The Kubuntu Focus NX is a small form-factor desktop computer that ships with Kubuntu Linux software pre-installed.
When the Kubuntu team first introduced the mini PC last year it was available with 11th-gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor options. But now there’s a new model called the Kubuntu Focus NX Gen 2 which features a 12th-gen Intel Core i7 chip.
Both the first and second-gen models are basically rebranded Intel NUC systems that ship with Kubuntu, which is an Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distribution featuring the KDE desktop environment.
But while the original Kubuntu Focus NX was based on Intel’s Panther Canyon NUC, the Focus NX Gen 2 is based on an Intel Wall Street Canyon NUC. The biggest difference is the processor.
The first-gen mini PC came with 28-watt, 4-core, 8-thread processor options including Intel’s Core i5-1135G7 or Core i7-1165G7. But the new model has a 35-watt, 12-core, 16-thread Intel Core i7-1260P chip which should bring a significant boost in multi-core performance.
The Kubuntu Focus NX Gen 2 has a metal body with a plastic top. The computer measures 117 x 112 x 54mm (4.6″ x 4.4″ x 2.1″) and has room under the hood for:
- 2 x SODIMM slots for up to 64GB of DDR4-3200 memory
- 1 x M.2 2280 slot for a PCIe 4.0 SSD
- 1 x 2.5 inch bay for a hard drive or SSD (or an M.2 2242 PCIe 3.0 SSD)
- Heat sink and fan
Other features include a 120 watt power supply, support for WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, a 2.5 GbE Ethernet jack, and plenty of ports including:
- 2 x Thunderbolt 4
- 2 x HDMI 2.1
- 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
- 1 x USB 2.0 Type-A
- 1 x 3.5mm audio (mic & headphone)
- 1 x 2.5 GbE RJ-45 LAN
The Kubuntu Focus NX Gen 2 is available now for $955 and up. The starting price will get you a model with a Core i7-1260P processor, 8GB of single-channel memory and a 250GB SSD but you can pay extra for up to 64GB of dual-channel RAM and up to 6TB of total storage. All systems currently ship with Kubuntu 22.04 LTS.
If you’re looking to save a little money, you can also still pick up a first-gen Focus NX. Prices start at $695 for a model with a Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 250GB SSD.
Or you could just buy a barebones Intel NUC 12 Pro “Wall Street Canyon” system and install your own operating system, memory and storage. Models with Core i7-1260P chips go for around $670 to $680.
But if you go that route, none of your money will go toward supporting the Kubuntu project, so if you are planning to install Linux on the little computer you might want to consider making a donation to the developers of GNU/Linux distribution you install instead.
Update: Kubuntu Focus project manager Michael Mikowski reached out to explain what you get for the money if you buy the Focus NX Gen 2 rather than a DIY solution. In addition to an Intel NUC 12 Pro, the system comes with Crucial memory and Samsung storage which would bring the value of an entry-level model to around $750 to $820. And on top of that, the team provides at least three years of support to ensure that it Ubuntu-based operating system and all OS updates are fully compatible with the hardware.