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Intel is quitting on its adorable, powerful, and upgradable mini NUC computers


Intel’s NUC computers are super compact, upgradable, and even powerful — but now, they’re being discontinued. ServeTheHome first reported that Intel is giving up on the personal computer business and will no longer be making its cute small form factor PCs.

In an email to The Verge, Intel’s EMEA comms manager of client computing and graphics, Mark Walton, confirmed the news and issued the following statement:

We have decided to stop direct investment in the Next Unit of Compute (NUC) Business and pivot our strategy to enable our ecosystem partners to continue NUC innovation and growth. This decision will not impact the remainder of Intel’s Client Computing Group (CCG) or Network and Edge Computing (NEX) businesses. Furthermore, we are working with our partners and customers to ensure a smooth transition and fulfillment of all our current commitments – including ongoing support for NUC products currently in market. 

We asked Intel if this means the company will no longer manufacture PCs designed for consumers but have not heard back. NUC’s end comes after the company announced it will no longer sell servers, handing the business off to Taiwanese company Mitac in April.

While it made little sense for Intel to package up and sell servers that go head-to-head with bigger fish like HP and Dell, it’s sad to see the company also give up on mini-PCs. Intel’s NUC was basically the company’s gift to IT departments and enthusiasts who wanted small, quiet, and powerful drop-in computers. NUCs could be preconfigured for business-y office use cases or even come bare-bones so users could have the power to build it themselves.

Intel also made “Extreme” NUCs that could be made into gaming rigs, with models like the “Beast Canyon” NUC 11 even accommodating full-size graphics cards. Intel expanded the NUC Extreme chassis from eight liters to 13.9 — pushing the compact computer into more flexible workstation territories and supporting Nvidia’s behemoth RTX 40-series cards.

The Intel NUC 11 Extreme could accommodate a full-size RTX 3080 Ti graphics card.
Image: Sean Hollister / The Verge

The problem with Intel’s NUC computers wasn’t in its design. The problem was that Intel made these things hard to buy. You’d often have to find resellers, many that operate business-to-business, and you’d have to be ready to spend in the $1,000-plus starting range for a nearly bare-bones unit.

The NUC’s small chassis design, great performance, and ability to be customized made it look like a champion computer for tinkerers and reparability supporters alike. Intel gave NUC a well-spirited “green” purpose in that you could later upgrade the main “Element” board, which is basically the motherboard of the computer that holds the processor, I/O, and other components.

Intel had touted that the Element board is key to the NUC’s upgradability, and it could be swapped to support newer generation processors and whatever new computer tech. But with the NUC being discontinued, it looks like that likely won’t be happening.


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