Arms-on with Intel’s Ghost Canyon NUC and Tiger Lake Xe laptops

All of Intel’s NUC (which stands for “subsequent unit of computing”) gadgets have been comparatively small DIY kits for lovers. They ship with a CPU, however it’s as much as you to offer RAM, storage and an OS. I used to be intrigued by its extra gaming-oriented “Hades Canyon” NUC from from a number of years in the past, which featured Intel’s short-lived collaboration with AMD to convey Radeon graphics to a core CPU. However with Ghost Canyon (formally known as the NUC 9 Excessive), it is going larger to pack in much more energy. It may maintain a desktop GPU as much as Eight-inches lengthy, which implies you may plug in a NVIDIA RTX 2070 card for some severe gaming.

Whereas it’s kind of disheartening to see the NUC line get even larger, the NUC 9 Excessive continues to be a lot smaller than another tiny desktop on the market, with a quantity of 30 liters. It is also a bit extra upgradable than earlier NUC kits: Intel has developer a Compute Unit which holds the system’s CPU, which you’ll swap out for a more moderen equipment down the road. Even higher, you could possibly additionally take a Compute Unit and transfer it over to a different “Ghost Canyon” equipment from a third-party, like Razer’s Tomahawk. Intel is clearly attempting to construct a tiny desktop ecosystem, which can find yourself making the NUC 9 Excessive extra influential than any of its tiny siblings.


On the laptop computer entrance, Intel gave us a glimpse at a few of its upcoming hardware: that new H-series 10th era chip, and its next-generation Tiger Lake platform with Xe devoted graphics. I used to be in a position to play Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on an upcoming system with the H-series processor (and an unnamed third-party GPU), and the expertise felt very easy. After all, the GPU was doing the heavy lifting there, however it’s good to see that Intel’s high-performance 10th gen cellular chip truly exists. (Sadly, I could not truly take a look at it to see if it was going past 5GHz.)

Intel CES 2020

Whereas we had been impressed with Intel’s 10th gen Iris Plus built-in graphics, which made video games like Overwatch very playable on ultraportables, the corporate is making one other important leap ahead with Tiger Lake. I demoed two methods operating the brand new platform, an ultraportable and a barely chunkier mid-range laptop computer, and so they each carried out surprisingly nicely. The unbranded ultraportable, which regarded just like the overwhelming majority of skinny and light-weight methods we see at present, was in a position to run MechWarrior 5 in 1080p with low graphics settings. It wasn’t precisely silky easy, however it typically felt round 30 FPS, which was playable sufficient for such a tiny system.


The mid-range Tiger Lake machine, in the meantime, managed to run decently Future 2 in 1080p. The sport felt a bit sluggish, and there was a little bit of a delay between mouse actions and capturing, however the machine dealt with life like shadows surprisingly nicely. Once more, it did not really feel like a gaming machine, however it was playable sufficient for a mainstream laptop computer. On the very least, Intel’s Xe graphics places it in a greater spot to compete with AMD, which is planning a much bigger push for Radeon cellular graphics this yr.

Intel hasn’t given us many particulars about these upcoming merchandise, however we count on to listen to extra quickly. You will most likely should pay a reasonably penny for the NUC 9 Excessive — one Intel rep mentioned the high-end Core i9 equipment would possibly promote for round $2,700. As for the brand new laptop computer tech, you will probably see the H-series 10th gen chip earlier than Tiger Lake.