With the Intel NUC 11 Extreme, also called Beast Canyon, it goes a step further in demonstrating that MiniPCs or, in this case, the Next Unit of Computing have little, very little, to envy to the desktop towers. It’s not something that surprises me, actually, back in 2013 I was lucky enough to be able to tinker a bit with a NUC DCCP847DYE and, although it obviously had some limitations (its CPU, for example, was a Celeron 847), for the time it was a demonstration and, at the same time, a statement of intent that has been maintained over the years.
The eleventh generation of Intel NUC and Intel Core chips coincided in time and, at that confluence, the Intel NUC 11 Extreme arrived, which does not seem excessive to call a real beast, because a quick review of its features tells us that, in its small size, it is able to offer the performance we expect from a high-performance gaming PC. Do you think I’m exaggerating? Well, read on, you’ll probably change your mind.
There are two versions of the Intel NUC 11 Extreme, although the only difference between the two is the processor included. At the top of the range is the NUC11BTMi9 model, which features an Intel Core i9-11900KB, an eight-core, 16-thread processor with a base frequency of 3.8 gigahertz that can reach up to 5 GHz in turbo mode, equipped with 24 megabytes of cache and a TDP of 65 watts.
The more “humble” version of the Intel NUC 11 Extreme is the NUC11BTMi7 model, inside which we’ll find an Intel Core i7-11700B processor, an encapsulation with a base frequency of 3.3 gigahertz that can be increased up to 4.9 gigahertz in turbo mode. It has eight cores that allow up to 16 threads of execution, is supported by 20 megabytes of cache memory and, like the top model, its TDP is 65 watts.
And yes, in case you’re wondering, both models of the Intel NUC 11 Extreme do indeed employ the first two chips aimed at desktop systems with the Tiger Lake architecture, as we told you a couple of months ago.
As you may already know, Intel NUC is not a complete PC, but a kit, so the user has control over what he or she can build.s components that you install on it. This does not change in the case of the Intel NUC 11 Extreme. In the graphics section allow the installation of a desktop GPU thanks to its PCIe x16 Gen 4 port. The only limitation you will find, in this regard, is the size of the same, as the chassis allows cards up to twelve inches and double slot width.
In terms of memory capacity, the Intel NUC 11 Extreme allows up to 64 GB of DDR4 RAM at 3,200 MHz in dual-channel mode, and if we talk about storage, it has no less than four M.2 slots, so the options are tremendously broad.
If we talk about what’s included, we can start by talking about its connectivity. On the wireless side, the Intel NUC 11 Extreme offers WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity. However, the real show of strength comes with its external connections, and you’ll find eight USB 3.1 Gen. 2 ports, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, an ethernet port up to 2.5 GB, an HDMI 2.0b port, SDXC card reader and a mini-jack for headphones and microphone. With its hardware, it is capable of handling up to three video outputs with 4K resolution simultaneously.
As I indicated at the beginning, these Intel NUC 11 Extreme have been specially designed for gaming, so fans of products aimed at this market segment will find, of course, LED lighting. In this regard, on the front you can find the characteristic skull that Intel usually uses to distinguish its products aimed at this market. They are expected to hit the market in the third quarter with prices starting at $1,350 for the NUC11BTMi9 and $1,150 for the NUC11BTMi7.
More information: Intel