Intel’s first 10nm chips are on the way, and while they’ll still be positioned as part of Intel’s 8th-gen Core processor family, they’ll be based on the company’s new “Cannon Lake” architecture.

We already had a good idea that some of the first Cannon Lake chips would be 15 watt U-series processors aimed at laptops, mini desktops, and other low-power PCs.

Rumors have been making the rounds for a while that one of the first computers to feature an Intel Cannon Lake-U chip would be a new NUC mini PC code-named “Crimson Canyon.” But according to a report from WinFuture, the processor may not be the only unusual thing about Crimson Canyon: it could also be the first NUC to feature discrete graphics.

WinFuture found a few images that allegedly show the unannounced Crimson Canyon NUC and it looks… a lot like existing NUC devices. The key changes are under the hood, where the new model is expected to sport an Intel Core i3-8121U dual-core Cannon Lake-U processor and AMD Radeon 500 series graphics with GB of GDDR5 memory.

Intel already offers another NUC with AMD graphics: the company launched the Hades Canyon NUC recently, featuring an Intel Kaby Lake-G processor with an AMD GPU. But in that case the AMD GPU and Intel CPU are on the same package.

It looks like Crimson Canyon could be the first NUC with a GPU on a separate chip, which is pretty impressive for a device that seems to be about the same size and shape as Intel’s mini computers with integrated graphics only.

Intel is expected to offer at lest two Crimson Canyon configurations, including a NUC8I3CYSM2 model and an NUC8I3CYSM3 version. Both are already listed at some online retail sites, although most of those sites don’t show any pictures or detailed specs.

At this point it’s unclear if all Crimson Canyon devices will have AMD graphics. It may just be an optional feature for some models. But it does seem like all Crimson Canyon models will be powered by 10nm Cannon Lake-U processors.


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17 replies on “Intel Crimson Canyon NUC coming soon, with Cannon Lake-U CPU, AMD Radeon 500 graphics?”

  1. The CPU and GPU seem like an odd pair. Dual core CPU, with a low end GPU. This thing isn’t going to be suitable for gaming. Who is this made for?

      1. @YCAU:
        Doesn’t really make sense as a HTPC, as 7th Gen NUCs (i3 7100u) already support 4K60 with 10bit HDR via the Intel iGPU for h.265 & VP9.

        1. Actually, the 3D graphics performance is a clear boost over Intel HD Graphics (2x-4x, depending on the model). This makes it perfect for MadVR and light gaming unlike any of Intel’s efforts.

    1. The combination makes sense for a media center / home theater setup, especially if it could be made fanless.

    2. Since when did NUCs with discrete graphics really make sense? As for “gaming” there are a lot of levels of gaming. You might as well try to compare the different levels of people who self-identIfy as “athletes”. If you are talking “PC MASTER RACE” levels of enthusiast gaming, definitely not. For people with far more realistic expectations and perhaps are “space-challenged”, this may be a more attractive option compared to a gaming tower.

      Yes, I would definitely consider this a niche product.

      1. My guess is that this NUC would compare to a Pentium G4620 combined with a GT 1030 video card. I don’t see this being useful to anyone.

        The HTPC crowd doesn’t gain anything by adding the GPU, the stock Intel iGPU is fine.

        The gaming crowd wouldn’t even consider it to begin with (not even the lowest levels of gamers), the GPU wouldn’t be worth anything to them, and the dual-core CPU is not going to attract any gamers. Every gamer knows that almost all games currently require/recommend Quad-core CPUs.

        People who need GPUs for video/photo editing or CAD work wouldn’t even consider something like this.

        1. “The HTPC crowd doesn’t gain anything by adding the GPU, the stock Intel iGPU is fine.”

          Try running MadVR with just a couple of its advanced features on an Intel iGPU sometime. It is a no-go.

          1. I don’t know if things have improved any, but I used to run MadVR with a GTX 970, and it was utilizing around %30 of my GPU power. I don’t think the discrete GPU in this NUC is going to help MadVR users.

            Also, I don’t think anyone who takes video playback as seriously as a MadVR user will be using a NUC.

  2. I distinctly remember reading that Intel’s initial 10nm products would be worse than their 14nm++ ones in terms of efficiency and that appears to be the case here. With a clock speed of 2.2 GHz for this 15W Core i3-8121U, it is underwhelming. Why? The 7th gen Core i3-7100U has a clock speed of 2.4 GHz. I also expect IPC will be no different than before since it is merely a die shrink of Kaby Lake. In short, thanks to the power and performance disadvantages of its new 10nm process, Cannon Lake will be a very forgettable product.

    1. From reports online, it seems even Intel themselves wish to forget cannonlake and move onto Icelake, hopefully we will see more details of icelake later this year. Doubt we will see Icelake products this year but hopefully early next?

    2. It is the first series of i3’s to have turbo clock speeds. The link above says it can reach 3.2GHZ on a single core, which would vastly improve single core performance.

      1. Good catch! That makes this more comparable to the Core i5-7300U, excluding the far superior AMD graphics, of course. Hopefully, next-gen Surface can use 15W chips like this with AMD graphics.

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