In a nutshell: Intel has announced a refreshed version of its Next Unit of Computing (NUC) enthusiast mini PC. Codenamed Serpent Canyon, the barebones rig is designed for gamers and content creators that need lots of horsepower in a compact package but aren’t looking to go all out on an Extreme-grade NUC.
The NUC 12 Enthusiast is the first NUC to pair an Intel processor with an Intel discrete GPU – in this case, up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H CPU and an Intel Arc A770M GPU. Intel’s 12700H mobile processorfeatures 14 cores / 20 threads with a max turbo frequency of 4.7GHz alongside 24MB of Intel Smart Cache.
The kit can support up to 64GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory and affords three M.2 PCIe slots (including two Gen4 NVMe slots), two Thunderbolt 4 ports, six USB 3.2 Gen2 ports (Type-A), two DisplayPort 2.0 (1.4-certified) ports, an HDMI 2.1 TMDS-compatible port, optical audio, a Kensington lock slot and Wi-Fi connectivity courtesy of Killer Gaming (which is now a subsidiary of Intel).
Intel’s mini PC measures 9.1 inches x 7.1 inches x 2.4 inches and can be used in either vertical or horizontal orientations (a vertical stand is included). It comes backed by a three-year warranty.
Systems will be sold pre-configured and as barebone kits in which the user will be responsible for supplying their own memory, storage and operating system. Intel said pricing for kits will range from $1,180 to $1,350, and that fully equipped systems will be available from retailers at a later date.
Intel’s product brochure references a full build with 16GB of DDR4, a 1TB PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD and Windows 11 Home.
Those needing a bit more oomph may want to consider Intel’s NUC 12 Extreme desktop kit. These ship with faster desktop-class processors and can accommodate up to 12-inch dual-slot graphics cards. They are considerably larger than the Enthusiast kit (although still slimmer than a standard ATX chassis) and will set you back a bit more coin.