Intel tasked its engineers with building the absolute smallest fully featured compute unit possible. The result is something Intel markets as the Next Unit of Computing. This isn't a standard form factor (yet), but it's fully featured. The 4" x 4" motherboard features an integrated Core i3 with 7-series chipset, mini-PCIe slot, mSATA slot, two SO-DIMM slots and three USB ports. Power is supplied by an external AC/DC adapter, but there's also a small 2-pin header for an optional internal power supply. There's also an ethernet jack and two HDMI outputs.

Since the NUC isn't yet a standard form factor, Intel had to work with a chassis vendor in putting together a reference platform. The result is this:

Later this year you'll be able to buy this chassis, power supply and Core i3 equipped motherboard for around $399. That price won't include an OS but it will include a smallish mSATA SSD. 

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  • samthefish - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    I work with embedded atom boards much smaller than this, so not sure where the "smallest possible" comes from. I have an atom z530 board complete with case about the size of a deck of cards.
  • Jammrock - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    A full blown Core processor and 7-series chipset is going to need a lot more circuitry than an Atom processor. More features, larger data bus, higher power dissipation, larger SMC's, two SoDIMMs slots, two mini-PCIe slots... it's an apples to oranges comparison.
  • wpcoe - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    No mention of WiFi. For such a small HTPC device, less cables/wires would be better, although I guess LAN cable wouldn't be *so* bad, especially a flat CAT6 wire.

    Presumably the Core i3 chip would be one with HD4000, similar to i3-3225? Further to WiFi, WiDi would be a nice touch. Then you could have a HTPC device with no wires except the power cord.
  • Metaluna - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    There's a mini-PCIe slot, which should take care of any WiFi needs. In fact, good luck finding anything *but* wireless cards in that form factor (though I think there are a few oddball embedded SSDs that use mPCIe).
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    I'd like to set the memory slots facing the other direction so that it would be possible to higher SO-DIMM's in a larger chassis (ie they can hang off the motherboard.

    Ditto for the mini-PCI-E slot.

    Otherwise very neat board. Even has a version with Thunderbolt.
  • profeteer - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    It's pretty cool and small, but I got my mac mini for 599 and it's a spectacular HTPC without needed anything more and an i5, so i'd say this is a bit overpriced.
  • EnzoFX - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    I can only hope. About time the Mac mini's had some real competition =P. Not sure if $399 is too high for all that you do get. It's the full system so maybe it is a good deal.
  • fteoath64 - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    The OEMs will package this system to sell at their target price. Intel has no idea what a good market price is. Since when did they have a finished product to sell ?.

    At $399, it ought to have twin antenna wifi, 60GB SSD and possibly 8 GB RAM. And no USB3 ports ???.
  • Visual - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    As long as it is an i3 with HD4000 and not HD2500, I like it. Otherwise, it has no chance.
  • toyotabedzrock - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    They should have included a wireless chip.

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