Intel's Next Unit of Computing models prepare for landing

Nov 11, 2012 by Nancy Owano report
Intel's Next Unit of Computing models prepare for landing

(—Intel will introduce two NUC barebone computer models for the general public by next month. These are tiny barebone PCs that will be available through online retailers. One of the two models, the DC3217BY, has had a once-over review and there are reports that online retailers such as Amazon will be selling the tiny 4"×4"×2" computing devices starting at about $300 to $320. The little NUC is no way to be confused with a notebook or ultralight. What you get out of the box is an Ivy Bridge processor and motherboard and chassis, and, for the rest, you're on your own.

Not even a is in the mix. Mini PCIe cards and power cords will be sold separately But going bare-boned is precisely Intel's point, to enable the DIY enthusiast to enjoy what its NUC name stands for, the Next Unit of Computing. The NUC works with a dual-core ULV CPU and is supplied with the Core i3 3217 U microprocessor chip. Both NUC models will offer Windows 8 compatibility.

The DC3217BY model features Intel's technology Thunderbolt is described by Intel as a dual protocol I/O innovation that increases transfer performance with bidirectional 10Gbps speed and offers daisy chaining to multiple devices. According to Intel, leveraging the I/O protocols on a single transport enables engineers to innovate new system design configurations.

The NUC will resonate with people who have a home theater/home media center. One usage scenario suggested by an Intel source would be to put it on the back of a wide-screen display. Intel said that overalI its will enable innovative system designs and energy-efficient applications in places such as digital signage, home entertainment, and portable uses.

The DC3217BY, one of the two models, has an Intel promotional blurb that pitches the use of the NUC to experience movies, photos, and games smoothly. "Dramatically increase data transfer rates and daisy-chain peripherals with Thunderbolt technology. Get a difference in performance you can truly see and feel."

The blurb for the DC3217IYE version describes it as offering "stunning visuals and performance." The user can drive two digital displays at once with dual HDMI in this model. Gigabit LAN delivers connectivity.

While NUC pricetags are anticipated to run $300 and up, predictions outside of Intel are that the NUC will be seen as a viable computing solution for specialized applications, where the need for the right form-factor outweighs the need to watch the budget.

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not rated yet Nov 11, 2012
This should be a paradox machine. The more I don't buy them, the faster they go.
1 / 5 (1) Nov 11, 2012
I suspect it would make a great hackintosh-- but for that I'd wait for Haswell, with its doubly-powerful HD4000.
not rated yet Nov 11, 2012
Could this be used as a home server?
not rated yet Nov 11, 2012
What's the power consumption?
4 / 5 (4) Nov 11, 2012
Should be $150 cheaper.
5 / 5 (1) Nov 11, 2012
Could this be used as a home server?

You will need to add at least some disc-space (also it doesn't have any wifi capability out of the box. So unless you want to use cable connections to your other machines around the house you'll need that, too. )
It does have an internal video and audio according to the specs so you don't need to add useb audio/video cards or similar.

Seems an OK system for home video. The only thing I don't like about it is that it isn't passively cooled (i.e. it does make some noise when turned on)
1 / 5 (1) Nov 11, 2012
The lack of extendibility brings the risk of vendor locking. But the Dell machines in our office aren't way too larger already.
1 / 5 (1) Nov 11, 2012
can RDP onto virtual machines, all you need is wifi, keyboard mouse,monitor and enough HDD for the os and you have a workable Enterprise solution for desktops.
not rated yet Nov 12, 2012
You could use it as a home server if it had USB3 or eSata
not rated yet Nov 12, 2012
Maybe I'm jaded, but this just sounds like a a bit more of the tired old Wintel hegemony. Outside of streaming video, what is this good for?
For something like _twelve_ times the cost of a Raspberry Pi (plus the cost of Windows 8), what does this give me that I don't get with a Raspberry Pi? Then, I get a device that sucks power and requires a fan!

2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 12, 2012
Redundantly over priced. You could build your own for less.
not rated yet Nov 12, 2012
Outside of streaming video, what is this good for?

Since that is what it's for: not much. Then again: Most stuff isn't good for anything besides what it's designed for.

what does this give me that I don't get with a Raspberry Pi?

Memory, HDI, USB ports, ...
It's probably possible to turn a Raspberry Pi into a home entertainment system. But it surely will take some work (software AND hardware). And given even minimum wage I'm pretty sure that if you add the hours needed to perform that transformation to the cost then the intel box will come out cheaper.

The Raspberry PI is great for people who like to tinker/have a lot of time to spare. Thinking of getting one myself. But I'd rather use it for some supercomputing excercises like this guy.