Latest Intel NUC Has Kaby Lake, Awesome Light Ring

Intel’s NUC mini PCs have proven to be versatile, powerful media centers as long as you have the DIY know-how to install your own RAM and hard drive. At CES 2017 in Las Vegas, Intel showed off the latest generation of NUC with Kaby Lake, USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3, new color chassis and some refinements.

Price and Availability

The Core i3 version of the new Intel NUC will go on sale next week, while the Core i5 and i7 versions should be available by February. Intel didn’t name specific pricing, but said it hopes retailers will keep the new NUCs at the old price points.

Key Specs

Intel said there will be five SKUs in totals: two with dual-core Intel Core i3 CPUs, two with Core i5 CPUs, and one with a Core i7 CPU. The i3 and i5 CPU both come in short and tall cases, but the i7 version only comes in a tall case.

The Core i5 and i7 will feature Intel’s Iris Plus graphics, while the i3 will use Intel’s standard HD Graphics. The i3 will offer USB Type-C 3.1 with DisplayPort, but the i5 and i7 will have a Thunderbolt 3 port. The NUCs have switched from a full SD card to a microSD card slot, which an Intel rep said was used to allow more room for ventilation in the Core i7 model.

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All the NUCs have HDMI 2.0. Intel says they'll be ready to support the company’s Optane memory when the feature is released. Optane will let you use both an M.2 SSD and 2.5-inch HDD for increased speeds. As always with Intel's NUCs, you have to bring your own RAM, storage and operating system.

New Looks

Intel said it took customer feedback into account when putting together the latest NUC. This version will come in a dark gray chassis that I think will fade into an entertainment center much more nicely than the old silver one. The power button has been moved from the top to the front so that users can stack them without shutting off their PCs. Finally, Intel made the hard drive indicator light into an RGB ring around all of the ports on your front, so you can see any color you like when it accesses storage. If you want to change your color or shut the feature off, you just need to make a quick change in the BIOS.