Next-gen Intel NUC images reveal new enclosures
16 December 2014 | 0
Intel may have more than just newer Broadwell processors up its sleeve as it revamps its bare-bones NUC PCs.
Images on Intel’s web site, as discovered by Legit Reviews, show a redesigned enclosure for the miniature desktops, which include the processor and other basic components but require users to bring their own operating system, storage and RAM.
Most noticeably, the two USB 3.0 ports on the front of the enclosure come in blue and yellow, and it is likely that the yellow port will be able to send power even when the NUC is turned off. The two ports have also been bunched closer together to the headphone jack and IR sensor. Intel may have managed to slim down the enclosure on its smaller NUC models as well, with Legit Reviews claiming a height of 30mm (1.2”), down from the previous 36mm (1.4”). (These models can only contain solid state storage, while a larger 48mm (1.9”) enclosure can house an internal HDD.)
The images also fuel speculation about optional NFC and wireless charging capabilities on certain models through a replaceable lid. An earlier leaked roadmap mentioned these features as possibilities, and now Intel’s site shows an image of the lid popping off. Users could then potentially charge their phones or smartwatches by placing them on top of the NUC. The uses for NFC are less clear, but they may allow for unlocking the computer with a trusted device.
There is no word on pricing or release date, as Intel is not likely to make these new variants official until CES. The screenshots also give no indication of the touch controls that Intel showed off in September.
The reason that this matters, is that Intel is a firm believer in these mini-PCs, having sold more than 1 million units in 2013 and expecting to sell 50% more this year. In 2015, Intel may try to take even greater advantage of the table-top design, with features like wireless charging that only make sense if you’re not stashing the computer under your desk.
Jared Newman, IDG News Service