The upcoming Intel NUC 12 Enthusiast, also known by the codename “Serpent Canyon” is the latest compact desktop PC from Intel focused on gaming.

But unlike earlier models, most of which have paired an Intel processor with discrete graphics in recent years, the Serpent Canyon NUC is all Intel inside. It will be available with up to an Intel Core i7-12700H processor with an option for Intel Arc A770M discrete graphics.

That means the little computer supports up to a 45-watt, 14-core, 20 thread CPU with 6 Performance cores, 8 Efficiency cores, and support for speeds up to 4.7 GHz.

For graphics you get support for up to an Intel Arc A7 A770M discrete GPU, which is Intel’s highest-performance discrete mobile GPU to date, with 32 Xe GPU cores, 32 ray tracing units, 512 execution units, support for speeds up to 1.65 GHz, and 16GB of GDDR6 memory. It’s also the most power-hungry Intel Arc GPU to date, with power consumption in the 120 to 150 watt range.

So it’s unsurprising that the Serpent Canyon NUC looks like it’ll be substantially larger than some of Intel’s more business-like mini PCs, which measure as little as 4.5″ x 4.5″. The Intel NUC 12 Enthusiast, “Serpent Canyon” computer, on the other hand, measures 9.1″ x 7.1″ x 2.4″ and has a volume of about 2.5 liters.

That still makes the NUC 12 Enthusiast substantially smaller than Intel’s other current-gen gaming desktop, the 8-liter “Dragon Canyon” Intel NUC 12 Extreme, which is a modular desktop with a removable compute module and support for desktop graphics cards.

Under the Serpent Canyon NUC’s hood there’s room for two SODIMM slots for up to 64GB of DDR-3200 memory, and three M.2 2280 slots. All three support PCIe x4 Gen 4 NVMe SSDs, while one of those also supports SATA III SSDs if you want cheaper (and slower) storage).

According to a spec sheet, the computer has a plastic body with a metal inner frame and a replaceable lid in case you’re not fond of the RGB LED-lit skull logo Intel tends to put on its gaming PCs.

The system comes with either a 230W or 330W power supply, depending on the configuration. Intel will offer at least three configurations of the NUC 12 Enthusiast:

  • Core i7-12700H processor with 16GB discrete graphics (Arc A7 A770M)
  • Core i7-12700H processor with 12GB discrete graphics (Arc A7 A730M?)
  • Core i5-12500H processor with 8GB discrete graphics (Arc A5 A550M?)

The computer also supports WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 thanks to an Intel AX1690 wireless card, and it has a decent set of ports that includes:

  • 6 x USB 3.2 Type-A
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4
  • 1 x 2.5 Gbps Ethernet
  • 1 x HDMI 2.1
  • 2 x DisplayPort 2.0
  • 2 x 3.5mm audio
  • 1 x SDXC card reader (UHS-II support)

There’s no word on pricing or availability, but given that Intel’s Arc 7 A770M GPU is expected to begin shipping in “early summer,” the NUC 12 Enthusiast could launch any day now.

via Baidu, FanlessTech and @FanlessTech

This article was first published June 21, 2022 and most recently updated June 29, 2022. 

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  1. Lol, maybe it can be redesigned as part of a crock pot. Put the food or water inside — say for coffee or tea, chips heat up the pot. Many cables would be ugly, so an off pot I/O hub can handle those cables elegantly. Doubles as a mild room heater. Have to think “green”.

  2. Alder Lake is about to be replaced by Raptor Lake any day now and Alchemist’s original target competitors of Big Navi and Ampere are also about to be superceded. The chip shortage severely hurt Serpent Canyon’s relevance for today, and I was really looking forward to it for the last couple of years, too. If Intel can keep prices below $1000, then I would definitely get one to replace my old Skull Canyon. Judging by rumored performance for various Alchemist GPUs, I can’t see this performing much better than an Xbox Series X in games. Back when Hades Canyon came out it was only slightly better than a PS4 Pro in games, but managed to only cost $999 for the barebones at launch. Intel would be crazy to try selling Serpent Canyon for Phantom Canyon pricing rather than Hades pricing, especially now that they no longer have to be reliant on their competitors for GPUs.

    1. Though now that I think about it, there’s a dire chance that Intel may try to follow Apple’s pricing of the M1 Ultra Mac Studio.

  3. Months after reviewers saw Dragon Canyon it is almost impossible to buy, and the Intel GPUs are already very late. I’m not sure when this will realistically show up. Intel seems to put a very low priority on their NUC releases. I can’t find a Dragon Canyon to buy, so I’m looking at alternatives.

  4. Dang I just got my Phantom Canyon NUC not even a year ago… I am pretty satisfied with the performance of the Tiger Lake CPU and the RTX 2060 but I wonder if this Serpent Canyon NUC is going to be a huge leap over that? The CPU I’m sure is much better but can the Arc GPU run laps around a 2060 yet?

  5. Well, the GPU is top of the line in the new ARC generational lineup. Arc-7 A770M DG512 21.7 billion transistors.[1] This small-form-factor must be a pain to cool. How loud it is when running full-tilt? Some preview articles I’ve read about ARC say it may give AMD and Nvidia some real competition. Of-course the big question beside availability is: $HOW MUCH$?

    ARC Graphics Processor Generations

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Arc#Graphics_processor_generations

    1. I don’t see why there would be a cooling issue, the A770M is a laptop GPU, the NUC is essentially a laptop crammed in a small desktop case with fans.

      Oh and no, don’t count on Arc to compete with Nvidia and AMD’s higher-end products, it’s about the same as a Geforce 3050/Radeon 6500.