The Intel NUC12 Extreme Dragon Canyon Preview: Desktop Alder Lake Impresses in SFF Avatar

Intel kick-started a form-factor revolution in the early 2010s with the introduction of the ultra-compact NUCs. The systems were meant to be an alternative to the tower desktops used in many applications where the size, shape, and the system capabilities were mostly unwarranted. The success of the NUCs enabled Intel to start reimagining the build of systems used in a wider range of settings.

More recently, the introduction of the Skull Canyon NUC in 2016 was Intel’s first effort to make a gaming-focused SFF PC. And desktop-focused Compute Elements (essentially, a motherboard in a PCIe card form-factor) launched in early 2020 meant that full-blown gaming desktops could credibly come under the NUC banner. In the second half of 2020, the Ghost Canyon NUC9 – the first NUC Extreme – made a splash in the market with support for a user-replaceable discrete GPU. Ghost Canyon was extremely impressive, but the restrictions on the dGPU size and high-end pricing were dampeners. Intel made some amends with the NUC11 Extreme (Beast Canyon), using a special Tiger Lake SKU with a 65W TDP and comparatively competitive pricing.

The introduction of Alder Lake and its desktop-first focus has enabled Intel to prepare a new flagship in the NUC Extreme lineup barely 6 months after the launch of the Beast Canyon NUC. The new Dragon Canyon platform was briefly teased at the 2022 CES, with the promise of a Q1 launch. Intel is keeping up its word with the launch of a number of NUC12 Compute Elements and NUC12 Extreme Kit SKUs. Today, we are having a detailed look at what the NUC12 Extreme brings to the table, particularly in comparison to the NUC11 Extreme. The recent introduction of Windows 11 means that our benchmarks comparison set is currently limited – today’s preview does not deal with any systems other than the NUC12 Extreme and NUC11 Extreme.

Source: Recent News