Intel NUC’s Digital Signage Sector With Impressive $300 Box

November 30, 2012 by Dave Haynes

I certainly think about Intel being front and center in the computing business, but much more being Intel Inside as opposed to the actual PC maker. But the tech giant has started marketing something called the Next Unit of Computing, or  better, the NUC.

It’s a 4 inch by 4 inch little box that’s about the size of an Apple TV, but is a full tilt PC with an i3 processor and lotsa RAM, for $300.


You can buy it today via Amazon, so it is definitely not vaporware.

The PDF that came along with an email marketing blast today says:

The Next Unit of Computing (NUC) is a tiny 4″×4″×2″ computing device with the power of the 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i3 processor. Its lower power consumption enables innovative system designs and energy-efficient applications in places like digital signage, home entertainment, and portable uses.

The important bits:

Processor Support • Intel® Core™ i3 3217U Processor (1.8GHz, Dual Core processor with 3MB smart cache)
• Supports Intel® 64 architecture

• Intel® QS77 Express Chipset

• Intel® HD Graphics 4000
• Dual HDMI Ports supporting dual independent display capability

It has ethernet, 3 USB ports and can take up to 16 GB of RAM

The nerd blog Tweaktown reviewed the little fella a week ago and rated it 90/100. The expressed goal for Intel engineers was to make the smallest full-fledged computer unit possible, and the Tweaktown people suggest Intel succeeded.

The marketing literature expressly says this is a product well-suited to the digital signage marketplace. Certainly, the form factor is great, but as expressed in the past, a 6 by 6 inch PC was not a problem so going down to 4 inches is cool but not really solving anything. The more important bit is the $300 price tag for something backed up by a giant company, and not by a second or third tier PC maker with minimal name recognition.

The claim that it can push out dual independent programming channels via HDMI is interesting, because that pushes the capital cost down even further – making it a theoretical $150 box. However, an i3 is not exactly a powerhouse, and it would quite wrong to assume this is the answer to every job, particular ones with a lot of aggressive visuals or things happening on screens.

I don’t, however, think the $300 includes an operating system.

It’s funny there hasn’t been more buzz about this from Intel.

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