As one might expect, Intel is working on a new generation of its NUC small-form-factor systems based on the company’s upcoming Kaby Lake and Apollo Lake microprocessors. The writers over at FanlessTech have published what appears to be an exclusive of a set of Intel slides regarding the next generation of NUCs, and we are in the process of double verifying the details. Until then, here's our analysis of the news.

The new systems are expected to hit the market in late 2016 and early 2017 and bring a number of new technologies, which are absent from today’s SFF PCs. In particular, the new systems will support Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 (10 Gbps), HDMI 2.0 and the new processors.

The upcoming Intel NUC systems are code-named Baby Canyon and Arches Canyon, according to the slides published by FanlessTech. The Baby Canyon PCs will be powered by Intel’s upcoming Kaby Lake-U SoCs, whereas the Arches Canyon will feature the company’s Apollo Lake chips. The new systems will complement and then eventually replace current-gen NUCs running Broadwell, Braswell and Skylake processors. Meanwhile, Intel’s top-of-the-range code-named Skull Canyon NUCfeaturing the high-end Core i7-6700HQ processor (quad-core with Hyper-Threading, 6 MB LLC, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580 with 72 EUs and eDRAM, etc.) will not be replaced at least until late 2017.

Baby Canyon with Kaby Lake-U SoCs

Intel’s Baby Canyon NUCs will be the positioned as Intel’s mainstream SFF PCs for users, who would like to have Core-based CPUs powered by the company’s high-performance microarchitecture (Kaby Lake in this case). Thanks to microarchitectural enhancements, the new systems promise to be faster than existing mainstream NUCs, but at this point we have no idea what to expect from Kaby Lake in general, except natural enhancements of iGPU as well as improvements to media playback capabilities.

All of the Baby Canyon PCs will support up to 32 GB of DDR4-2133 memory, HDMI 2.0, an M.2-2280 socket for PCIe 3.0 x4 SSDs, a MicroSDXC card-reader as well as a soldered-down Intel Wireless-AC 8265 controller. The Core i7 and i5 Baby Canyon systems will also come equipped with a Thunderbolt 3 controller, which will automatically bring support for USB 3.1 running at up to 10 Gbps, whereas NUCs featuring Core i3 CPUs will continue to rely on USB 3.1 Gen 1 implementation with 5 Gbps transfer-rate. Given all the hubbub surrounding Type-C audio, Intel decided to keep the good-old 3.5 mm audio jack but did not implement support for USB-C Audio into the Baby Canyon, at least, according to the published slides.

Intel Baby Canyon NUC PCs
CPU Core i7-7000U
Two Cores
28 W TDP
Core i5-7000U
Two Cores
15 W TDP
Core i3-7000U
Two Cores
15 W TDP
Graphics Iris Graphics HD Graphics
PCH Intel's next-generation PCH located in CPU package
Memory Two SO-DIMM slots, up to 32 GB of DDR4-2133
2.5" bay One 2.5"/9.5 mm bay, SATA3 None 1 x SATA3 None
M.2 Slot Up to M.2-2280 SSD with SATA3 or PCIe 3.0 x4 interface
Wi-Fi/BT Soldered-down Intel Wireless-AC 8265 (802.11ac 2x2 + BT 4.2) with WiDi support
Ethernet Intel I219V Gigabit Ethernet controller
Display Outputs DisplayPort 1.2 via USB-C connector
HDMI 2.0
Audio 3.5 mm TRRS audio jack
7.1 channel audio output via HDMI or DP
Thunderbolt One Thunderbolt 3 (40 Gbps) None
USB-C 1 x USB 3.1 (10 Gbps) 1 x USB 3.0 (5 Gbps)
USB 4 USB 3.0 Type-A (5 Gbps), one with charging
Other I/O MicroSDXC card reader with UHS-I support
One infrared receiver
Size (mm) 115 × 111 × 51 115 × 111 × 31 115 × 111 × 51 115 × 111 × 31
PSU External, 65 W
OS Compatible with Windows 7/8.1/10

The Baby Canyon family of NUCs is projected to arrive in early 2017, around the same time we expect Intel to start discussing its Kaby Lake-U processors with HDMI 2.0 support. Keep in mind that Intel has not announced Kaby Lake chips officially, hence, all the plans are subject change.

Arches Canyon NUCs with Apollo Lake SoCs

The Arches Canyon NUCs will be Intel’s new entry-level SFF systems running Apollo Lake SoCs branded as Celeron J-series processors. The chips will feature all new Goldmont x86 microarchitecture, Intel’s ninth-generation graphics architecture (Gen9) as well as improved media playback (due to hardware-accelerated playback of 4K video encoded using HEVC and VP9 codecs). Since the new SoCs are rated for 10 W TDP, it is logical to expect higher clock speeds than previous Atom-based NUCs, even though at this point this is a speculation.

Intel reportedly plans to offer two versions of its Arches Canyon NUCs: the NUC6CAYS with 2 GB of DDR3L-1866 memory, 32 GB eMMC storage and pre-installed Windows 10 Home x64 OS; as well as the NUC6CAYH, which will come as a barebone PC. Both systems will still support up to 8 GB of DDR3L memory, one 2.5”/9.5 mm SSD/HDD, a 1x1 wireless module supporting IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2, an HDMI 2.0 display output, USB Type-A ports, an SDXC card reader and so on. Intel decided to place a D-Sub connector on the back to enable connectivity with cheap displays.

Intel Arches Canyon NUC PCs
CPU Intel Celeron J-series
Four Cores
10 W TDP
Graphics HD Graphics
PCH Integrated into CPU
Memory 2 GB DDR3L-1866 pre-installed
Two SO-DIMM slots,
up to 8 GB of DDR3L-1866
Two SO-DIMM slots,
up to 8 GB of DDR3L-1866
On-Board Storage 32 GB eMMC None
2.5" bay One 2.5"/9.5 mm bay, SATA3
M.2 Slot None
Wi-Fi/BT Intel Wireless-AC 316x (802.11ac 1x1 + BT 4.2) M.2-2230 card with WiDi support
Ethernet Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller
Display Outputs D-Sub
HDMI 2.0
Audio 3.5 mm TRRS audio jack
7.1 channel audio output via HDMI
Thunderbolt None
USB 4 USB 3.0 Type-A (5 Gbps), one with charging
Other I/O SDXC card reader with UHS-I support
Dimensions 115 × 111 × 51 mm
PSU External, 65 W
OS Pre-installed Microsoft Windows 10 Home x64 with Intel Remote Keyboard Compatible with Windows 7/8.1/10

Based on the documents published by FanlessTech, the fully-populated NUC6CAYS will hit the market ahead of the barebone NUC6CAYH sometimes in the fourth quarter of this year.

Please keep in mind that all the information regarding Intel’s new generations of NUCs is completely unofficial and many details may change by the time the systems hit the market. Intel responded to requests for confirmation and responded with 'Intel does not comment on unreleased products', which is the expected response. As mentioned at the top of this news, we are in the process of double verifying the information in the slides, but for anyone who follows Intel's NUC lines, these hardware specifications are not far fetched at all and make sense for the markets they are entering. 

Source: FanlessTech

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  • Samus - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    I thought Intel was ditching all this Atom stuff? They axed the whole smartphone plan...
  • vladx - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    They only axed Atom-based tablets and smartphones, doesn't mean can't be used for other devices...
  • zeo - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    ATOMs weren't only for smartphones... So they're only dropping that segment of it but 2 in 1's and budget PC range is still going... Though, only the mobile SoCs were still branded as ATOMs. The Apollo Lake will be rebranded as Celeron/Pentium...
  • Kjella - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    Kaby Lake and Win7 support, weren't they dropping that? Not that I'm complaining...
  • vladx - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    Any future x86 CPU will work on Win7/8.1 you just won't get benefit of new instructions like AVX 512 and the like.
  • RaichuPls - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    So instead of useful stuff (smartphone reviews, GPU reviews), you guys are now posting rumors.
  • close - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    Then again, reader quality has also gone down more than a few notches lately and you're the perfect example of that. Gone are the interesting discussions about the article at hand, different point of views and real world experience that sometimes were more interesting than the article itself.
    Here *you* are (and a bunch of other brats) always whining Anandtech didn't review the product you want to buy and thinking you're the guys who can define what's *useful*.

    Let me give you a hand since you look like you're way more into whining than actually doing anything:
  • RaichuPls - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    Your links are outdated. Galaxy S7 review is out (after 3 months), and what I want is a GTX 1080/1070 review FROM Anandtech.

    Also HTC 10
  • close - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    Well what I want is for brats on the internet to know that a link to a Google search cannot be "outdated" because it's just a search. Get it? It's a search that shows you plenty of reviews already out in case reviews are what you're after. But you're not after reviews, you're just here to whine because that's what you were taught to do.

    This is a news article. If you bothered to read the site you'd have known that Anton Shilov posts news articles, not reviews. You'd know the difference between a press release and a "rumor". But you don't. You're just here to whine for the sake of whining.

    So you see, we don't always get what we want ;). How about you start whining about this, add some variety to your otherwise stale and repetitive whines...
  • close - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    So the links that GOOGLE gives you (they are not my links, I linked to 2 SEARCHES, not to any one site or review) are outdated? I take it GTX 1080/1070 have evolved so much in the past weeks that a 2-6 week old review is OUTDATED? Or maybe the Galaxy S7 has changed so much in the past months. So 2 weeks or so from now you'll be back complaining that the S7 review is outdated, right?

    Are you looking to buy a Galaxy S7? The HTC 10? A GTX1070 or 1080? Click on the links above and you'll find dozens of reviews that tell you what you need to know.

    But we both know you're not looking to buy any of these. You're just a "professional" complainer. A brat that doesn't actually NEED anything, you just find something and complain about it.

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