Intel’s next tiny desktop computer is likely coming this month, and it’ll be the first member of the Intel NUC family powered by an Intel Tiger Lake processor… but it won’t be the last.
Earlier this year FanlessTech revealed that we could expect Intel’s Panther Canyon NUC with an Intel Tiger Lake processor by the end of the year, along with a Phantom Canyon NUC with a slightly larger case, discrete graphics, and an emphasis on gaming performance.
Now FanlessTech reports that the Panther Canyon model is scheduled to launch this month, but we’ll have to wait until early 2021 for Phantom Canyon or later in the year for the bigger, more powerful Beast Canyon modular NUC.
Before we go any further, I should point out that Intel has not confirmed anything in this article. But I should also point out that Olivier from FanlessTech has a pretty good track record with this sort of thing. So while Intel’s plans are always subject to change, I’m reasonably confident that the company does plan to launch Panther, Phantom, and Beast Canyon NUC PCs in the coming year.
The new Panther Canyon model is a small desktop computer that will be available in 0.5L or 0.7L sizes, with the larger version featuring room for a hard drive or SSD as well as an M.2 2280 slot for solid state storage. The smaller version is SSD-only.
According to FanlessTech, Intel will offer models with 28 watt Core i3-1115G4, Core i5-1135G7, and Core i7-1165G7 processor options.
But if you want higher-performance graphics in a compact case, Phantom Canyon may be the way to go. Now set to arrive in the first quarter of 2021, this 1.35L PC will 28W Intel Tiger Lake processors and 3rd-party discrete graphics (the specific GPU hasn’t been revealed yet).
Other features are expected to include support for up to 64GB of DDR4-3200 memory, HDMI 2.0b, Mini DisplayPort 1.4, and Thunderbolt 4 ports, 2.5 Gbps Ethernet, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5, and a bunch of USB-A ports.
And if you’re willing to wait almost a year, Intel has an even bigger, more powerful model on the way. The upcoming Intel Beast Canyon NUC 11 Extreme is a follow-up to the current-gen Ghost Canyon modular NUC with a removable Intel Compute Element and support for removable 3rd-party graphics cards.
Beast Canyon is expected to feature Intel Tiger Lake-H chips (which haven’t yet been officially announced), with support for Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9 K-series options. The computer will have an 8 liter chassis, making it one of the largest Intel NUC systems to date (Ghost Canyon has a volume of 5 liters), but still smaller than a typical mid-sized desktop tower (35 to 45 liters).
One other thing to keep in mind: while these leaks come from FanlessTech, it’s unlikely that any of these computers will actually be fanless. Intel’s NUC computers tend to feature active cooling systems, and that’s unlikely to change with this generation. But there are some companies that offer third-party cases with passive cooling for folks that want to transform an NUC into a fanless mini PC, and others that do the transformation themselves and sell fanless NUC-based computers to customers.