Intel's ultra-compact SFF 'Beast Canyon' gaming NUC now shipping
Intel has had a lot of success with its small form factor Next Unit of Computing (NUC) range. In the past few years, the company has branched out into the small form factor (SFF) gaming niche with considerable success. The first NUC to support a discrete desktop GPU was the Intel NUC 9 Extreme ‘Ghost Canyon’ model which hit the market in the first half of 2020. However, it was limited to a GPU no longer than 8-inches, hindering its potential somewhat.
Now, the long-awaited Intel NUC 11 Extreme ‘Beast Canyon’ is here and it removes the 8-inch limitation on GPU size (dual-fan types) for more potent 12-inch triple-fan type cards. To this extent, it is pitted against the excellent, but very expensive Razer Tomahawk Intel NUC 9 Extreme-based rig. However, the new Intel NUC 11 ‘Beast Canyon’ NUC also sports the latest Intel Tiger Lake-based 11th generation silicon (up to Core i9-11900KB) fabricated on Intel’s 10 nm SuperFin node. TDP is also increased from 45 W on the superseded model to 65 W for the new ‘beast’.
The Intel NUC 11 NUC 11 Extreme ‘Beast Canyon’ can be purchased in a barebones configuration sans RAM, OS and storage or in kit form with pre-installed DDR4-3200 RAM (SO-DIMMS), one or two M.2 SSDs and Windows 10 Pro. While it can run out of the box without the addition of a GPU card thanks to the iGPU baked into the CPU, buyers will need to factor in a full-size GPU of their choice that draws no more than 350 W. Of course, with the CPU and RAM built into an Intel Compute Element, there is upgrade potential in its future. NUC 9 Extreme ‘Ghost Canyon’ owners, will, for example, be able to upgrade to the new NUC 11 Extreme Compute Element when it surfaces for separate purchase.