Intel preparing quad-core Skylake NUC with Thunderbolt 3

By Scorpus
Jan 7, 2016
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  1. It's no surprise to see Intel refreshing their NUC line-up with a collection of new Skylake mini-PCs, as the series has been reasonably successful since its launch four generations ago.

    The basic versions of Intel's Skylake NUC still use the company's U-series CPUs, specifically the Core i3-6100U and Core i5-6260U. Both of these processors pack two cores and four threads, though the Core i5 model supports Turbo Boost and comes with an Iris 540 GPU, unlike the Core i3 that just features HD 520 graphics.

    The jump from Broadwell to Skylake means these NUCs now come with support for DDR4, and the U-series CPUs now support PCIe 3.0 for increased bandwidth to high-performance SSDs. Each NUC includes an Intel 8260 Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1 chip in the box, but you'll still need to bring your own SSD and RAM.

    Externally Intel hasn't changed much, so you still get HDMI (now a full-sized port), Ethernet, four USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, and an IR receiver. There are also still small and large versions, the former of which only supports small SSDs, while the latter includes an SD card reader and a 2.5-inch drive bay.

    For those wanting more performance, Intel is preparing a new NUC codenamed 'Skull Canyon' that will include a 45W quad-core Skylake CPU with Iris Pro graphics. Intel hasn't released any mobile Skylake SKUs with Iris Pro inside just yet, which is why this high-performance NUC isn't ready for public release alongside the low-power NUCs.

    This new NUC will also support Thunderbolt 3, and is targeted at both gamers and workstation users. Of course, Intel's Iris Pro graphics won't provide the same level of performance as a semi-decent discrete GPU, but it could be a handy machine to sit next to your TV for some light Steam Machine-style gaming.

    Image courtesy of Ars Technica

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  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,106   +1,376

    Will it be even sufficient to play videos in 4K @ 60Hz? I fear it will be stuttering. When I do it on my desktop machine, it seems to be taking a lot from the CPU + video card to do that. And even though I use GTX 780, my VLC player manages to stutter for 4K content @ 60Hz. That Iris Pro is far less performing than GTX 780.
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,498   +673

    I know for business applications either system is more than enough for general computing power. At the last project I worked we were supplied these and never had any issue, but of course we were only using word, spreadsheet, and email applications.
  4. Faelan

    Faelan TS Member

    Hopefully that 'Skull Canyon' will come equipped with a much better cooling solution. Heck, they could all benefit from a better cooling solution. With the 28W I7 NUC system that I built for my wife, I basically had to set it at a fixed fan speed of 2000 RPM and accept that it will throttle itself somewhat after a while. But that's okay since she is using stuff that mainly uses small bursts of CPU power rather than a continuous high CPU load. All other attempts at controlling the fan failed and with the default Intel BIOS settings, it revs up almost instantly to something obnoxiously loud under even fairly light load.

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