Recently, at the CES 2020, Intel announced its new NUC 9 Pro (codename Quartz Canyon) and NUC 9 Extreme (codename Ghost Canyon) modular computing platform. It is the first Intel NUK to support desktop discrete graphics. With the NUC 9, one can swap out the CPU, GPU, memory, storage, and ports.
Intel has been making barebone desktop computers called NUCs (short for “Next Unit of Computing”) that are typically tiny and modular. Despite being a commercial failure, in 2018, after Intel conducted a freak experiment that put AMD graphics inside an Intel processor, the company proved that a NUC could be powerful enough for gamers as well.
The Intel NUC 9 Extreme Kit, is claimed to be the highest-performing Intel NUC available for consumers today. While it is primarily being targeted at gamers, the NUC 9 could also be used by content creators.
Intel NUC 9 Extreme and NUC 9 Pro Specs :
Intel has decided to make its NUC 9 Extreme available with the i9, i7 or the i5 9th Gen CPUs. While in case of the NUC 9 Pro, it has two options, the Intel Xeon and the i7 9th Gen CPU. The NUC 9 Pro will even support up to 64GB memory using DDR4 SODIMMs (2x32GB) and up to 3 x M.2 slots (1 x 2242/2280 and 2 x 2242/2280/2210) for both the Xeon and 9th Gen CPU.
The Duo includes 2 x 1GbE built-in Intel ethernet adapters (i219-LM and i210-AT), the exact same models used in the Hades Canyon NUC. Furthermore, they have 6 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type-A) and 2 x Thunderbolt 3 (Type-C) ports. Inside, they even sport a USB A slot which can be used with a USB license dongle.
Both the NUC 9 Extreme and the 9 Pro come with 238 x 216 x 96mm dimensions. Due to a smaller form factor, it only supports GPUs less than 8 Inches, like a GeForce RTX 2070 Mini.
The company announced that it will be selling the NUC 9 Extreme this March as a barebones system. Starting at around $1,050 with a Core i5 module, $1,250 for i7, or around $1,700 for the flagship Core i9.
NUC 9 Extreme Vs NUC 9 Pro Comparison
With the NUC series, Intel normally features its latest CPU tech. Well, this time the NUC 9 doesn’t have that. Instead of using the latest comet lake processor, Intel went for more power-efficient 9th Gen coffee lake CPU. Eventually, this can be a very important point for gamers.
In comparison with the Razor tomahawk, or Coolermaster NC 100, the NUC 9 comes with a smaller form factor. It takes a volume of 5 litres which is way less the other competitors. But in contrast, a smaller size does not allow the same to have a bigger or a more powerful GPU. This compromises with the gaming capability of the modular platform.
In terms of Pricing, the NUC 9 seems to be a bit over the mark. With older CPU and a smaller GPU, it’s not exactly going to be appealing to some people.
Though, with more power efficiency, and modularity, it could be targetted towards some IT professionals or some gaming cafes. Overall, it terms of modular computing the Intel NUC 9 Extreme and the NUC 9 Pro are good to go.