from $170. The cost of 8GB DDR3 memory, 120GB mSATA SSD, and a Wi-Fi PCIe card adds another $160 or more. As a result, one fully-configured Intel NUC will cost from $330 to $470, the approaximate price of a laptop that offers comparable performance and feature-set, but which is also equipped with a display, keyboard, optical disk drive and so on.

While Intel NUC ultra-small form-factor systems look neat and should provide impressive performance and features, they are now just too expensive to become mass solutions. In fact, just like Intel said, NUCs will initially become viable solutions for specialized applications, where costs do not matter a lot. Still, with new versions in development, it is natural to expect NUCs to gradually decrease their pricing.

 

Tags: Intel, NUC, Ivy Bridge, Core, Haswell

Discussion

Comments currently: 6
Discussion started: 04/04/13 05:15:36 AM
Latest comment: 04/04/13 05:00:31 PM
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1. 
This overpriced crap is the very proof that Intel is running out of ideas to stop the sales decline of their $100+ chips.
0 2 [Posted by: Randomguy  | Date: 04/04/13 05:15:36 AM]
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2. 
No USB3.. No Sale.. Thats for starters..
0 1 [Posted by: thudo  | Date: 04/04/13 09:08:39 AM]
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3. 
Intel and USB3 dont seem to mix well at all for some reason.
0 1 [Posted by: Zimanodenea  | Date: 04/04/13 10:00:15 AM]
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- collapse thread

 
Intel has always had really crappy peripheral support. ATA/66, USB2, SATA's II and III, USB3, their entire GPU line-up forever: Intel always is really slow getting out the door. Fast chips, slow everything else.
0 0 [Posted by: rektide  | Date: 04/04/13 04:13:31 PM]
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4. 
This is another try at doing something similar to ARM based systems or just a copy of Raspberry Pi?
A tablet which grew up?
Chasing a market which doesn't exist?
Anything to try and regain lost markets.
Why not swallow their pride and join the ARM brigade?
Or is this yet another try by Win-tel to fight a loosing battle?
Android/Linux have this segment at present.
0 0 [Posted by: tedstoy  | Date: 04/04/13 01:56:22 PM]
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- collapse thread

 
I dont think you understand the performance gap. The NUC is several orders of magnitude faster than even the fastest ARM chip, and can run full versions of performance demanding software, like Photoshop, Illustrator, Samplitude, video editing and conversion programs, productivity suites, etc.

These things can be fitted with a 256GB SSD and 16GB of ram, making the Pi look as capable as a pocket calculator.

With them bringing Haswell to the table, I would expect an upgrade to USB3, as well as much better GPU performance, which is supposed to be as good as an AMD APU now (in theory).
0 0 [Posted by: BillionPa  | Date: 04/04/13 05:00:31 PM]
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