Intel’s tiny NUC now packs a gaming punch with a Core CPU and Vega GPU

Intel claims that it's newest NUC (Next Unit of Computing) is the "smallest VR-capable system ever." That bold statement is backed by internals that leverage the chipmaker's newly announced 8th Gen G-series processors, which combine Intel's 8th Gen Core CPUs with AMD's Radeon RX Vega M graphics and HBM2 memory.

"The new Intel NUC (formerly code-named Hades Canyon) brings this powerful new processor and graphics solution into an incredibly tiny 1.20-liter system. Great for VR enthusiasts and workload-heavy content creators, it will be Intel’s smallest premium VR-capable system in the market," Intel says.

It's also Intel's most impressive NUC yet, at least on paper. The company is apparently telling people that the custom Radeon RX Vega M can match the gaming performance of a GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q. Not too shabby for a system that measures just 221mm x 142mm x 39mm. Of course, nobody has had a chance to test that performance claim just yet, but we hope to soon.

In the meantime, let's have a look at the two new Hades Canyon NUCs on tap from Intel. The higher-end SKU (NUC8i7HVK) sports an unlocked Core i7-8809G quad-core processor running at 2.1GHz to 4.2GHz, with AMD's Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics running from 1,063MHz to 1,190MHz. This is the model that Intel is pitching as being VR-ready.

The lower-end SKU (NUC8i7HNK) drops down to a Core i7-8705G quad-core CPU clocked at 3.1GHz to 4.1GHz and Radeon RX Vega M GL graphics running at 921MHz to 1,011MHz. Intel's performance claim on this one is that it can reach GeForce GTX 1050 performance levels.

Both models support up to 32GB of dual-channel DDR4-2400 SODIMM memory. They also have dual M.2 slots for fast storage.

Connectivity on the rear consists of two Thunderbolt 3 ports, three USB 3.0 ports (Type-A), dual GbE LAN ports, two mini DisplayPorts, and an HDMI 2.0a port. More connectivity options are found on the front, including USB 3.0 and 3.1 ports (one each, both Type-A), two USB 3.1 Type-C, another HDMI port, and a memory card reader. Both models also feature built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Intel will begin shipping the new NUCs this spring, priced at $800 for NUC8i7HNK and $1,000 for the NUC8i7HVK.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).