Asus may have taken over sales, marketing, and distribution of NUC computers after Intel exited the business last year. But that doesn’t mean that every member of the Intel NUC lineup has a future.

This month Asus unveiled new NUC Pro, Pro+ and ROG NUC systems that pick up where the Intel NUC Pro and NUC Enthusiast lines left off. But what about the bigger, modular Intel NUC Extreme line of computers with support for discrete graphics? It looks like those are on the way out.

Intel NUC 13 Extreme “Raptor Canyon”

According to a report from Fudzilla, Asus has no plans to build new NUC Extreme systems, which means that the Intel NUC 13 Extreme, also known by the code-name “Raptor Canyon” will be the last of the line.

Asus will most likely continue to offer support for that model for a while, but one of the key differences between NUC Extreme systems and other mini PCs was their modular, upgradeable design: the guts of the computer were on a removable module called an NUC Extreme Compute Elements that allowed users to replace the processor, memory, and storage.

Intel NUC 13 Extreme Compute Element

With no plans to offer new modules, it seems like the most powerful CPU for existing NUC Extreme systems will remain the 125-watt, 24-core, 32-thread Intel Core i9-13900K processor.

But since the Raptor Canyon NUC also has support for up to a 12-inch, triple-slot discrete graphics card, users will most likely still be able to upgrade the performance for at least a few more years. The system also supports up to 64GB of DDR5-5600 memory, up to three M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs and up to two 2.5 inch hard drives (or one 3.5 inch drive).

The NUC Extreme line of computers were always kind of weird. While they were the most powerful members of Intel’s NUC family, they were also the biggest. Recent models had a 7.5 liter chassis, which is smaller than a typical gaming desktop, but around 8 times bigger than a typical 4×4 NUC.

And while they did offer the flexibility of support for discrete graphics and upgradeable hardware, I’m not sure they were enough smaller or priced competitively enough to really offer a viable alternative to a full-sized gaming desktop with a user-replaceable, socketed processor.

Meanwhile if size really does matter, it’s not like there aren’t other relatively small gaming PCs available. The Asus ROG Strix G16CHR and some MSI Trident models, for example, are pretty close to the size of an NUC Extreme.

 

 

 

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  1. I’m so tired of companies making these proprietary systems that are supposed to be modular and upgradeable, then never making any upgrades available for consumers and then shelving the product because no one bought it. Maybe if they just sunk in some extra capital to, you know, make extra modules available around launch time (even if those aren’t necessarily upgrades), people would be more confident about the longevity of the ecosystem and buy into it.

    I was worried that Framework was going to fall into this problem when they launched, but they combined an emphasis on serviceability/making replacement parts available with a regular update cadence, so that in the 2 years since launch they already have multiple product lines and meaningful differences in module choices. Between that, selling old mainboards at a steep discount, and offering cases for old mainboards to turn them into mini PCs, they’re showing how to properly support a modular ecosystem.

    1. Personally I think that it just didn’t stand out enough from ATX/ITX to make sense to get into. If they’d somehow designed these things so that you could connect a bunch together as one machine that just worked, that might have made it quite compelling at least to some people. Even if it meant they couldn’t use the pcie connector, since it doesn’t seem to have gained them much anyway.
      I don’t know if they licensed compute element standards out to anyone who wanted to make one for free, but if they wanted staying power, that would be a necessity.