Bottom line: Intel’s next-generation NUCs not only benefit from Tiger Lake’s improved I/O support, but the flagship ‘Phantom Canyon’ model also packs an Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU inside. Though admittedly based on Nvidia’s last-gen Turing architecture, the hardware can still hold its own against most modern titles, making it an appealing SFF option for deep-pocketed buyers.
Intel has previously gone the discrete GPU route for its NUC series with the Ghost Canyon NUC 9 Extreme and has now made a second (albeit less extreme) attempt with the Phantom Canyon NUC 11. In addition to this flagship model that features an Nvidia Turing GPU, the company has also launched three other variants targeting business, mainstream, and DIY users.
Intel says the NUC 11 Enthusiast mini-PC, which also ships in kit form, is designed for “high-end gaming.” It’s powered by a 4C/8T Core i7-1165G7 CPU and a 6GB RTX 2060 GPU, alongside 16GB of RAM and 32GB + 512GB of Optane H10 SSD storage in the standard model.
Those without a discrete GPU requirement can go for the NUC 11 Performance (Panther Canyon) that’s available in two more CPU choices (i3-1115G4, Core i5-1135G7) in addition to the i7 model. Business users, meanwhile, can get the NUC 11 Pro (Tiger Canyon) that offers optional Dual LAN and support for Intel vPro technologies like hardware-based security and remote management features. There’s also the NUC 11 Compute Element (Elk Bay), a 65 x 95mm modular building block for system builders and uses either Intel Core or Celeron chips.
Intel has not officially unveiled pricing or availability of its new NUC lineup, though SimplyNUC is currently listing an 8GB/128GB NUC 11 Enthusiast SKU on pre-order for $1,349 with shipment in March. Also, if you play around with SimplyNUC’s online configurator, the ultimate NUC 11 with 64GB RAM, 16TB of NVMe storage, and Windows 10 Pro lands in at just over $5,700!