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.
I really love the new NUCs – all of them! But what’s up with the horrible availability? March is a joke – at least the Panther Canyon was always supposed to arrive 2H2020 and now it’s probably not even here Q1/2021 (if they say March it’s usually code for we’ll try to ship a few units by March 31st to save face)
Intel has really screwed up – most of their products suck these days and those (few) that don’t suck are horribly delayed (Tiger Lake) or mostly unavailable (even the 14nm 10900K was in really short supply for months).
I hope Pat Gelsinger will fix things.
“Intel has really screwed up – most of their products suck these days and those (few) that don’t suck are horribly delayed (Tiger Lake) ”
You are thinking about the unavailability of AMD – I had no issue whatsoever getting a Dell XPS 13 with 1165G7 and a Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 with an 1165G7… maybe you are bad at buying things.
I am told my order of 70 NUC11 Pro (1185G7 vPro) will ship later in the month – they are waiting to build up a significant quantity before being placed on the site for general availability.
Some Tiger Lake laptops are indeed available but there are still many models stuck on Ice Lake despite Tiger lake being announced more than 5 months ago! (for example: LG Gram series). And there are zero NUC-style Mini-PCs actually available with Tiger Lake.
With AMD, while the Ryzen 4000 based Asus PN50 is really hard to get, it can be bought and I’ve successfully bought one for a good price several months ago. It’s an excellent device that actually exists (in low quantities unfortunately).
Now it’s clear all the nuc11s are dead on arrival. It might have been worth if released in 2018.
I’ve been waiting awhile to upgrade my Skull Canyon, it is aging quite a bit now. I almost considered buying a Hades Canyon but the Phantom Canyon does seem like a much better upgrade across the board. The RTX 2060 in it is pretty impressive compared to what I currently have on my Skull Canyon. I just hope the price of the barebones kit isn’t too expensive.
So we finally have an NVIDIA powered gaming NUC after the Intel and AMD ones. Just a little disappointed that it’s just a generic laptop setup this time with a standard CPU and standard dGPU. I mean, Skull Canyon’s SoC was used in certain Macbooks and Hades Canyon’s was SUPPOSED to be used in some kind of laptop at some point, but those were at least comparatively custom silicon compared to what we’re getting this time.
Pricing is really disgusting. Not just compared to consoles, as these have always been more expensive than consoles, but also compared to laptops with comparative or better specs.
And speaking of consoles, at least before Skull and Hades enjoyed utterly significant CPU performance leads over any of the 8th gen consoles. This time it’s not a very big lead at all and now the GPU is much slower than the consoles. Skull’s iGPU could’ve been described as about on par with the Xbox One S’s while Hades could’ve been described as about on par with the PS4 Pro’s.
I know comparing to the consoles is completely pointless aside from the fact that the form factor and aggressive gamer styling makes the machine a likely candidate for someone’s gaming den, but I wanted to damnit.
This generation seems to be a home run for Intel. Ontop of the improvements offered by the Xe GPU, the choice of IO ports on the back are fantastic
Also, the apparent ability to configure the swappable IO panel on the taller model is brilliant. I wonder if we’ll see some good choices for that panel, perhaps some 3rd party options. I wonder if this feature is exclusive to the Pro model, Intel hasn’t shared any pictures of the back panel of the Performance model, so we can’t tell.
Personally, I’d love to see an optional panel that offers more audio input/output connectors. Lots of people use NUCs as home-theatre PCs, and getting audio from HDMI passthrough isn’t an option for some configurations. It wouldn’t be hard to mount a small DAC pcb onto the back of one of those brackets.
Although, having said all that, I’m not going to be buying one these myself. After looking over their 11th gen CPU lineup, and also some leaked pricing, I’m suddenly reminded of how much I dislike Intel for their pricing of higher end CPUs, and also how much I dislike the lack of value in the NUC products.
Also, I’ve never been able to make the case for buying an i5/i7 NUC, the prices just don’t make sense given the lack of flexibility. I’d have to be very specifically in need of the small form factor for the pricing to make any sense. The CPU-heavy/GPU-lacking formula doesn’t work for me. My hope was that the Xe GPU would be the key to buying an i7 NUC this time around, but after some thinking I’m not convinced. A Mini-ITX build wins once again. I’ll sacrifice a few inches of footprint on my desk for much more storage flexibility, much more CPU power for the price, and I can even get a video card in there without exceeding the price of a configured NUC.
A Ryzen 5 3600 and GTX 1660 build comes in around the same price as a fully configured i7 NUC, and ontop of having a discrete GPU, it has 70% more CPU power than the i7-1165G7.
Sorry Intel, the NUC still doesn’t make sense for people willing to spare a small amount of desktop space. I’ll continue to admire it’s size and beauty, but I ain’t buying one.
Intel NUC 11 Pro with Graphics Output:
Dual HDMI 2.0b w/HDMI CEC, Dual DP 1.4a via Type C
Where is 2.1!!!
Fu**k you Intel! You’ve wasted my time… Now I’m not waiting for anything from Intel
How about a version with Radeon RX6000 graphics? Sorry, but just putting an 11 on the box is not enough. Intel, the Encom of hardware.
These NUCs are great for Linux as standard Intel enterprise grade hardware is usually supported early and well by Linux kernel devs. Although I will admit that the wifi controller and sdxc reader in my NUC7PJYH have been poorly supported, but both seem to be edge cases. I would build on NUC again over any competitor in the tiny form factor marketplace – other than I guess the Lenovo ThinkCentre M tinys which also emphasize wall to wall enterprise class Intel – because of component quality.
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