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.

Panther Canyon (via @FanlessTech)

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).

Phantom Canyon (via @FanlessTech)

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.

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11 replies on “Intel NUC mini PC with Tiger Lake coming this month (gaming model in early 2021)”

  1. I remember the rumors were that Phantom Canyon would have a mobile 20-series dGPU. Hopefully that’ll be updated to 30-series when they actually release the thing. Though, just going for a regular old mobile dGPU would be too boring. Skull Canyon had Intel’s best of the best Iris Pro iGPUs at the time and was one of the very, very few implementations of their GT4 graphics tier ever (though, it got held back by a meh CPU and a very poor cooler, so the older Iris Pro 6200 inside the i7-5775C ended up performing better in games……..). Hades Canyon had an almost console-style semi-custom semi-integrated semi-discrete graphics solution from AMD of all companies that was really unique. So, if Intel just goes with the fully discrete path this time, it would be cool if they could commission a semi-custom chip from nVidia.

  2. Looking at Intel ark website, it appears that only the i5 and i7 get the Intel Xe integrated graphics. The i3 shows Intel UHD Graphics for 11th Gen Intel Processors.

    1. Whoops, I’ll update that. I mistakenly seemed to recall that everything with a G4 and G7 had Iris Xe… but Intel couldn’t make things that simple, could they? It looks like G4 = UHD, but with Gen 11 graphics featuring 48 execution units, which should still be a big boost over 10th-gen graphics, but a lot less performance than the G7 variants.

      1. Right… I was mixing up 11th-gen with 10th-gen. Chips like the Core i5-1035G4 had Iris graphics, while the Core i5-1035G1 had UHD graphics. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

        1. The crazy part is Xe graphics technology is on all these chips. They can call it UHD all they want, but you are getting the same 11th-Gen Xe graphics execution units. The only difference is there is “just” 48 of them. 48 is a lot. Really. That is what my Surface Pro 7 i7 has, and those 48 are 10th Gen execution units that don’t feature any of the new Xe optimizations either. So more and faster execution Xe units across the board even for the “lowly” UHD graphics. This generation, you are getting graphics all across the board that eclipse the best of the last generation. Even the lowest end UHD is better. Win-win, I reckon.

      2. UHD having 48 EUs this time? That basically makes them equal to the older gen GT3e iGPUs like the older Iris Pluses and pre-Skull Canyon Iris Pros, at least in core count. Next gen iGPUs are pretty damn exciting, now AMD just needs to give us RDNA2 in APUs already………………

        1. 48 Gen12/Xe LP EUs

          Ice Lake Gen11 were 2x the perf of the 14nm iGPUs
          Tiger Lake is 2x the perf of Gen11

    2. For Tiger Lake

      Core i7 – G7 = 96EU – 768 cores
      Core I5 – G5 = 80EU – 640 cores
      Corei3 -UHD = 48EU – 384 cores

      All Xe LP / Gen 12 EUs –

      1. For Tiger Lake

        Core i7 – G7 = 96EU – 768 cores
        Core i5 – G7 = 80EU – 640 cores
        Core i3 – UHD = 48EU – 384 cores

        All Xe LP / Gen 12 EUs –

        Need to have an edit feature

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