As expected, the newest members of Intel’s NUC line of small form-factor computers are powered by 11th-gen Intel Core U-series “Tiger Lake” processors.
The new Intel NUC 11 Performance and NUC 11 Pro are compact desktop PCs that measure as little as 4.6″ x 4.4″ x 1.5″, while the Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast is a larger model with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 discrete graphics and the Intel NUC 11 Compute Element is a module that system builders can use to make their own Tiger Lake-powered computers or other hardware.
Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast (Phantom Canyon)
The follow-up to Intel’s Skull Canyon NUC (with an Intel CPU featuring Iris Plus graphics) and Hades Canyon NUC (with an Intel chip sporting integrated AMD graphics), this is the first Intel NUC in this form factor to feature an NVIDIA GPU.
Formerly known by the code-name “Phantom Canyon,” Intel hasn’t revealed physical dimensions for the case yet, but the motherboard is about 8″ x 5.5″ so the new model will likely be a little larger than its predecessors, which measured about 8.3″ x 4.6″ x 1.1″.
The NUC 11 Enthusiast features an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, 2 SODIMM slots with support for up to 64GB of DDR4-3200 memory, and two M.2 2280 slots for PCIe x4 SSDs and/or Optane memory.
The Phantom Canyon NUC has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, six USB 3.1 Type-A ports, an HDMI 2.1a port and MiniDisplayPort 1.4 for connecting up to four displays. There’s also a headset jack and SD card reader on the front of the computer.
Like all of Intel’s new NUC mini PCs, this model has an AX201 wireless card with support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.
With a 150 watt TDP, this is the most power-hungry of Intel’s new NUC systems, but it’s still relatively energy efficient for a gaming desktop.
The Panther Canyon NUC is up for pre-order from SimplyNUC for $1349 and up (for a model with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD) and says the computers will ship in March. They’ll also likely be available from other vendors soon as well.
Intel NUC 11 Performance (Panther Canyon)
The latest mainstream NUC is available with Core i3-1115G4, Core i5-1135G7 and Core i7-1165G7 processor options and comes in two sizes: slim or tall.
If you pick up the taller model, which measures up 2.2 inches high (with a wireless charging lid or 2.1 inches without one), you can use a 2.5 inch hard drive or SSD as well as an M.2 SSD. The slim model measures 1.5 inches high and lacks the hard drive bay.
Thanks to HDMI 2.0a, Mini DisplayPort 1.4, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports, you can connect up to four displays to this little PC. It also has four USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, an SDXC card reader, and an Ethernet port.
With a 40 watt TDP for the system, this NUC is a much more energy-efficient option than Phantom Canyon for general purpose computing. But models with Core i5 and Core i7 chips do still feature Intel Iris Xe graphics which should be good enough for some light gaming duty.
Intel announced in February 2021 that the NUC 11 Pro would only be available in the Asia Pacific region. The company suggests customers in other parts of the globe look at an NUC 11 Pro or other models.
Intel NUC 11 Pro (Tiger Canyon)
Formerly known as “Tiger Canyon,” this model looks virtually identical to the Panther Canyon NUC. But it’s a “Pro” model that’s available with additional processor options including Intel Core i5-1145G7 and Core i7-1185G7 with Intel vPro technology for hardware-based security and remote management, among other things.
This model also features dual HDMI 2.0b ports rather than HDMI + DisplayPort, but you can still connect up to four displays since the Thunderbolt ports support DisplayPort functionality.
On taller models, Intel also offers optional add-ons that can bring features like additional Ethernet and/or USB ports.
SimplyNUC is taking pre-orders for fully configured Tiger Canyon NUC systems for $529 and up and says the mini PCs should begin shipping in March.
Update: Intel has also introduced a new NUC 11 Compute Element, formerly code named “Elk Bay.” This model is a PC on a module designed to be used with a carrier board or chassis.