Intel's NUC to get Haswell, more ports and fanless aluminum optionBy Rick Burgess
If you haven't seen it, Intel's Next Unit of Computing is a miniscule PC which packs hardware comparable to desktop systems several times its size. In light of Haswell's recent debut though, the tiny platform is being revamped with new chassis and Haswell silicon; the result will be more connectivity options, improved thermals and better performance.
New to the NUC family will be a fanless aluminum option, but we'll also see some more familiar-looking boxes. The Haswell NUC's innards will feature the same dual mPCIe and DDR3 SO-DIMM slot configuration, but adds a standard SATA connector and more USB ports. A 3.5mm audio (headphone) jack will also be present; current NUCs rely exclusively on audio delivered over HDMI.
As a result of better efficiency and lower TDPs, current-gen NUCs are based mostly on mobile-variety Ivy Bridge chips. The boards VR-Zone shows off feature a 15W ultrabook-class Haswell. Current NUCs seem to run on 17W Celeron, Core i3 and Core i5 parts.
Given the toy-like size of a NUC chassis (about 4 x 4 x 2 inches), the devices continue to lack dedicated graphics. However, the addition of Haswell's improved graphics core should provide a nice boost to future NUC owners, particularly where Ivy Bridge's Intel HD 4000 IGP falls just short of being passable. Despite its still-limited gaming performance, arming the NUC with Intel HD 5000-series IGPs will serve to make newer titles more playable.