Intel’s Beast Canyon NUC is the latest in the company’s line of compact desktop computers designed for gaming or workstation-class computing. With an 8L chassis, it’s larger than most other members of the Intel NUC lineup, but it’s smaller than most gaming desktops – and it’s also the first Intel NUC to support full-length graphics cards.
The company first introduced the Beast Canyon NUC in May, and now it’s up for pre-order from SimplyNUC with up to an Intel Core i9-11900KB processor. SimplyNUC says orders will begin shipping in September.
That’s an 65-watt, 8-core, 16-thread processor with a base frequency of 3.3 GHz and support for burst speeds up to 5.3 GHz in some situations, making this one of the most powerful NUC systems to date, even before you add a graphics card.
But if you plan to use the computer for gaming, you’ll almost certainly want to throw a discrete graphics card in there, because the chip’s strength is its CPU cores, not its GPU. It has Intel UHD graphics with 32 execution units, which means you’d get better graphics performance from a 15-watt Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor.
Like last year’s Ghost Canyon NUC systems, the Beast Canyon NUC is built around Intel’s Compute Elements. That means the the processor, memory, and storage are all on a removable card that’s designed to fit into a PCIe slot in the chassis, making the computer upgradable.
So far SimplyNUC is taking pre-orders for three different configurations:
The starting price includes 8GB of RAM, a 256GB NVMe SSD, and free installation of an operating system, but you can pay extra for additional storage, up to 64GB of RAM, or other add-ons including discrete graphics.
SimplyNUC offers Ubuntu or Fedora Linux operating systems free of charge, but you’ll also have to pay extra if you want a Windows license.
Also worth noting is that SimplyNUC pricing is often a little higher than what you’d pay from other vendors, since the company is a niche vendor that specializes in building and supporting small form-factor desktop computers. So you may eventually be able to find some Beast Canyon systems at lower prices in the future.
Each model has two SODIMM sockets for DDR4-3200 memory, support for up to three storage devices (1 x M.2 PCIe Gen4 and 2 x M.2 PCIe Gen3), a 650W power supply, a PCIe x16 Gen4 slot with the ability to supply up to 350 watts of power to a graphics card, and support for WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.
There’s a selection of ports on the front and back of the device including:
- 2 x Thunderbolt 4
- 8 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gb/s)
- HDMI 2.0b
- 2.5 Ghps Ethernet
- SDXC card reader
- 4.5mm headphone jack
And if you’re not looking for a computer case with a glowing skull on the front, the LED lighting effects can be disabled, but it’s also likely that we’ll see third-party chassis that can use the same 11th-gen Intel NUC Extreme compute elements as the Beast Canyon NUC. After all, third-party Ghost Canyon-compatible systems came in a variety of shapes and sizes… including one designed to look like a bucket of fried chicken.
via Tom’s Hardware
Look into the SGPC K55 case. It’s a 6.5L Mini-ITX case that supports a 300mm GPU, and it sells for $50-75.
You could build an i7-11700K system in that case with the same 8gb RAM, 256gb NVMe, and 650w PSU for under $700. Less than half of the $1400 that SimplyNUC wants for their i7 model.
NUCs have always been incredibly overpriced, but they always got away with it because ultimately you can’t compare a Mini ITX build to the size benefits of a NUC.
It’s somewhat amusing that this product is now a perfect comparison to a Mini ITX build, but it loses the price/value comparison harder than any other NUC product before it.
It’s extremely difficult to get even the standard 11th gen NUCs in the states – especially if you want an i7. SimplyNUC has about a 45 day lead time because they’re so backordered. i5, and especially i3 NUCs are easier to find. You have to pay up front (or at least work out a deposit with them) to get in their queue. Otherwise, good luck getting one.
Also, they won’t sell one without putting at least some RAM and an SSD in them, further driving to their higher prices.
Problem is, NO ONE has them. Everyone in the US is backordered and I’ve been shipping for these for the last 4 months. Intel can’t even supply those (launched in January) and yet they’re saying they’re going to be able to supply Beast Canyon in any meaningful quantity? Yeah, I’m not buying it.
If you’re in Europe or Australia, these things are easier to find. I’m building a lab and ended up preferring 2 Gigabyte Brix 1165G7 NUCs from the UK because hardly anyone in the US has these newer gen systems. Those that do charge way over MSRP in the US.
I still came out ahead of what US vendors were charging even with the currency conversion and shipping. Pro tip: if using Paypal, use your credit card issuer’s rate. You’ll get a much better rate than what Paypal offers. Also PayPal will try to trick you by including any balance you have in your account, making their rate look better than what it actually is.
You’re almost better off buying a laptop, if you can find one that meets your needs over a NUC.
That’s somewhat similar to my experience back in 2016 when I ended up buying a Lenovo Tiny PC with a 6th gen i7, 24 GB of RAM and 128 SSD+750 HDD and still coming cheaper than a NUC with similar specs with the added benefit of higher reliability and power (35w vs 15w) at the cost of being almost twice as big (1L vs 0.6, I think).
Yeah, you definitely pay for the small form factor. I’m doing a VMware lab at home and space is at a premium. VMware is also really fussy with hardware so laptops generally don’t work well, and it’s getting harder to find ones with Ethernet ports.
I looked at building a mini-ITX or an mATX build, but space is at a premium and those would take up too much room. Seems like a lot of mobo makers were also putting Realtek NICs I on the motherboards and VMware doesn’t play nice with those.
VMware on NUCs is pretty well-documented so I ended up deciding to go with that. They had the right size and right hardware so they fit the bill for this build.
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