If you've been looking for a small form factor PC recently, chances are you've stumbled upon Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC), a tiny 4x4" PC powered by either 'Ivy Bridge' or 'Haswell' low-power parts. NUCs haven't been hugely popular, but they do provide an interesting solution for some applications (such as HTPCs) that require power efficient parts in a small space.
A new roadmap has revealed when we can expect new NUCs, starting in Q1 this year with the 'Forest Canyon' platform. Unlike other NUCs that use Intel's performance-class Haswell CPUs, Forest Canyon will be an entry-level NUC with a 'Bay Trail' Celeron CPU, alongside support for HDMI, Ethernet, USB 3.0, Infrared and 2.5" drives.
In Q4 2014 we should expect to see 'Broadwell'-based NUCs on the market under the codename 'Rock Canyon'. Core i3 and Core i5 variants will be available, supporting 4K and triple-screen setups through miniDP, M.2 and 2.5" drives, and USB 3.0. There will also be built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, specifications of which weren't revealed, plus replaceable lids supporting NFC or wireless charging.
As for commercial NUCs, the roadmap reveals 'Thin Canyon' Bay Trail Atom units will be available in Q1 2014 with 4 GB of eMMC, HDMI, VGA, eDP, and a fanless design targeted at digital signage and kiosks. A more powerful Haswell NUC under the 'Maple Canyon' name will be released towards the end of Q4 2014, with a similar setup to the consumer NUC but with two miniDP ports and support for vPro and Trusted Platform Module.
With Intel reportedly targeting a Q4 2014 release of Broadwell parts in general, it seems their NUCs will be ready alongside the launch of mobile U-series and Y-series CPUs, and before the launch of desktop-class parts.