Want a PC as small as an Apple TV but with a desktop processor inside? If so, Intel’s “NUC” concept is sure to be of interest. Intel’s target motherboard size for “Next Unit of Computing” is 4×4″ – about the size of a beverage coaster. Despite that small size, it’ll come embedded with a Core i3 processor, although as HotHardware surmises, we’ll see other variations including Atom and Core i7 in time.
Because Intel will be cramming so much functionality into a super-small motherboard, there are components laced on both sides. In the picture below, the processor and PCH are actually located on the underbelly. The fact this platform includes a PCH at all strikes me as odd, since Haswell will have a one-chip solution. Could Intel really be planning on releasing this platform before Haswell (Q1 2013 at the earliest)? If so, that’d be impressive.
We’re dealing with a small motherboard and a powerful (in relation to competing platforms) processor here, so the chassis no doubt has to be specific. To make sure its NCU products are designed the way they should be, Intel will be sourcing the chassis to vendors, who will then add in the memory and basically anything else that’s configurable. The enclosure itself is said to ship with WiFi, so that will be taken care of.
I can’t help but scratch my head at the thought of a Core i3 running inside of an enclosure not much larger than an Apple TV. There’s little doubt that the i3 models offered will be the most modest Intel offers, but still. It’s impressive any way you look at it.