Intel may be getting ready to launch its cheapest, lowest-power desktop computer to date. The company is best known for making processors, but for the last few years Intel has also been selling tiny desktops as part of its NUC (Next Unit of Computing) brand.

The company recently introduced new models based on its Haswell processor family, designed to offer better performance and lower power consumption than their predecessors.

But it looks like Intel could also be planning to launch at least one NUC computer featuring a low-power Bay Trail processor — and it should have a low price tag too.

Intel Forest Canyon NUC

Hexus reports  that the upcoming NUC DN2810FYK (code-named Forest Canyon) is powered by an Intel Celeron N2810 chip, featuring the same Silvermont architecture as Intel’s latest Atom Bay Trail processors.

It’s a budget 2 GHz dual-core processor with a TDP of 7.5W that’s normally aimed at notebooks, tablets, and hybrids. But Intel’s NUC desktops typically use laptop chips in order to keep power consumption (and heat generation) low.

Since the Silvermont and Bay Trail processors feature Intel HD graphics and a serious performance boost over earlier Atom chips, the Forest Canyon system would probably make a decent home theater PC or even an entry-level desktop computer.

The best part? It’s expected to have a suggested retail price of $139.

That price probably won’t include memory, storage, or an operating system. But it sounds like you’ll probably be able to pick up a cheap barebones system and build a fully-functional Linux or Windows PC for around $300 to $400.

The Forest Canyon system supports up to 8GB of RAM, has an SATA data port and a 2.5 inch hard drive bay, a half-height mini PCIe card slot, 1 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, and an IR receiver.

It’s expected to come with 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 pre-installed, and it officially supports Windows 7 and later and Linux. Android support is listed as coming sometime around the second quarter of 2014. While that might seem to be a long time away, Hexus reports the Forest Canyon computer probably won’t ship until the first quarter of 2014, so official Android support is likely to come shortly after launch.

via FanlessTech

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17 replies on “$139 Intel NUC with Bay Trail chip on the way”

  1. It’d be funny if Intel’s cheapest NUC came with a 2.5″ HDD slot and the more expensive versions still forced you to get mSATA,

  2. Thanks for the link Brad. Very, VERY exciting product from Intel!

    Fingers crossed for a Bay Trail D version too (the quad-core Pentium J2850 looks amazing).

    1. Meh… You can get an i3 NUC for about the same price but with real desktop performance.
      This processor is really better suited for laptops and such…

      1. Better yet, get one of the Intel laptopstablets using similar specs for the same price.

        1. What would be an example of an i3 NUC for “about the same price but with real desktop performance”?

          1. Q3’13 Haswell i3 retail prices:
            Q1’14 N2805 N2810 and N2910 retail prices:

            The i3-4330 has 4M Cache, 3.5 GHz, 2 cores and 4 threads (2 hypers) and 54W draw for 138$;
            The N2810 has 1M Cache, 2 GHz, 2 cores and 2 threads and 6-13W draw for 132$;
            The N2910 has 2M Cache, 1.6 GHz, 4 cores and 4 threads and 6-13W draw for 132$.

            * I’m guessing the Atom’s draw based on past models.

            Now, what exactly do you think 5-8x times the power draw by the same x86 foundry means? Even if the Haswell is terribly bloated with legacy and the Atom is this immaculate CPU delivered from the Flying Spaghetti Monster itself, there’s just so much you can squeeze out of a low powered mobile processor.

          2. The pricing for the Bay Trail Celerons are incorrect, the source you linked was when Intel just cut and pasted the models into their lineup listing but failed to actually enter the final pricing… It has since been removed and they’ve yet to actually input a real number but it’s expected to be much less than $132…

            Bay Trail is a SoC and much smaller and easier to make than the Core processors. So it should cost a lot less… The mobile versions for example are priced low enough to be close enough to be competitive with ARM…

            Besides, just look up Core i3 NUCs and you’ll find most of them are well over $100 more than this one is being offered!

          3. OK. If the source is wrong then my assumptions were wrong and so were my conclusions.

            So, If the Atom kit goes for 140$ while the i3 kit goes for 300-400$, then it’s an obvious choice for office spaces that only need Internet Explorer, Word and Excel.

            Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a Media server or are fine with using Linux, LibreOffice and Firefox, then I think the Atoms won’t out-perform your average SATA2Gigabyte capable ARM board by any significant amount. But will cost twice as much.

          4. ARM can easily go cheaper but for anything approaching the performance range of this device you won’t be seeing that large of a price difference…

            For example, something like the Cubieboard may go for only $49 but it has no casing and only offers a lowly Allwinner A10 SoC that even the previous Clover Trail could outperform…

            Besides, ARM tends to have to deal with far more hardware fragmentations and over 80% use GPU’s with closed driver support.

            This is one of the reasons that despite a lot of effort to get desktop Linux distros to run on ARM that it’s rarely offered and even more rarely with full functionality.

            Bay Trail though is supported under Intel’s Linux driver support and Linux itself already added Bay Trail audio support with Kernel 3.11 release… So at the very least it should be less of a pain to get your favorite distro running on this versus a ARM solution and the price difference will likely be negligible to boot…

            NUC is also not the primary market for ARM… So it can take a very long time before we see any of the latest SoCs offered…

            Though, Android optimization may take a bit longer than Windows but Google officially supports Intel ATOM SoCs. So that’s going to be a done deal eventually…

          5. “no casing” You can buy separately. And the NUC is sold without memory or HD so I’d say the install does not differ skill wise.

            “lowly Allwinner A10” A20 now… not much of a difference but just enough to satisfy a NAS andor 1080p streamer.

            “previous Clover Trail could outperform…” If it can stream 1080p video then any more performance is redundant. Even for file serving, the 1gb network and physical read speed will cap any advantage the cpu would otherwise provide on a desktop.

            “deal with far more hardware fragmentations” irrelevant for end user. besides, current offering aren’t good enough for the desktop.

            “80% use GPU’s with closed driver support” good point. and it’s exactly why I own an i7 and an AMD GPU. but for just streaming video people use android and closed drivers without any hesitation. also, all the gamers do the same and use closed hardware without second thought.

            “despite a lot of effort to get desktop Linux distros to run on ARM” Up until recent years, there’s been little to no effort in this pursuit. there’s always been code releases by device manufacturers as confirming to the GPL, but no upstream attempts were made by companies. only recently did ARM start thinking about big iron servers and that’s what Linaro was formed to accomplish.

            “favorite distro running on this versus a ARM solution” there’s been ARMv8 support for linux since Oct 2012. The main up streaming push started in Linux 3.7 (Dec 2012) along with the initial ARMv8 support. so, by the time big.LITTLE mini pcs come out, there should be good support from everyone except debian stable. Currently, you’re right to say that support is fragmented at best. but like I said, the hardware isn’t really good enough for desktops. much like this atoms it’s just too power efficient to push a desktop.

            “NUC is also not the primary market for ARM…” NUC as a desktop is not ARM’s present market. but if you want to use it as a file server or even a streamer, then it is.

            “Android optimization may take a bit longer than Windows” Android’s ATOM support will be excellent and will be more then ready when the chips are released. that’s actually to Intel’s credit so I’m not sure why I’m the one mentioning this…

            anyhow, lets do a real world example: I’m now using my old q6600 with 5 Firefox tabs open in Fedora 19. I have transmission-daemon running and a samba daemon serving three shares but no clients have open connections. Firewalld is enabled as well as NetworkManager. I’m using the default Gnome window manager and the properly Nvidia drivers.
            Htop is showing 1191MB/3953MB Mem usage while one of my cores spikes to 40% whenever I move a window this despite having the compositor doing opengl properly.
            I can this similar behavior on Intel laptops and my i7 desktop in many other distributions running everything from e17 to kde.
            simply put, Atom might do serving and playback fine, but they won’t make the average user happy on the desktop.
            Mind you I’m doing most of my coding work in Vim and have made due for a few weeks with nothing but an ARMv5 as a workstation so I think I can tell a desktop when I see one.

          6. You seem to be avoiding the obvious conclusions?

            “You can buy separately.” … Obviously missing that this means added costs and that you’re comparing to a product that provides this extra as included in the price!

            And that’s was only one part of it anyway, as the point that it’s providing a low end ARM SoC means you’re paying for less performance. So you’re not getting the equivalent for the price and thus not really getting a better deal!

            Remember, you claimed half the cost but there’s no such thing for anything remotely capable of offering what Bay Trail can offer!

            There are ARM based USB system dongles that cost over $200… So the range goes quite high but at a cost!

            “there’s been ARMv8 support for linux since Oct 2012”

            And it would be a wonderful world if that mattered! True linux support requires more support than just for the CPU and ARM’s specific IP’s.

            Really, can you answer John’s question about what “ARM board has open source Linux drivers that are regularly maintained?”

            ARM SoCs aren’t just made from ARM technology and fragmented hardware means compatibility is all over the place and there’s a difference from being compatible from having the OS run 100% properly on a given platform…

            Things like being able to enable hardware acceleration, etc. means more than just being able to Boot the OS.

            Even on the Allwinner A10, which has Open Source support, it’s not exactly easy to just get any Linux distro to just work. It takes work to get everything working as it should and that’s a lot more work than the average person is willing to do!

            So let’s not pretend ARM doesn’t have a serious problem with providing proper support for Linux. It’s pretty rare to get everything working 100% on a ARM device and that’s with Open Source support provided for all the hardware but like I said closed hardware take up most of the market!

            “I’m now using my old q6600”

            Now imagine having to use a system with less than half that performance… that is what these low end ARM SoCs are like to use!

            Again, unless it’s comparable to Bay Trail range then you’re dealing with even worse performance than you would have with working with say a old ATOM based netbook!

            Especially when most ARM SoCs have to work with less than 2GB of RAM!

            At least with Bay Trail you have the option of going up to 8GB and use fairly fast DDR3 RAM and we’re realistically still over half a year away from seeing any consumer offerings for ARMv8 based devices!

            So this is actually a pretty good price for what they’re offering… Bay Trail provides better than netbook performance, it’s still about 50% less than a Core processor can provide but it’s close enough to allow most things to run just fine.

            While being a lot cheaper than a Core version would cost!

          7. Intel has better linux support no question about that. Though, it could be argued that another way of looking at this particular ARM board, is that it’s offset by offering ready made images you can just “dd if=./new_hotness.img of=/dev/sdd1” while an Intel install, regardless of support, will be more involving.

            It doesn’t make sense to me personally but I’m also comfortable with a Gentoo install so there’s that…

            If we’re saying the missing casing invalidates the ARM boards, than the NUC is just as bad since it’s missing both RAM and HD.

            Once you start adding the full box costs, you’re in for another 20-30$ on the ARM streamer (minimal power supply, case) and another 60$ for ARM file server (extra 500gb hard drive).
            On the Intel side you need 30$ for RAM (minimal 4gb ddr 1333 – costs fluctuates) and 60$ for storage serving (minimal 500gb hard drive).

            Device | Base Cost | Drive | Case + Power Supply | Mem | Streamer | File Server | Desktop
            Nuc | 140$ | 60$ | NA | 30$ | 230$ | 230$ | 230$
            ARM Board | 60$ | 60$ | 30$ | NA | 90$ | 150$ | NA

            So, the NUC still won’t compete the ARM offering as a streamer or a file server by twice as much in cost. While ARM has nothing to offer as remotely well performing as the NUC to serve as a desktop.

            So, I’m a pessimist who does:
            [(230+90)/2+(230+150)/2+(230+NA)/2] / 3 = ERR => (160 + 190) / 2 = 175$
            Average cost difference is twice as much.

            So, it’s all about the usage case really. If you’re looking for a desktop workstation then the NUC makes sense but not as a streamer of a file server since then the NUC costs twice as the ARM.

          8. “Intel install, regardless of support, will be more involving.”

            No, generally it’s more involving to get an install working on ARM. On a Intel system most distros are well developed enough to provide easy installs that are no harder than installing Windows… More involved would be installing a unsupported distro or trying to set up a hackintosh but that can also be done on x86 but not on ARM!

            “If we’re saying the missing casing invalidates the ARM boards, than the NUC is just as bad since it’s missing both RAM and HD.”

            No, we’re saying exactly what I stated that it’s an additional cost that closes the gap and combined with a ARM SoC that is actually comparable to the Bay Trail means closer to the same price.

            This was to point out your statement of ARM NUC costing half isn’t true!

            “On the Intel side you need 30$ for RAM”

            There’s more bang for your buck though as Bay Trail simply supports more memory and that gives more flexibility!

            So no, the costs aren’t really comparable right now because ARM is not offering the same thing and for what it has that’s close you’re still paying close to the same!

            Like I already pointed out, ARM SoC’s that are comparable to Bay Trail will cost a lot more than half! The only ones that will cost half offer a lot less in both performance and features!

          9. What Bay Trail comparable ARM board has open source Linux drivers that are regularly maintained? Most of what I’ve seen are stuck on old Linux kernels due to closed drivers or the reverse engineered open source drivers are severly limited.

          10. I think you meant to direct that question to LaChuck and not me… I’m the one pointing out Linux support is not good on ARM!

    2. I’ll keep my fingers crossed as well, but I’m not holding out much hope. We still have yet to see updated Ivy Bridge Celeron NUCs here in the US and Gigabyte refuses to import it’s celeron Brix. 🙁

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