Intel has announced a new imagining of their high-end NUC mini-PC called the NUC 8 Enthusiast. The most significant difference between this and the previous high-end NUCs from Intel is that this one doesn't rely on Intel's integrated graphics as AMD Vega M graphics are onboard, and along with them the promise of some legitimate gaming muscle.
What exactly is under the hood? There are two variants, with the NUC8i7HVK (which offers 100W AMD RX Vega M graphics) and NUC8i7HNK (with 65W AMD Vega M graphics). Here first are the specs for the NUC8i7HVK:
- GPU and GFX: 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8809G 3.1 GHz to 4.2 GHz Turbo, Quad Core, 8 MB cache, 100W Radeon™ RX Vega M GH graphics, 1063 MHz – 1190 MHz Unlocked and VR-capable
- RAM: Dual channel DDR4-2400+ SODIMMs, 1.2V, 32GB maximum
- Storage: 2x M.2 22×42/80 (key M) slots for SATA3 or PCIe x4 Gen3 NVMe or AHCI SSD, RAID-0 and RAID-1 capable
- SDXC slot
- Connectivity: 2x rear Thunderbolt™ 3 (40 Gbps) and USB 3.1 Gen2 (10 Gbps) and DisplayPort 1.2 via USB-C™ connector Front USB 3.1 Gen2 via USB-C™ and front USB type-A connector Front charging USB 3.0, 4x rear USB 3.0, 2x internal USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 via headers Front Consumer Infrared port
- Video Outputs: Front and rear HDMI 2.0a (4K 60Hz, HDR) connectors DisplayPort 1.3 via 2x rear Mini DisplayPort ports, and 2x rear Thunderbolt™ USB-C™ ports All ports support HDCP 2.2
- Networking: 2x Intel® 10/100/1000 Mbps (i219-LM and i210-AT) Ethernet ports Intel® Wireless-AC 8265 M.2 22×30 card, IEEE 802.11ac 2×2 + Bluetooth v4.2, internal antennas
- Audio: Up to 7.1 multichannel digital audio via HDMI or DisplayPort signals 3.5mm front headset jack, 3.5mm rear speaker / TOSLINK combo jack
- Enclosure: Metal and plastic with replaceable lid, Kensington lock with base security
- Dimensions: 221 x 142 x 39 mm (1.2 L)
- Internal Headers: Common I/O header with Front Panel, CEC, 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB2.0 signals
- Power Adapter: 19V DC 230W power supply with replaceable AC cords
- Other Features:
- Replaceable lid with customizable RGB LED illumination and front panel status RGB LEDs
- Quad beam-forming mic array
- VESA mounting plate included
- Three-Year Warranty
That Core i7 8809G processor listed above is also unlocked, allowing for whatever overclocking might be possibile in this small form-factor. The differences with the NUC8i7HNK are strictly in the CPU/GPU area:
- 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8705G 3.1 GHz to 4.1 GHz Turbo, Quad Core, 8 MB cache, 65W Radeon™ RX Vega M GL graphics, 931 MHz – 1011 MHz
Besides the new Kaby Lake-G chips there is a lot more I/O in this NUC than we saw with the "Skull Canyon" enthusiast model (NUC6i7KYK), and here the taller design (39 mm vs. 28 mm) doesn't hurt.
With the bottom half of the rear panel reserved for cooling there is still room for 2x Thunderbolt 3, 2x mini DisplayPort, a full size HDMI, dual LAN, 4x USB 3.0 ports, and 3.5 mm audio (with optical). Up front there is a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, two more USB 3.0 ports (one charging), another full-size HDMI, SDXC card slot, and a second 3.5 mm audio.
Just how effectively this small device can cope with the demands of a 65W or 100W GPU – and potentially overclocked quad-core CPU – remains to be seen, but the thicker chassis compared to that previous "Skull Canyon" NUC suggests this has been accounted for.
So how much will this enthusiast-class NUC cost you? MSRP for the 65W GPU version is $799, and the 100W GPU version is $999. Availability is set for March 2018.