Amazon, Newegg, and Walmart have started to sell Intel’s Crimson Canyon NUC that is based on Cannon Lake processors produced using the company’s 10 nm process technology. Availability of the NUC8i3CY-series UCFF PCs at major retailers indicated that Intel is making its 10 nm CPUs in rather sizeable volumes.

The Intel NUC8i3CY-series UCFF PCs are powered by Intel’s dual-core Core i3-8121U processor paired with soldered-down 4 GB or 8 GB of LPDDR4-2666 memory and AMD’s Radeon 540 dGPU (codenamed Lexa, based on Polaris architecture featuring 512 SPs) with 2 GB of GDDR5. The computer is equipped with 1 TB SATA hard drive, but it also has an M.2-2280 slot for a SATA or a PCIe SSD. When it comes to connectivity, the new NUCs are outfitted with Intel’s Wireless-AC 9560 CNVi 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5 solution that supports up to 1.73 Gbps throughput over 160 MHz channels. In addition, the systems have one GbE, two HDMI 2.0a outputs, four USB 3.0 Type-A ports (one supporting charging), an SD card reader, a TRRS audio connector for headsets, and a digital audio connector for 7.1-channel sound systems.

Intel Crimson Canyon NUC PCs
CPU Intel Core i3-8121U
2.2 - 3.2 GHz
4 MB cache
15 W TDP
Graphics AMD Radeon 540 GPU
512 stream processors
32 texture units
16 ROPs
2 GB GDDR5 memory
PCH Integrated into CPU
Memory 4 GB LPDDR4-2666 8 GB LPDDR4-2666
Storage 2.5-inch 1 TB HDD pre-installed
M.2 M.2-2280 slot supporting SSDs and Intel Optane Memory caching SSDs
Wi-Fi/BT Intel Wireless-AC 9560
802.11ac Wi-Fi + BT 5
Ethernet Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller (i219-V)
Display Outputs 2 × HDMI 2.0a
Audio 3.5 mm TRRS audio jack
7.1 channel audio output via HDMI
Optical output
IR Consumer Infrared (CIR) sensor on the front panel
USB 4 USB 3.0 Type-A (5 Gbps), one with charging
Other I/O SDXC card reader with UHS-I support
Dimensions 117 × 112 × 52 mm | 4.6 × 4.4 × 2.04 inch
PSU External, 90 W
OS Pre-installed Microsoft Windows 10 Home x64

Intel's NUC8i3CYSM and NUC8i3CYSN UCFF PCs were announced several months ago and were available from smaller retailers, possibly because the volumes were not large. Availability at Amazon and Walmart indicates that Intel can now offer relatively large volumes of its chips produced at 10 nm node.

When it comes to performance, Cannon Lake has its perks, such as AVX-512 support, though they may not be that obvious in the SFF space as they are in the HPC/HEDT space. Obviously, AMD’s Radeon 540 should also be faster than Intel’s UHD 630 Graphics in games, but keep in mind that when it comes to media playback Intel’s contemporary iGPUs have certain advantages over AMD’s Polaris (e.g., VP9 10-bit decode, support for sophisticated copyright protection methods that require Intel’s SGX, etc.).

Intel's Core Architecture Cadence
Core Generation Microarchitecture Process Node Release Year
2nd Sandy Bridge 32nm 2011
3rd Ivy Bridge 22nm 2012
4th Haswell 22nm 2013
5th Broadwell 14nm 2014
6th Skylake 14nm 2015
7th Kaby Lake 14nm+ 2016
8th Kaby Lake-R
Coffee Lake-S
Kaby Lake-G
Coffee Lake-U/H
Whiskey Lake-U
Amber Lake-Y
Cannon Lake-U
9th Coffee Lake Refresh 14nm** 2018
Unknown Ice Lake (Consumer) 10nm? 2019?
Cascade Lake (Server)
Cooper Lake (Server)
Ice Lake (Server)
* Single CPU For Revenue
** Intel '14nm Class'

The Intel NUC8i3CYSM with 4 GB of RAM and 1 TB HDD currently costs $540 at, which is in line with MSRP of $530 announced in August. Newegg sells the same product for $533.6. Meanwhile, Walmart carries the version with 8 GB of RAM for $570.

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Source: Dylan522p/Twitter

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  • CaedenV - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    Yep! We use them in applications where we need something more than a 0-Client. Sometimes just running a thick client, and sometimes running full Windows. They are small, quiet, and mount nicely in out-of-the-way places
  • Gunbuster - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    I kind of agree. At this point I have no idea if there have been 2 generations of NUC or 12 generations. It's not good trying to challenge Shuttle for the not updated your design in 8 years award.
  • saratoga4 - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    The NUCs support overclocking right? Any chance of an article looking at Cannonlake the desktop part that was not to be?
  • Valantar - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    Not the regular, u-series powered ones, no. That's just the Skull * variants.
  • megadirk - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    So what you are saying is that there is no justifying the price Apple is charging for the Mac Mini?
  • TheinsanegamerN - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    There has never been justification for the apple tax.
  • bubblyboo - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    Gotta hit those 30%+ profits margins.
  • nicolaim - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    Intel's margins are around 60%!
  • Wasabi_Vengeance - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    The base mac mini costs $260 more, for which you get worse graphics (probably, I don't think I've seen benchmarks for the radeon 540 vs intel graphics), 2x the cpu cores, 400mHz higher max freq, an SSD instead of a spinning disc (which shouldn't be an option at this point frankly, so anyone wanting any kind of decent performance is just going to throw in an ssd), FOUR thunderbolt ports, and a better operating system.

    I'm not saying that the mac mini isn't completely worth it vs the nuc, but it clearly offers some amount of hardware value for the extra $260. Is it worth the extra cash? For some of us, the OS alone is worth the price difference, nevermind the extra hardware.
  • Wasabi_Vengeance - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    Also, mac mini has ac wifi (nuc has only a/g/n).

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