Intel shows off full-fledged PC board that fits in your hand

If you thought that the mini-ITX system boards found in small form factor computers like those offered by Shuttle were small, Intel has something to show you. It’s a new smaller computer board it called NUC, or Next Unit of Computing.

The NUC platform measures just 10cm by 10cm, or about 4 inches by 4 inches, compared with 6.7″ x 6.7″ for a mini-ITX system. Intel is positioning NUC as a form factor for digital signage and other simple applications. But the NUC board still makes room for pretty much everything you need to build a capable computer.

Intel Next Unit of Computing

The board includes:

  • Intel Core family processor socket
  • 2 RAM SO-DIMM slots
  • 2 mini PCIe slots
  • HDMI
  • USB 3.0
  • Thunderbolt
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth

The NUC is designed to work with an Intel Core i3 mobile processor, but it could also possibly handle a higher power chip as long as the power consumption and heat generation isn’t too high.

It’s not clear how much NUC boards will cost — but as Extreme Tech points out, it’s a safe bet they’ll cost quite a bit more than a $35 Raspberry Pi computer.

The difference is that while Intel’s new solution isn’t much larger than a Raspberry Pi, it supports powerful x86 processors which means it can run Windows 7 and earlier operating systems or offer better overall performance with operating systems such as Debian or Fedora Linux which do support the Pi’s 700 MHz ARM-based processor.

You can find more photos of an NUC prototype at sweclockers.

  • turn_self_off

    Mini-itx (originally made by VIA btw) may be small, but nano-itx is smaller. About the same size as this NUC board i would guess.

  • Bolsen

    The price point will be what’s interesting.  If the system is too capable and too cheap intel will cannibalize their bread and butter business.  But they really need to.  The market is changing and these 15USD and under chinese SOCs are poised to change the market.

  • Luc

    I’m was sold when it didn’t say Atom or ARM.

  • TomLeeM nano-itx is very small. :) has the mini-itx and pico-itx.

    • crashsuit

      Yeah, I immediately thought of those, too.  I love the projects people put up at mini-itx.

  • toronado455

    The CPU mounts… how exactly?

    • Mr. T

      From the Extreme Tech article linked in the post: “On the flip side of the motherboard (pictured below-below), is a CPU socket that takes most mobile Core i3 and i5 processors, and a heatsink and fan assembly.” So the CPU, heatsink, and fan are in the presenter’s hand.

  • Tom

    Which of these ITX boards can be easily bought in the US and can take Core i5 CPUs?

  • aden

     Are there plans to release this? I can only find Mini-ITX boards and cases. I’m not much of a DIYer. I just want to buy the parts and slap it together.