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. 9/17/2022 Update: The Serpent Canyon NUC is now up for pre-order from Simply NUC.
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)
SimplyNUC began taking pre-orders for the NUC 12 Enthusiast in September for $1699 and up.
This article was first published June 21, 2022 and most recently updated September 17, 2022.