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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Intel Skull Canyon NUC finally revealed [UPDATED]

Intel "Skull Canyon" NUC6i7KYK
Dimensions: 211mm x 116mm x 28mm (LxWxH)

Barebones (No OS, No RAM, No storage): $650 USD

Availability: Beginning May 2016

Core i7-6770HQ: 4-core, 2.6GHz base, 3.5Ghz max , 6MB L3, 45W sTDP
Iris Pro 580 with 128MB eDRAM "level 4 cache" and 72 EUs
Intel H170 PCH
2x SODIMM DDR4 slots (supports up to 2x16GB 3200Mhz)
Thunderbolt 3 40Gbps port (supports USB3.1 gen2 10Gbps)
HDMI v2.0 full-size port (supports up to UHDp60)
miniDP v1.2 port (also supports up to UHDp60)
4x USB3.0 ports (orange one supports charging)
Combo Headphone/Mic jack
SDXC UHS-I card slot (104MB/s max)
1x Intel I219-LM GbE LAN
IR sensor
2x M.2 Type-M 2242/2280 (SATA3 / PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe / AHCI SSDs)
The two SSDs can be treated as JBOD / RAID0 / RAID1
Max bandwith using M.2 SATA SSDs: 540 MB/s
Max bandwith using M.2 NVMe PCIe x4 SSDs: 4000 MB/s
Intel 8260ac WiFi 2x2 + BT4.2 soldered onboard
Supports Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) v6.0
User-replaceable 3rd party lids
19V 120W AC-DC adapter (included)

Some obvious short-comings:
- The SD card slot only supports UHS-I speeds (up to 104MB/s), as there are no contacts for the 2nd row pins required for UHS-II cards. Also, 128GB is the max supported capacity.

- The 8260 802.11ac WiFi supports only 2x2, and limited to a theoretical 867Mbps. Would have been nice if Intel introduced a 3x3 solution, like ones available from Broadcom.

- No external WiFi antennas. The internal wires probably limit the wireless range.

- The i7-6770HQ CPU is a bit of a let-down. I was hoping to see the i7-6870HQ, which is also rated at 45W sTDP.

- The CPU doesn't support Intel vPro, which is important for IT staff in a business environment, to control the machine remotely.

- Important: Intel RST RAID is only supported if M.2 SATA SSD modules are used.
RAID is NOT available when using M.2 PCIe SSD modules.

- A laptop with similar specs would be a wiser purchase.

- There's also the competition from other OEMs, such as the HP EliteDesk 800 35W G2 Mini, the Dell OptiPlex 7040 Micro and the Lenovo M900 Tiny. All three feature a Core i7-6700T option, which is rated 35W sTDP, and all three feature an M.2 slot and a SATA3 2.5" bay for an additional SSD drive.


I wonder if Intel would release a NUC6i7KYH which adds a little height for an additional drive or two...