As one might expect, Intel is working on a new generation of its NUC small-form-factor systems based on the company’s upcoming Kaby Lake and Apollo Lake microprocessors. The writers over at FanlessTech have published what appears to be an exclusive of a set of Intel slides regarding the next generation of NUCs, and we are in the process of double verifying the details. Until then, here's our analysis of the news.

The new systems are expected to hit the market in late 2016 and early 2017 and bring a number of new technologies, which are absent from today’s SFF PCs. In particular, the new systems will support Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 (10 Gbps), HDMI 2.0 and the new processors.

The upcoming Intel NUC systems are code-named Baby Canyon and Arches Canyon, according to the slides published by FanlessTech. The Baby Canyon PCs will be powered by Intel’s upcoming Kaby Lake-U SoCs, whereas the Arches Canyon will feature the company’s Apollo Lake chips. The new systems will complement and then eventually replace current-gen NUCs running Broadwell, Braswell and Skylake processors. Meanwhile, Intel’s top-of-the-range code-named Skull Canyon NUCfeaturing the high-end Core i7-6700HQ processor (quad-core with Hyper-Threading, 6 MB LLC, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580 with 72 EUs and eDRAM, etc.) will not be replaced at least until late 2017.

Baby Canyon with Kaby Lake-U SoCs

Intel’s Baby Canyon NUCs will be the positioned as Intel’s mainstream SFF PCs for users, who would like to have Core-based CPUs powered by the company’s high-performance microarchitecture (Kaby Lake in this case). Thanks to microarchitectural enhancements, the new systems promise to be faster than existing mainstream NUCs, but at this point we have no idea what to expect from Kaby Lake in general, except natural enhancements of iGPU as well as improvements to media playback capabilities.

All of the Baby Canyon PCs will support up to 32 GB of DDR4-2133 memory, HDMI 2.0, an M.2-2280 socket for PCIe 3.0 x4 SSDs, a MicroSDXC card-reader as well as a soldered-down Intel Wireless-AC 8265 controller. The Core i7 and i5 Baby Canyon systems will also come equipped with a Thunderbolt 3 controller, which will automatically bring support for USB 3.1 running at up to 10 Gbps, whereas NUCs featuring Core i3 CPUs will continue to rely on USB 3.1 Gen 1 implementation with 5 Gbps transfer-rate. Given all the hubbub surrounding Type-C audio, Intel decided to keep the good-old 3.5 mm audio jack but did not implement support for USB-C Audio into the Baby Canyon, at least, according to the published slides.

Intel Baby Canyon NUC PCs
CPU Core i7-7000U
Two Cores
28 W TDP
Core i5-7000U
Two Cores
15 W TDP
Core i3-7000U
Two Cores
15 W TDP
Graphics Iris Graphics HD Graphics
PCH Intel's next-generation PCH located in CPU package
Memory Two SO-DIMM slots, up to 32 GB of DDR4-2133
2.5" bay One 2.5"/9.5 mm bay, SATA3 None 1 x SATA3 None
M.2 Slot Up to M.2-2280 SSD with SATA3 or PCIe 3.0 x4 interface
Wi-Fi/BT Soldered-down Intel Wireless-AC 8265 (802.11ac 2x2 + BT 4.2) with WiDi support
Ethernet Intel I219V Gigabit Ethernet controller
Display Outputs DisplayPort 1.2 via USB-C connector
HDMI 2.0
Audio 3.5 mm TRRS audio jack
7.1 channel audio output via HDMI or DP
Thunderbolt One Thunderbolt 3 (40 Gbps) None
USB-C 1 x USB 3.1 (10 Gbps) 1 x USB 3.0 (5 Gbps)
USB 4 USB 3.0 Type-A (5 Gbps), one with charging
Other I/O MicroSDXC card reader with UHS-I support
One infrared receiver
Size (mm) 115 × 111 × 51 115 × 111 × 31 115 × 111 × 51 115 × 111 × 31
PSU External, 65 W
OS Compatible with Windows 7/8.1/10

The Baby Canyon family of NUCs is projected to arrive in early 2017, around the same time we expect Intel to start discussing its Kaby Lake-U processors with HDMI 2.0 support. Keep in mind that Intel has not announced Kaby Lake chips officially, hence, all the plans are subject change.

Arches Canyon NUCs with Apollo Lake SoCs

The Arches Canyon NUCs will be Intel’s new entry-level SFF systems running Apollo Lake SoCs branded as Celeron J-series processors. The chips will feature all new Goldmont x86 microarchitecture, Intel’s ninth-generation graphics architecture (Gen9) as well as improved media playback (due to hardware-accelerated playback of 4K video encoded using HEVC and VP9 codecs). Since the new SoCs are rated for 10 W TDP, it is logical to expect higher clock speeds than previous Atom-based NUCs, even though at this point this is a speculation.

Intel reportedly plans to offer two versions of its Arches Canyon NUCs: the NUC6CAYS with 2 GB of DDR3L-1866 memory, 32 GB eMMC storage and pre-installed Windows 10 Home x64 OS; as well as the NUC6CAYH, which will come as a barebone PC. Both systems will still support up to 8 GB of DDR3L memory, one 2.5”/9.5 mm SSD/HDD, a 1x1 wireless module supporting IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2, an HDMI 2.0 display output, USB Type-A ports, an SDXC card reader and so on. Intel decided to place a D-Sub connector on the back to enable connectivity with cheap displays.

Intel Arches Canyon NUC PCs
CPU Intel Celeron J-series
Four Cores
10 W TDP
Graphics HD Graphics
PCH Integrated into CPU
Memory 2 GB DDR3L-1866 pre-installed
Two SO-DIMM slots,
up to 8 GB of DDR3L-1866
Two SO-DIMM slots,
up to 8 GB of DDR3L-1866
On-Board Storage 32 GB eMMC None
2.5" bay One 2.5"/9.5 mm bay, SATA3
M.2 Slot None
Wi-Fi/BT Intel Wireless-AC 316x (802.11ac 1x1 + BT 4.2) M.2-2230 card with WiDi support
Ethernet Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller
Display Outputs D-Sub
HDMI 2.0
Audio 3.5 mm TRRS audio jack
7.1 channel audio output via HDMI
Thunderbolt None
USB 4 USB 3.0 Type-A (5 Gbps), one with charging
Other I/O SDXC card reader with UHS-I support
Dimensions 115 × 111 × 51 mm
PSU External, 65 W
OS Pre-installed Microsoft Windows 10 Home x64 with Intel Remote Keyboard Compatible with Windows 7/8.1/10

Based on the documents published by FanlessTech, the fully-populated NUC6CAYS will hit the market ahead of the barebone NUC6CAYH sometimes in the fourth quarter of this year.

Please keep in mind that all the information regarding Intel’s new generations of NUCs is completely unofficial and many details may change by the time the systems hit the market. Intel responded to requests for confirmation and responded with 'Intel does not comment on unreleased products', which is the expected response. As mentioned at the top of this news, we are in the process of double verifying the information in the slides, but for anyone who follows Intel's NUC lines, these hardware specifications are not far fetched at all and make sense for the markets they are entering. 

Source: FanlessTech

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  • RaichuPls - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    I'm looking to buy a Razer Blade with a Razer Core, and have yet to decide on whether to put in a GTX 1080 or a 1070, which is why I've been waiting for the Anandtech reviews on the GPUs.

    I've already bought a Galaxy S7, but the HTC 10 was being considered at one point, but since there wasn't a review on it, I didn't get swayed on my decision.
  • devione - Sunday, July 17, 2016 - link

    Bless you, previous thing, if you so desperately need to rely on reviews and not your own judgement.
  • devione - Sunday, July 17, 2016 - link

  • RaichuPls - Monday, July 18, 2016 - link

    If I don't rely on reviews, then what's the point of sites like Anandtech? I want objective views on a product I'm considering to purchase.
  • Morawka - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    just file a complaint with Purch guys, that's the only thing that will light a fire under these missing reviews.
  • Ian Cutress - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    Our news team is not our reviews team.
  • pedjache - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    Do you have a management team? I'd like to voice my concern without getting bitten by anandpologist hounds (see example above).
  • Impulses - Monday, July 18, 2016 - link

    You can always email Ryan, he'll either ignore you or reply thoughtfully I imaging... Either way it's bound to be more productive than the whaaaasmbulance in the comments.

    I emailed Billy the other day thinking he might wanna post a Pipeline blurb about the hella late 840 EVO update, didn't see it or a reply tho, dunno if I should've emailed Anton instead.
  • dakishimesan - Monday, July 18, 2016 - link

    As a NUC broadwell user, I find this news interesting and relevant -- even if I wasn't, we learn some new things about Intel's strategy for Atom and Kaby Lake (like that hte Kaby Like i7 NUC will have an Iris gpu implemenation).

    Generally speaking guys and gals, let's cut the team here at Anandtech some slack, can we? They still have and have always had the most detailed and technically informative reviews on the Internet, they put comprehensive reporting above being the first to publish, they're smart and dedicated. It's our responsibility to have fruitful discussions in the comment section and not just complain, that will benefit everyone who truly loves technology and wants to learn.
  • jordanclock - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    It's almost as if Anandtech consists of employees with a myriad of discrete positions, some of which don't involve reviewing devices and components!

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