The Intel NUC Mini PC is now being released by ASUS instead of Intel. And the first “mini-PC” is not quite what we are used to


Most recently, Intel stated on the termination of financial support for the Next Unit of Compute (NUC) line of mini-PCs. The company started producing these devices over 10 years ago, in 2012. Since then, NUC devices have become very popular – both among ordinary users and in a corporate environment.

Unfortunately, Intel decided to get rid of non-core businesses, and the NUC seems to be one of them. But, fortunately, the line itself will not die, now the responsibility for its survival lies on the shoulders of ASUS. And the latter decided to immediately take the bull by the horns and release … a gaming nettop with a very powerful filling. And this is not exactly what we are used to seeing in the NUC line (unless, of course, you are a fan of the Intel Extreme series NUC series), very much not.

What’s the situation with the NUC?

We have already briefly mentioned above, if in more detail, then Intel has now decided to optimize costs and its business in general, dealing only with core projects. Everything else is either suspended, or sold, or transferred the rights to use intellectual property.

It is also worth noting that it was the Intel NUC project that became the “founder” of the nettop class, which is produced by many other companies, from famous brands to no-names. By the way, in hand Dromanov got one of the nonames, and he will release his review soon. It remains only to complete some tests.

But back to the topic of the article. As for the transfer of rights, that’s exactly what they did with the NUC series mini-PC. As far as we know, other companies have the rights to release devices in this series, but ASUS is still ahead of the rest. At least with announcements.

The license granted does not give you exclusive rights. But it allows the Intel partner to establish both the production and sale of NUC nettops with 10-13 generation Intel Core processors. ASUS also got the opportunity to develop its own nettops with a modified design. Well, to support users of a new product for themselves, a special division will be created, which is called ASUS NUC BU.

Well, what about the NUC from ASUS?

This is a nettop with very immodest characteristics that allow us to talk about this device as a gaming computer. The first model will be considered the successor to the Intel NUC 13 Extreme. It is difficult to see the difference between it and a full-fledged gaming system unit, except for the size and a couple of nuances.

The Intel NUC 13 Extreme itself is based on the 13th generation Intel Core (Raptor Lake). It has very advanced features, so the nettop can and should be used to solve high-performance tasks or run games.


Intel NUC 13 Extreme Intel used to call it a mini PC

ASUS will replace the 13th generation Intel Core with 14th generation processors, Mereor Lake. They will appear in the fourth quarter of 2023. Most likely, the release of a new powerful nettop is also scheduled for the end of 2023 – the beginning of 2023. At the same time, there is a non-zero possibility that Intel will release not desktop, but laptop processors of the latest generation. If so, it’s hard to say if they can match the performance of the Core i9-13900K, Core i7-13700K, or Core i5-13600K. But be that as it may, the nettop will be very powerful.

Most likely, the nettop will work on the basis of not only a powerful processor, but also an external video card. Previously, the Extreme series was equipped with ASUS graphics cards, so the new device is likely to be no exception. Most likely, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4000 series graphics card with the Ada Lovelace architecture will be involved.

In this case, the cooling system will be hybrid – both liquid and air. If the nettop is equipped with a mobile processor, then such a system is redundant, so we can assume that the card will be supplied with a 4070. It gets very hot, but the liquid cooling system is able to remove heat to prevent the nettop from overheating. If only the air cooling system were mentioned, the 4070 would be out of the question – then it would be possible to fry fried eggs on such a nettop (we exaggerate a little, of course).

NUC Extreme nettops already had external graphics cards, which are usually installed in desktop gaming system units. We are talking, in particular, about the Intel NUC 13 Expreme, in which a discrete graphics card is installed.

As for the price, it has not yet been announced, but you can probably expect a cost that is approximately equal to the cost of a full-fledged gaming desktop.

And if I do not need such a powerful “nettop”, what should I do?

This is not a problem, since miniature PCs similar to the Intel NUC format are produced by a lot of Chinese companies, as well as companies from other countries. Typically, the dimensions of the device are 10 * 10 cm, but there are also much smaller systems. We have repeatedly published collections of mini PCs, including modern nettops that can be used for a variety of purposes – from network devices and office tasks to working with heavy content, including video.

After connecting all the necessary accessories, such devices work as full-fledged desktop PCs. At the same time, they are silent or low-noise (depending on whether they are equipped with a passive or active cooling system). Some nettops fit perfectly in your pocket, so you can carry them from home to work and back, take them with you on business trips, etc. The energy consumption level of most is less than that of productive laptops and much less than that of desktop PCs.

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