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Intel updates the NUC mini-PC; smaller, faster, with Thunderbolt

Intel has a keynote later tonight, but the company has announced a few things before the main event begins.

The NUC mini-PCs are tiny little ‘desktops’ that cram in the best of Intel’s engineering into a small box; today, the company has announced a refresh for the NUC.

The NUC now comes in two sizes: tall, and short. Intel today announced three new tall models and two short ones. The tall models come with enough space to fit in a 2.5-inch SATA drive and come with the recently-announced 7th generation i3, i5, or i7 processors. The short ones come with i3 or i5.

The tall ones are, therefore, more powerful than the short ones – more space for heat dissipation means Intel can fit its higher-end processors into the tiny box.

The Specs

There are two models with an i3 processor – one tall, one short; two models with an i5 processor – one tall, one short; and one model with an i7 processor that’s the tall one.

These models share much in common; all of them come with Thunderbolt 3, for example – combine that with Lenovo’s docks, you can power a very capable desktop setup with this tiny box. There are, however, a few differences as well.

As mentioned, the tall models supports 2.5-inch SATA drives, while the short doesn’t; furthermore, the tall models also support Intel’s new Optane SSDs, while the short one don’t.

The rest is quite the same; there are four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 2.0 with support for 4K video, an Ethernet jack, a microSD slot, and of course, the Thunderbolt 3-capable USB-C port.

The RAM, by the way, is DDR4, but Intel hasn’t specified the capacities yet.

Pricing & Availability

Intel hasn’t revealed the pricing just yet, nor has it given us a release date – perhaps that’s all reserved for tonight’s keynote – but the prices are expected to be around the same as the older NUC devices.

That would put the i3 models around $300, the i5 models around $400, and the i7 model around $500; more details will hopefully emerge soon enough.

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