NUC – Millennials and 90s kids have vastly different memories when you ask them to describe their first Computer when compared to Generation Z kids. Our first memory of those computers would usually include a bulky CRT monitor, a noisy keyboard, and beige CPU. The smartphone revolution has brought the power of a traditional computer into the palm of our hands. Most of us can get by without using a computer for days unless it’s necessary. The recent Apple iPad ad, where the girl says in the end “What’s a computer?” has polarizing reactions from people. That posed an interesting question to me, “Are we there yet?”
Are we ready for a future where we can ditch our traditional computers and laptops for tablets and smartphones? This article does not aim to answer that question but looks to present the advancement of technology. Keep reading as we explore the evolution of computers and what excites us, general users. Today we are going to look at NUC’s.
NUC – Next Unit Computing
As a streaming media enthusiast, searching for an ultimate media streamer I stumbled upon this area of computers. NUC computers are sometimes also called Barebones PC’s or Mini PC’s. These computers are small in size, but the latest models pack a punch. They are called barebones PC’s as the CPU is supplied only with a processor and the HDD along with the RAM needs to be assembled by us. It is usually not a cost-cutting measure but a convenience measure where we are not limited by the options that are provided by the manufactures of these PCs.
Few of the most popular NUC computers come from Intel, who with each iteration is shrinking the size of these computers. The latest NUC from Intel is called Hades Canyon. We have to admit that this computer is the inspiration behind this article. The former top-end NUC from Intel was called Skull Canyon which in its own right was an absolute beast.
When the Skull Canyon was launched, up until that point Mini PC’s were only looked as computers that could be used for general day to day computing. The Skull Canyon, however, brought in some advancements in the field where the NUC’s could finally be looked at as a computer for power users.
Hades Canyon – Intel Ark
Continuing the trend that the Skull Canyon started, Intel released it successor – Hades Canyon. Just a glance at this computer would excite any PC enthusiast. It is aimed at bringing PC gaming experience into the living room with power-packed graphics.
Hades Canyon comes in two configurations—one marketed as an overclockable gaming machine (the NUC8i7HVK), and the other as a content-creation system (the NUC8i7HNK).
The Hades Canyon NUC brings its own first: a single, Intel-produced chip (code-named Kaby Lake-G – 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processors) that marries an Intel mobile CPU with an AMD Radeon RX Vega M mobile GPU. These processors are designed to handle heavy-duty tasks without breaking much of a sweat.
Here’s a brief overview of the computer.
Processors: Intel Core i7-8809G (NUC8i7HVK) & Intel Core i7-8705G (NUC8i7HNK)
Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GH
Memory: 32 GB max
Networking: 2× 1000BT / 802.11ac 2×2 + BT 4.2
Max Resolution: 4096 × 2160
Video Output: 2× HDMI 2.0a, 2× mDP 1.3, 2× Type-C Alt-DP
Inputs: 2× Thunderbolt™ 3, 5× USB 3.0, 4× USB 3.01
Internal Headers: 2× USB 3.0, 2× USB2.0 with common Front Panel signals
What impresses us in this computer?
Where do we even begin? First the fact that it’s a small computer yet has so many port selections to choose from. You can connect up to 6 displays with this small device.
Second, it’s a gaming computer…in a small form factor. VR capable out of the box which supports many of the latest and greatest games. It even supports the Graphics Power hog HTC VIVE gaming VR headset. CPU and GPU all bundled into a single chip – color me impressed. While this computer is not mass marketed as THE computer to get, it is built for enthusiasts. This device also brings two rivals to work under the same roof – Intel and AMD. Both are fierce competitors in the field of processors and to see them working together is incredible.
The earlier NUC’s which were released was for businesses who need small computers to keep everything stealthy. We sure have come a long way from there. While we would not recommend everyone to flock the stores to go and buy this computer, we will say this. If you are in the market for a computer which is compact yet powerful, you can look at getting this computer.
Image Credit: https://workingmouse.com.au/site/img/The-Evolution-of-Computing_(website).png