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Intel readying Skull Canyon NUC for Q1 2016?

by Tarinder Sandhu on 9 December 2015, 11:00

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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Intel continues to support its vision of small, efficient PC usage through various iterations of the Next Unit of Computing (NUC). The latest models house either a sixth-generation Core i3 or Core i5 Skylake processor and therefore use the baked-in HD 520 or Iris Graphics 540. Perfectly competent for productivity work, these NUCs won't make much of a fist of gaming, but that's the price paid for having such a small form factor.

Yet things the world of NUCs are about to change, if a PDF from CMT Labs is to be believed.

And should such a Skull Canyon NUC come to pass next quarter, it will pack in considerably more graphics horsepower than any Intel-produced SFF system to date, because the only Skylake-based Iris Pro graphics, known as (GT4e) 580, use the full complement of 72 execution units and either 64MB or 128MB of performance-enhancing eDRAM. In short, this is Intel's best graphics to date... by some margin.

The Skull Canyon NUC therefore would boost the present Iris Graphics 540's potential by 50 per cent on a clock-for-clock basis, pushing potential throughput to over 1TFLOPS for the first time. Enough to provide a reasonable gaming experience at a 1080p resolution? Perhaps.

Other NUC-style vendors, such as Gigabyte, have shoehorned in discrete graphics or a particular version of Iris Pro Graphics into a box barely any bigger than a NUC, yet we believe there's genuine appeal from an Intel solution running off a single processor, assuming the chip giant doesn't price the Skull Canyon box too high.

Would you, the enthusiast, be interested in a latest-generation Iris Pro NUC box designed and built by Intel? Do let us know in the comments facility below.

HEXUS Forums :: 16 Comments

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I'd be interested in this, but I don't see it working as a hardcore gaming machine. Perhaps something you could leave in another room, or at a relatives house. That way it could be ‘just a small PC’ to them and you could also do some gaming when you visit.
The current Broadwell Iris Pro is about half the speed of a 750/750ti. This one has 50% more EUs than that one, plus a couple of percent for architecture improvements so I'd expect around 75-80% of the speed of a R7 360/750/750ti

Performance wise it's likely to be acceptable for an entry level gaming system, but will it be sufficiently cheap? And will this coincide with Intel's support for Adaptive Sync? That would definitely improve it's attractiveness.

Although personally I'll probably wait for rivals, I'd prefer a miniPC where I didn't need quite such much external clobber (Power supply, MiniDP to DP Adapter, USB hub etc.)
As an HTPC (but slotted into a fanless case) the NUC range has been very good, maybe not perfect for the true AV fan but for the rest of us, good enough. An excellent Kodi box for the living room
This could make for an exceleent Arcade/Console emulation box. Or even as the core of a full cabinet system. Failing that it would make an excellent HTPC and Plex Media Server.
Don't see the advantage of this over an ARM-based system. Too expensive for what you get and useless for gaming. It's like the netbook of the HTPCs.