Intel’s Tiger Lake NUC11: Panther Canyon for Asia Alone

The electronics industry supply chain is facing a number of issues due to the ongoing pandemic. Companies are unable to meet product demand, and are being forced to fine-tune their product distribution strategies. Intel’s Panther Canyon NUC was announced at CES 2021, with no official pricing or availability information. Yesterday, Intel provided some updates with the rather disappointing news that the Panther Canyon NUC family will only be distributed in the Asia-Pacific region.

The other markets will still get a wide range of Tiger Lake-based NUC products such as the NUC11 Pro (Tiger Canyon), Compute Element (Elk Bay), and the dGPU-equipped NUC11 Enthusiast (Phantom Canyon). Intel is citing tight supply of a few third-party components as the cause for the APAC-only focus of Panther Canyon. We expected the NUC11 Performance units to provide an affordable entry point for Tiger Lake mini-PCs. The other Tiger Lake NUC products are bound to be priced higher, given their target markets.

The APAC-only focus of the Panther Canyon products provides an opportunity for vendors such as ASRock Industrial to gain market share elsewhere. The company already has the NUC1100 series of Tiger Lake UCFF PCs available for purchase in the North American market with prices ranging from $600 for the top-end Core i7 version to $350 for the Core i3 one.

The electronics industry supply chain is facing a number of issues due to the ongoing pandemic. Companies are unable to meet product demand, and are being forced to fine-tune their product distribution strategies. Intel's Panther Canyon NUC was announced at CES 2021, with no official pricing or availability information. Yesterday, Intel provided some updates with the rather disappointing news that the Panther Canyon NUC family will only be distributed in the Asia-Pacific region.

The other markets will still get a wide range of Tiger Lake-based NUC products such as the NUC11 Pro (Tiger Canyon), Compute Element (Elk Bay), and the dGPU-equipped NUC11 Enthusiast (Phantom Canyon). Intel is citing tight supply of a few third-party components as the cause for the APAC-only focus of Panther Canyon. We expected the NUC11 Performance units to provide an affordable entry point for Tiger Lake mini-PCs. The other Tiger Lake NUC products are bound to be priced higher, given their target markets.

The APAC-only focus of the Panther Canyon products provides an opportunity for vendors such as ASRock Industrial to gain market share elsewhere. The company already has the NUC1100 series of Tiger Lake UCFF PCs available for purchase in the North American market with prices ranging from $600 for the top-end Core i7 version to $350 for the Core i3 one.

Intel Announces Phantom Canyon: Tiger Lake and Turing Tango in 3rd Gen Enthusiast NUC

As part of its CES 2021 announcements, Intel officially unveiled a number of NUCs based on their Tiger Lake SoCs. The NUC11 Performance lineup was covered earlier. This piece looks at another exciting NUC11 offering in the enthusiast category. As a refresher, Intel created the NUC Enthusiast category back in 2016 with the introduction of the Skull Canyon NUC (NUC6i7KYK). With a 4″ x 5″ motherboard, it had a slightly larger footprint compared to the traditional NUCs. However, the increased size allowed the incorporation of a 45W TDP processor with increased graphics flex. The second generation Hades Canyon moved to a slightly larger board (5.5″ x 8″), while retaining the industrial design of the Skull Canyon NUC. It used the Kaby Lake-G processors with a Kaby Lake processor and an AMD GPU packaged together (with a total TDP budget between 65W and 100W). For the 3rd generation, Intel has adopted the same board form-factor, but gone in with the traditional way of adding a discrete GPU to a SFF system. The NUC11 Enthusiast (codenamed Phantom Canyon) takes the Tiger Lake-U Core i7-1165G7 and adds a NVIDIA RTX 2060 (based on the Turing architecture) to create a compact system suitable for gaming, streaming, and content creation.

The Phantom Canyon NUC has only two SKUs – the NUC11PHKi7C is the barebones version, while the NUC11PHKi7CAA comes with 2x 8GB DDR4-3200 SODIMMs and an Intel Optane Memory H10 (32GB + 512GB) NVMe drive. The latter also comes with Windows 10 Home pre-installed.

The NUC11 Enthusiast sports a rich set of I/Os. There are two Thunderbolt 4 ports (one in the front and one in the rear) that also carry the display output from the Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 in the TGL-U processor. Two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports and a SDXC UHS-II slot, along with an audio jack and a quad-microphone array round out the front panel. On the rear, we have an audio output jack (supporting TOSLINK), a single 2.5 Gbps LAN port, four USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, and the display outputs (HDMI 2.0b and mini-DP 1.4a) from the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060.

The table below compares the specifications of the flagships in the three generations of enthusiast NUCs. Note that the Skull Canyon and Phantom Canyon NUCs have only one barebones version. Only the Hades Canyon had two different versions – one with the 65W TDP Core i7-8705G, and another with the 100W TDP Core i7-8809G. Another aspect that is not mentioned here is that the Phantom Canyon NUC come with support for vertical orientation (unlike the Hades Canyon NUCs) as shown in the lead image

Intel Enthusiast NUCs
Model Phantom Canyon
(NUC11PHKi7C)
Hades Canyon
(NUC8i7HVK)
Skull Canyon
(NUC6i7KYK)
CPU Intel Core i7-1165G7
Tiger Lake-U, 4C/8T
2.8 – 4.7 GHz
28W TDP
Intel Core i7-8809G
Kaby Lake, 4C/8T
3.1 – 4.2 GHz
100W Package TDP
Intel Core i7-6770HQ
Skylake, 4C/8T
2.6 – 3.5 GHz
45W TDP
GPU NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6 (N18E-G1-B Notebook Class 115W) @ 1.285 GHz (Discrete)
Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (96EU) @ 1.3 GHz (Integrated / On-Die)
Radeon RX Vega M GH 4GB HBM2 @ 1.19 GHz (Discrete / On-Package)
Intel® HD Graphics 630 @ 1.1 GHz (Integrated / On-Die)
Intel® Iris Pro Graphics 580 @ 1.05 GHz (Integrated / On-Die)
128MB eDRAM
Memory 2x DDR4-3200 SODIMMs
1.2V, 64GB max.
2x DDR4-2400+ SODIMMs
1.2V, 32GB max.
2x DDR4-2133 SODIMMs
1.2V, 32GB max.
Motherboard 5.5″ x 8″ UCFF 4″ x 5″ UCFF
Storage 1x M.2 22×80/110 (key M) PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe/AHCI SSD
1x M.2 2280 (key M) SATA3 or PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe/AHCI SSD
2x M.2 22×42/80 (key M) SATA3 or PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe/AHCI SSD
I/O Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4 Fast-Charging (front + rear)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (front)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A Fast-Charging (front)
4x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (rear)
1x SDXC UHS-II Card Slot (front)
CIR (front)
1x SATA III Power + Data Internal Header
2x USB 2.0 Internal Header
2x Thunderbolt 3 (rear)
4x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (rear)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (front)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (front)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A Fast-Charging (front)
1x SDXC UHS-I Card Slot (front)
CIR (front)
1x SATA III Power + Data Internal Header
2x USB 2.0 Internal Header
1x Thunderbolt 3 (rear)
2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (rear)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (front)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A Fast-Charging (front)
1x SDXC UHS-I Card Slot (front)
CIR (front)
1x SATA III Power + Data Internal Header
2x USB 2.0 Internal Header
Networking Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
(2×2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1 module)
1 × 2.5 GbE port (Intel I225-LM)
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
(2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2 module)
2 × GbE ports (Intel I219-LM + Intel I210-AT)
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
(2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2 module)
1 × GbE ports (Intel I219-LM)
Display Outputs 2x DP 1.4a (via Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports, iGPU Display Pipe)
1x mini-DP 1.4a (rear, dGPU, up to 8Kp60, MST)
1x HDMI 2.0b (rear, dGPU, up to 4Kp60)
1x HDMI 2.0a (front, dGPU)
1x HDMI 2.0a (rear, dGPU)
2x mini-DP 1.3 (rear, dGPU)
2x DP 1.3 (via Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports, dGPU)
1x mini-DP 1.2 (rear, iGPU)
1x HDMI 2.0a (rear, iGPU)
1x DP 1.3 (via Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports, iGPU)
Audio 7.1 digital (over HDMI and DisplayPort)
L+R+mic (front)
L+R+TOSLINK (rear)
Audio Codec Realtek ALC700 Realtek ALC233
Enclosure Metal and plastic
Kensington lock with base security
Power Supply 230W (19V @ 12.1A) Adapter 120W (19V @ 6.32A) Adapter
Dimensions 221mm x 142mm x 42mm / 1.3L 221mm x 142mm x 39mm / 1.2L 216mm x 116mm x 23mm / 0.69L
Miscellaneous Features Replaceable lid with customizable RGB LED illumination
Status LEDs in front panel
Quad beam-forming microphone array
VESA mounting plate
3-year warranty
Replaceable lid
Status LEDs in front panel
VESA mounting plate
3-year warranty

The block diagram below (sourced from Intel’s technical product specifications [PDF]) gives some insights into the design of the system in relation to the I/O capabilities.

The dGPU is surprisingly connected to the Gen4 x4 PCIe lanes (usually meant for M.2 NVMe storage). Intel indicated that this greatly reduces CPU-GPU communication latency, making it independent of other devices in the system. Other than that, we see the Realtek RTS5249S PCIe to SDXC bridge chip backing up the SDXC UHS-II slot, amd a couple of VIA Technologies VL822 USB 3.2 Gen 2 hub chips enabling the set of USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports in the system.

Overall, the Phantom Canyon NUC seems like a good step up from Hades Canyon despite the loss of the second wired LAN port. Most importantly, this should just be like a regular gaming notebook from a drivers support perspective. One of the problems with the Hades Canyon NUC was the drivers situation, with Intel and AMD attempting to pass the buck to each other while customers were left with GPU drivers that became flaky after Windows updates. The Phantom Canyon NUC should hopefully always work with the NVIDIA WHQL drivers for Turing GPUs.

SimplyNUC has a 128GB NVMe SSD + 16GB DDR4 SODIMM version priced at $1349. Pre-orders are being accepted for shipment in March. Another re-seller listing has the barebones version for $1130. The latter pricing seems more in line with what one should expect to pay for the internals of a gaming notebook in a SFF PC form-factor. Intel has not provided official pricing or availability information yet.

As part of its CES 2021 announcements, Intel officially unveiled a number of NUCs based on their Tiger Lake SoCs. The NUC11 Performance lineup was covered earlier. This piece looks at another exciting NUC11 offering in the enthusiast category. As a refresher, Intel created the NUC Enthusiast category back in 2016 with the introduction of the Skull Canyon NUC (NUC6i7KYK). With a 4" x 5" motherboard, it had a slightly larger footprint compared to the traditional NUCs. However, the increased size allowed the incorporation of a 45W TDP processor with increased graphics flex. The second generation Hades Canyon moved to a slightly larger board (5.5" x 8"), while retaining the industrial design of the Skull Canyon NUC. It used the Kaby Lake-G processors with a Kaby Lake processor and an AMD GPU packaged together (with a total TDP budget between 65W and 100W). For the 3rd generation, Intel has adopted the same board form-factor, but gone in with the traditional way of adding a discrete GPU to a SFF system. The NUC11 Enthusiast (codenamed Phantom Canyon) takes the Tiger Lake-U Core i7-1165G7 and adds a NVIDIA RTX 2060 (based on the Turing architecture) to create a compact system suitable for gaming, streaming, and content creation.

The Phantom Canyon NUC has only two SKUs - the NUC11PHKi7C is the barebones version, while the NUC11PHKi7CAA comes with 2x 8GB DDR4-3200 SODIMMs and an Intel Optane Memory H10 (32GB + 512GB) NVMe drive. The latter also comes with Windows 10 Home pre-installed.

The NUC11 Enthusiast sports a rich set of I/Os. There are two Thunderbolt 4 ports (one in the front and one in the rear) that also carry the display output from the Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 in the TGL-U processor. Two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports and a SDXC UHS-II slot, along with an audio jack and a quad-microphone array round out the front panel. On the rear, we have an audio output jack (supporting TOSLINK), a single 2.5 Gbps LAN port, four USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, and the display outputs (HDMI 2.0b and mini-DP 1.4a) from the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060.

The table below compares the specifications of the flagships in the three generations of enthusiast NUCs. Note that the Skull Canyon and Phantom Canyon NUCs have only one barebones version. Only the Hades Canyon had two different versions - one with the 65W TDP Core i7-8705G, and another with the 100W TDP Core i7-8809G. Another aspect that is not mentioned here is that the Phantom Canyon NUC come with support for vertical orientation (unlike the Hades Canyon NUCs) as shown in the lead image

Intel Enthusiast NUCs
Model Phantom Canyon
(NUC11PHKi7C)
Hades Canyon
(NUC8i7HVK)
Skull Canyon
(NUC6i7KYK)
CPU Intel Core i7-1165G7
Tiger Lake-U, 4C/8T
2.8 - 4.7 GHz
28W TDP
Intel Core i7-8809G
Kaby Lake, 4C/8T
3.1 - 4.2 GHz
100W Package TDP
Intel Core i7-6770HQ
Skylake, 4C/8T
2.6 - 3.5 GHz
45W TDP
GPU NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6 (N18E-G1-B Notebook Class 115W) @ 1.285 GHz (Discrete)
Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (96EU) @ 1.3 GHz (Integrated / On-Die)
Radeon RX Vega M GH 4GB HBM2 @ 1.19 GHz (Discrete / On-Package)
Intel® HD Graphics 630 @ 1.1 GHz (Integrated / On-Die)
Intel® Iris Pro Graphics 580 @ 1.05 GHz (Integrated / On-Die)
128MB eDRAM
Memory 2x DDR4-3200 SODIMMs
1.2V, 64GB max.
2x DDR4-2400+ SODIMMs
1.2V, 32GB max.
2x DDR4-2133 SODIMMs
1.2V, 32GB max.
Motherboard 5.5" x 8" UCFF 4" x 5" UCFF
Storage 1x M.2 22x80/110 (key M) PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe/AHCI SSD
1x M.2 2280 (key M) SATA3 or PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe/AHCI SSD
2x M.2 22x42/80 (key M) SATA3 or PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe/AHCI SSD
I/O Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4 Fast-Charging (front + rear)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (front)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A Fast-Charging (front)
4x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (rear)
1x SDXC UHS-II Card Slot (front)
CIR (front)
1x SATA III Power + Data Internal Header
2x USB 2.0 Internal Header
2x Thunderbolt 3 (rear)
4x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (rear)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (front)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (front)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A Fast-Charging (front)
1x SDXC UHS-I Card Slot (front)
CIR (front)
1x SATA III Power + Data Internal Header
2x USB 2.0 Internal Header
1x Thunderbolt 3 (rear)
2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (rear)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (front)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A Fast-Charging (front)
1x SDXC UHS-I Card Slot (front)
CIR (front)
1x SATA III Power + Data Internal Header
2x USB 2.0 Internal Header
Networking Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
(2x2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1 module)
1 × 2.5 GbE port (Intel I225-LM)
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
(2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2 module)
2 × GbE ports (Intel I219-LM + Intel I210-AT)
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
(2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2 module)
1 × GbE ports (Intel I219-LM)
Display Outputs 2x DP 1.4a (via Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports, iGPU Display Pipe)
1x mini-DP 1.4a (rear, dGPU, up to 8Kp60, MST)
1x HDMI 2.0b (rear, dGPU, up to 4Kp60)
1x HDMI 2.0a (front, dGPU)
1x HDMI 2.0a (rear, dGPU)
2x mini-DP 1.3 (rear, dGPU)
2x DP 1.3 (via Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports, dGPU)
1x mini-DP 1.2 (rear, iGPU)
1x HDMI 2.0a (rear, iGPU)
1x DP 1.3 (via Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports, iGPU)
Audio 7.1 digital (over HDMI and DisplayPort)
L+R+mic (front)
L+R+TOSLINK (rear)
Audio Codec Realtek ALC700 Realtek ALC233
Enclosure Metal and plastic
Kensington lock with base security
Power Supply 230W (19V @ 12.1A) Adapter 120W (19V @ 6.32A) Adapter
Dimensions 221mm x 142mm x 42mm / 1.3L 221mm x 142mm x 39mm / 1.2L 216mm x 116mm x 23mm / 0.69L
Miscellaneous Features Replaceable lid with customizable RGB LED illumination
Status LEDs in front panel
Quad beam-forming microphone array
VESA mounting plate
3-year warranty
Replaceable lid
Status LEDs in front panel
VESA mounting plate
3-year warranty

The block diagram below (sourced from Intel's technical product specifications [PDF]) gives some insights into the design of the system in relation to the I/O capabilities.

The dGPU is surprisingly connected to the Gen4 x4 PCIe lanes (usually meant for M.2 NVMe storage). Intel indicated that this greatly reduces CPU-GPU communication latency, making it independent of other devices in the system. Other than that, we see the Realtek RTS5249S PCIe to SDXC bridge chip backing up the SDXC UHS-II slot, amd a couple of VIA Technologies VL822 USB 3.2 Gen 2 hub chips enabling the set of USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports in the system.

Overall, the Phantom Canyon NUC seems like a good step up from Hades Canyon despite the loss of the second wired LAN port. Most importantly, this should just be like a regular gaming notebook from a drivers support perspective. One of the problems with the Hades Canyon NUC was the drivers situation, with Intel and AMD attempting to pass the buck to each other while customers were left with GPU drivers that became flaky after Windows updates. The Phantom Canyon NUC should hopefully always work with the NVIDIA WHQL drivers for Turing GPUs.

SimplyNUC has a 128GB NVMe SSD + 16GB DDR4 SODIMM version priced at $1349. Pre-orders are being accepted for shipment in March. Another re-seller listing has the barebones version for $1130. The latter pricing seems more in line with what one should expect to pay for the internals of a gaming notebook in a SFF PC form-factor. Intel has not provided official pricing or availability information yet.

Intel Unveils Panther Canyon NUC11 Family: Tiger Lake Comes to NUCs

As part of its CES 2021 announcements, Intel officially unveiled a number of NUCs based on their Tiger Lake SoCs. Intel’s initial NUCs were all based on 100mm x 100mm (4in x 4in) boards, kickstarting the UCFF craze that contributed to revitalizing the PC market. Over the last few years, we have seen Intel expand the NUC to encompass multiple other form-factors, while keeping compactness in mind:

  • Performance: The original 4×4 UCFF units
  • Pro: 4×4 UCFF units with expansion support and vPro capabilities
  • Compute Elements: Add-in Card form factor with carrier boards for system design
  • Extreme: Compute Elements using a 45W TDP processor with a base board hosting up to three PCIe expansion slots (inclusive of a M.2 22110 NVMe slot) and a 5L chassis enabling compact gaming and workstation PCs
  • Rugged: NUCs designed for operation in industrial and factory-floor type environments, sporting processors based on the Atom microarchitecture
  • Essential: 4×4 NUCs sporting processors based on the Atom microarchitecture
  • Laptop Kit: Reference design / whitebook models for OEMs to bring notebooks to market faster
  • Enthusiast: Compact PCs with a 5.5in. x 8in. motherboard sporting a discrete GPU (either soldered or in-package)

The Panther Canyon NUCs are the Tiger Lake-based “Performance-class” units, with eleven different SKUs based on three different boards.

All the models operate the Tiger Lake processors (Core i7-1165G7, Core i5-1135G7, or the Core i3-1115G4) with a TDP of 28W. The K and H kits are the usual ones we have seen in previous generations – the latter has support for the installation of a 2.5″ drive. Panther Canyon also has a Q SKU that adds a wireless charging lid (up to 15W) on top of the H chassis. The specifications are summarized in the table below.

Intel Panther Canyon NUC (Tiger Lake-U) Lineup
Model NUC11PA{K/H/Q}i3 NUC11PA{K/H/Q}i5 NUC11PA{K/H/Q}i7
CPU Intel Core i3-1115G4
2C/4T
1.7 – 4.1 GHz (3.0 GHz)
12 – 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i5-1135G7
4C/8T
0.9 – 4.2 GHz (2.4 GHz)
12 – 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i7-1165G7
4C/8T
1.2 – 4.7 GHz (2.8 GHz)
12 – 28 W (28W)
GPU Intel® UHD Graphics for 11th Gen Intel® Processors (48EU) @ 1.25 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (80EU) @ 1.3 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (96EU) @ 1.3 GHz
DRAM Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
Up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 in dual-channel mode
Motherboard 4.13″ x 4.16″ UCFF
Storage SSD 1x M.2-2280 (PCIe 4.0 x4 (CPU-direct) or SATA III)
DFF 1 ×  SATA III Port (for 2.5″ drive)
Card Slots Full-sized SDXC UHS-II
Wireless Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
2×2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1 module
Ethernet 1 × 2.5 GbE port (Intel I225-V)
USB Front 1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
1 x Thunderbolt 3 Type-C
Rear 2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
1 × Thunderbolt 3
Display Outputs 1 × HDMI 2.0b
1 x mini-DP 1.4a
2 × DisplayPort 1.4 (using Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports)
Audio 1 × 3.5mm audio jack (Realtek)
PSU External (90W) External (120W)
Dimensions Length: 117 mm
Width: 112 mm
Height: 38mm (K), 51mm (H), 56mm (Q)
MSRP ? ? ?

Intel’s technical product specifications provide additional details on the I/Os. We see the front and rear Thunderbolt ports (curiously, marketed as Thunderbolt 3 instead of Thunderbolt 4) are enabled directly from the TGL-U processor. Two display outputs (DP 1.4a) are also routed through these Thunderbolt ports within the processor itself.

Interestingly, a protocol converter is still needed on the board to convert the DP 1.4a display output to HDMI 2.0b. There is a PCIe 4.0 x4 lanes set for attaching a NVMe SSD. The high-speed I/O lanes are multiplexed with a SATA port allowing the installation of a M.2 SATA SSD in the same slot. The LAN port is enabled by the i225-V 2.5 Gbps controller, while the SDXC card slot on the side requires an additional SDXC bridge chip. The Wi-Fi 6 capabilities are enabled by the soldered Intel AX201 CNVi card.

Panther Canyon looks to be a solid upgrade over the Frost Canyon NUC despite the loss of a couple of cores (the Frost Canyon NUC was a hexa-core affair), thanks to the improved CPU microarchitecture and a host of system-level upgrades. On the latter front, we have an additional Thunderbolt port, a 2.5 Gbps LAN port (compared to the regular Gigabit port in the Frost Canyon NUC), ability to install a PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, and the ability to drive up to four 4Kp60 displays. Additionally, we also have some of the Panther Canyon SKUs sporting a 15W wireless charging lid.

Various reseller listings have come up for the Panther Canyon NUCs in Europe. However, Intel has not provided a concrete launch date or pricing details for any of the SKUs yet.

As part of its CES 2021 announcements, Intel officially unveiled a number of NUCs based on their Tiger Lake SoCs. Intel's initial NUCs were all based on 100mm x 100mm (4in x 4in) boards, kickstarting the UCFF craze that contributed to revitalizing the PC market. Over the last few years, we have seen Intel expand the NUC to encompass multiple other form-factors, while keeping compactness in mind:

  • Performance: The original 4x4 UCFF units
  • Pro: 4x4 UCFF units with expansion support and vPro capabilities
  • Compute Elements: Add-in Card form factor with carrier boards for system design
  • Extreme: Compute Elements using a 45W TDP processor with a base board hosting up to three PCIe expansion slots (inclusive of a M.2 22110 NVMe slot) and a 5L chassis enabling compact gaming and workstation PCs
  • Rugged: NUCs designed for operation in industrial and factory-floor type environments, sporting processors based on the Atom microarchitecture
  • Essential: 4x4 NUCs sporting processors based on the Atom microarchitecture
  • Laptop Kit: Reference design / whitebook models for OEMs to bring notebooks to market faster
  • Enthusiast: Compact PCs with a 5.5in. x 8in. motherboard sporting a discrete GPU (either soldered or in-package)

The Panther Canyon NUCs are the Tiger Lake-based "Performance-class" units, with eleven different SKUs based on three different boards.

All the models operate the Tiger Lake processors (Core i7-1165G7, Core i5-1135G7, or the Core i3-1115G4) with a TDP of 28W. The K and H kits are the usual ones we have seen in previous generations - the latter has support for the installation of a 2.5" drive. Panther Canyon also has a Q SKU that adds a wireless charging lid (up to 15W) on top of the H chassis. The specifications are summarized in the table below.

Intel Panther Canyon NUC (Tiger Lake-U) Lineup
Model NUC11PA{K/H/Q}i3 NUC11PA{K/H/Q}i5 NUC11PA{K/H/Q}i7
CPU Intel Core i3-1115G4
2C/4T
1.7 - 4.1 GHz (3.0 GHz)
12 - 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i5-1135G7
4C/8T
0.9 - 4.2 GHz (2.4 GHz)
12 - 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i7-1165G7
4C/8T
1.2 - 4.7 GHz (2.8 GHz)
12 - 28 W (28W)
GPU Intel® UHD Graphics for 11th Gen Intel® Processors (48EU) @ 1.25 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (80EU) @ 1.3 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (96EU) @ 1.3 GHz
DRAM Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
Up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 in dual-channel mode
Motherboard 4.13" x 4.16" UCFF
Storage SSD 1x M.2-2280 (PCIe 4.0 x4 (CPU-direct) or SATA III)
DFF 1 ×  SATA III Port (for 2.5" drive)
Card Slots Full-sized SDXC UHS-II
Wireless Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
2x2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1 module
Ethernet 1 × 2.5 GbE port (Intel I225-V)
USB Front 1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
1 x Thunderbolt 3 Type-C
Rear 2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
1 × Thunderbolt 3
Display Outputs 1 × HDMI 2.0b
1 x mini-DP 1.4a
2 × DisplayPort 1.4 (using Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports)
Audio 1 × 3.5mm audio jack (Realtek)
PSU External (90W) External (120W)
Dimensions Length: 117 mm
Width: 112 mm
Height: 38mm (K), 51mm (H), 56mm (Q)
MSRP ? ? ?

Intel's technical product specifications provide additional details on the I/Os. We see the front and rear Thunderbolt ports (curiously, marketed as Thunderbolt 3 instead of Thunderbolt 4) are enabled directly from the TGL-U processor. Two display outputs (DP 1.4a) are also routed through these Thunderbolt ports within the processor itself.

Interestingly, a protocol converter is still needed on the board to convert the DP 1.4a display output to HDMI 2.0b. There is a PCIe 4.0 x4 lanes set for attaching a NVMe SSD. The high-speed I/O lanes are multiplexed with a SATA port allowing the installation of a M.2 SATA SSD in the same slot. The LAN port is enabled by the i225-V 2.5 Gbps controller, while the SDXC card slot on the side requires an additional SDXC bridge chip. The Wi-Fi 6 capabilities are enabled by the soldered Intel AX201 CNVi card.

Panther Canyon looks to be a solid upgrade over the Frost Canyon NUC despite the loss of a couple of cores (the Frost Canyon NUC was a hexa-core affair), thanks to the improved CPU microarchitecture and a host of system-level upgrades. On the latter front, we have an additional Thunderbolt port, a 2.5 Gbps LAN port (compared to the regular Gigabit port in the Frost Canyon NUC), ability to install a PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, and the ability to drive up to four 4Kp60 displays. Additionally, we also have some of the Panther Canyon SKUs sporting a 15W wireless charging lid.

Various reseller listings have come up for the Panther Canyon NUCs in Europe. However, Intel has not provided a concrete launch date or pricing details for any of the SKUs yet.

CES 2021: Zotac MAGNUS ONE Gaming mini-PC Flagship Charges Up Coffee Lake with Ampere

Zotac’s mini-PC lineup received a new flagship as part of its CES 2021 announcements – the MAGNUS ONE. It features a Coffee Lake CPU (Core i7-10700) along with NVIDIA’s RTX 3070 GPU. The new model is a natural evolution of features from the previous MAGNUS PCs like the EK71080 and the EN1080K before it, with a heavy dose of inspiration from Intel’s Ghost Canyon NUC. The EK71080 moved to a discrete GPU from a MXM-type one in the EN1080K. The new MAGNUS ONE continues that trend with the inclusion of a user-replaceable Zotac RTX 3070 Twin Edge in the system. Gone, however, is the humongous external power brick – Instead, we have a 500W 80+ Platinum internal PSU. The new 8.3L model is also meant to be oriented vertically. The last two aspects provide a distinct ‘Ghost Canyon NUC’ feel to the new MAGNUS ONE.

The motherboard in the MAGNUS ONE uses a H470 PCH. The CPU’s integrated GPU display output (HDMI 1.4a) is also available in the rear panel. The RTX 3070 Twin Edge features four display outputs, and either set can be active for up to four simultaneous display streams. The PC also includes Killer AX1650 Wi-Fi and dual LAN ports (1x 1Gbps + 1×2.5Gbps)

ZOTAC’s ZBOX MAGNUS ONE with Coffee Lake
  ZBOX MAGNUS ONE with 10th Generation Core i7 CPU
CPU Intel Core i7-10700
8C/16T
2.9 – 4.8 GHz
16 MB
65 W
GPU Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 Twin Edge
5888 CUDA Cores
8 GB GDDR6
Memory 2 × DDR4 SO-DIMM slots,
up to 64 GB of memory
Storage M.2 1x M.2 2280 slot for PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA SSD
1x M.2 2280 slot for PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD (incl. Optane)
DFF 1 × 2.5″ SSD/HDD
Card Reader 1x SDXC Slot
Wireless Killer Wireless AX1650 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5 controller
Ethernet 1 × Gigabit Ethernet
1 × Killer Ethernet E3000 2.5Gbps controller
Display Outputs 3 × DisplayPort 1.4a (dGPU)
1 × HDMI 2.1 (dGPU)
1 × HDMI 1.4a (iGPU)
Audio 3.5 mm audio-in
3.5 mm audio-out
USB 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (Front)
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (Front)
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (Rear)
4 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A (Rear)
PSU Internal 500W 80+ Platinum
OS Microsoft Windows 10 or none (barebones)
Pricing $1899
(16GB DDR4 DRAM + 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD + 1TB 2.5″ HDD + Windows 10 Home)

A key difference between the new MAGNUS ONE and the previous flagships from an upgradability viewpoint is the user-replaceable discrete GPU. As long as the GPU to be installed consumes 220W at the maximum and is not longer than 230mm (9.06 in.) and takes up only two slots at the maximum, it is for end users to upgrade the pre-installed RTX 3070 a year or two into the system’s service lifetime.

At 8.3L, the system is not as compact as the 5L Ghost Canyon NUC. However, the larger size and the honeycomb chassis should allow for more airflow and easier access to components. The MAGNUS ONE can also accommodate larger GPUs (the Ghost Canyon NUC tops out at 8in.)

The pricing for the MAGNUS ONE ECM73070C with Windows 10 (the ‘PLUS’ model in Zotac’s earlier terminology) is on par with the flagship MAGNUS pricing of previous years. Given the use of the H470 PCH, it appears that Zotac has made optimal use of all the available I/O to deliver a compelling platform for consumers looking at a compact alternative to pre-built PCs from boutique vendors.

Interested in more of the latest industry news? Check out our CES 2021 trade show landing page!

Zotac's mini-PC lineup received a new flagship as part of its CES 2021 announcements - the MAGNUS ONE. It features a Coffee Lake CPU (Core i7-10700) along with NVIDIA's RTX 3070 GPU. The new model is a natural evolution of features from the previous MAGNUS PCs like the EK71080 and the EN1080K before it, with a heavy dose of inspiration from Intel's Ghost Canyon NUC. The EK71080 moved to a discrete GPU from a MXM-type one in the EN1080K. The new MAGNUS ONE continues that trend with the inclusion of a user-replaceable Zotac RTX 3070 Twin Edge in the system. Gone, however, is the humongous external power brick - Instead, we have a 500W 80+ Platinum internal PSU. The new 8.3L model is also meant to be oriented vertically. The last two aspects provide a distinct 'Ghost Canyon NUC' feel to the new MAGNUS ONE.

The motherboard in the MAGNUS ONE uses a H470 PCH. The CPU's integrated GPU display output (HDMI 1.4a) is also available in the rear panel. The RTX 3070 Twin Edge features four display outputs, and either set can be active for up to four simultaneous display streams. The PC also includes Killer AX1650 Wi-Fi and dual LAN ports (1x 1Gbps + 1x2.5Gbps)

ZOTAC's ZBOX MAGNUS ONE with Coffee Lake
  ZBOX MAGNUS ONE with 10th Generation Core i7 CPU
CPU Intel Core i7-10700
8C/16T
2.9 - 4.8 GHz
16 MB
65 W
GPU Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 Twin Edge
5888 CUDA Cores
8 GB GDDR6
Memory 2 × DDR4 SO-DIMM slots,
up to 64 GB of memory
Storage M.2 1x M.2 2280 slot for PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA SSD
1x M.2 2280 slot for PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD (incl. Optane)
DFF 1 × 2.5" SSD/HDD
Card Reader 1x SDXC Slot
Wireless Killer Wireless AX1650 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5 controller
Ethernet 1 × Gigabit Ethernet
1 × Killer Ethernet E3000 2.5Gbps controller
Display Outputs 3 × DisplayPort 1.4a (dGPU)
1 × HDMI 2.1 (dGPU)
1 × HDMI 1.4a (iGPU)
Audio 3.5 mm audio-in
3.5 mm audio-out
USB 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (Front)
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (Front)
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (Rear)
4 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A (Rear)
PSU Internal 500W 80+ Platinum
OS Microsoft Windows 10 or none (barebones)
Pricing $1899
(16GB DDR4 DRAM + 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD + 1TB 2.5" HDD + Windows 10 Home)

A key difference between the new MAGNUS ONE and the previous flagships from an upgradability viewpoint is the user-replaceable discrete GPU. As long as the GPU to be installed consumes 220W at the maximum and is not longer than 230mm (9.06 in.) and takes up only two slots at the maximum, it is for end users to upgrade the pre-installed RTX 3070 a year or two into the system's service lifetime.

At 8.3L, the system is not as compact as the 5L Ghost Canyon NUC. However, the larger size and the honeycomb chassis should allow for more airflow and easier access to components. The MAGNUS ONE can also accommodate larger GPUs (the Ghost Canyon NUC tops out at 8in.)

The pricing for the MAGNUS ONE ECM73070C with Windows 10 (the 'PLUS' model in Zotac's earlier terminology) is on par with the flagship MAGNUS pricing of previous years. Given the use of the H470 PCH, it appears that Zotac has made optimal use of all the available I/O to deliver a compelling platform for consumers looking at a compact alternative to pre-built PCs from boutique vendors.

Interested in more of the latest industry news? Check out our CES 2021 trade show landing page!

Zotac ZBOX CI662 nano Fanless mini-PC Review: Second Stab at Silencing Succeeds

Zotac is one of the major players in the SFF PC space, having marketed ultra-compact form-factor machines even before the NUCs took off. The growth in that segment has broadened the available market for their mini-PCs, allowing them to experiment with a wide variety of models for different use-cases.

The passively-cooled SFF systems from Zotac are marketed under the ‘C-series’ tag. These ‘nano’ units used to adopt a NUC form-factor (100mm x 100mm) with similar chassis dimensions, which provided performance and thermal efficiency commensurate with their size. Starting with the Kaby Lake-Refresh series, the company started adopting a larger form factor and added some platform features. We had reviewed the Zotac ZBOX CI660 nano in that generation in early 2019.

Today, we are taking a look at the Comet Lake-U-based follow-up – the Zotac ZBOX CI662 nano.

Zotac is one of the major players in the SFF PC space, having marketed ultra-compact form-factor machines even before the NUCs took off. The growth in that segment has broadened the available market for their mini-PCs, allowing them to experiment with a wide variety of models for different use-cases.

The passively-cooled SFF systems from Zotac are marketed under the 'C-series' tag. These 'nano' units used to adopt a NUC form-factor (100mm x 100mm) with similar chassis dimensions, which provided performance and thermal efficiency commensurate with their size. Starting with the Kaby Lake-Refresh series, the company started adopting a larger form factor and added some platform features. We had reviewed the Zotac ZBOX CI660 nano in that generation in early 2019.

Today, we are taking a look at the Comet Lake-U-based follow-up - the Zotac ZBOX CI662 nano.

ASRock DeskMini H470 Review: A No-Frills LGA 1200 mini-PC Platform

The mini-STX form-factor was introduced by Intel in 2015 to provide additional options in the burgeoning small form-factor (SFF) PC space. Since then, vendors such as ASRock, ECS, and MSI have been releasing new products based on the mSTX form-factor – and not just for Intel platforms, but AMD as well. As a result, while it’s still a small part of an overall much larger market, mSTX has seen increasing traction as the smallest form factor to still be able to accept socketed CPUs.

A good chunk of mSTX’s success, in turn, has been thanks to the efforts of ASRock. The company’s DeskMini series is one of the better known mSTX line-ups in the market. Slotting in between traditional motherboards and barebones ultra-compact form-factor machines, DeskMini mSTX boxes are the next step past UCFF machines in terms of customization: in addition to user-upgradable RAM and permanent storage, the user is free to choose any suitable CPU (subject to TDP limitations) and a cooler compatible with the supplied chassis – making it possible to configure and upgrade the very heart of a mSTX box. Graphics still need to be integrated (or occasionally, added via MXM cards), but with integrated graphics getting better with every generation, mSTX has been increasingly unimpeded by this trade-off.

Today we’re going to be taking a look as the DeskMini H470 – ASRock’s offering for Intel’s LGA 1200 processors using the H470 chipset. Aspects we’ll be covering include a look at a sample build process, the results from subjecting it to our standard SFF PC evaluation routine, and an analysis of how it stacks up against the other SFF options in the market.

The mini-STX form-factor was introduced by Intel in 2015 to provide additional options in the burgeoning small form-factor (SFF) PC space. Since then, vendors such as ASRock, ECS, and MSI have been releasing new products based on the mSTX form-factor – and not just for Intel platforms, but AMD as well. As a result, while it’s still a small part of an overall much larger market, mSTX has seen increasing traction as the smallest form factor to still be able to accept socketed CPUs.

A good chunk of mSTX’s success, in turn, has been thanks to the efforts of ASRock. The company’s DeskMini series is one of the better known mSTX line-ups in the market. Slotting in between traditional motherboards and barebones ultra-compact form-factor machines, DeskMini mSTX boxes are the next step past UCFF machines in terms of customization: in addition to user-upgradable RAM and permanent storage, the user is free to choose any suitable CPU (subject to TDP limitations) and a cooler compatible with the supplied chassis – making it possible to configure and upgrade the very heart of a mSTX box. Graphics still need to be integrated (or occasionally, added via MXM cards), but with integrated graphics getting better with every generation, mSTX has been increasingly unimpeded by this trade-off.

Today we’re going to be taking a look as the DeskMini H470 - ASRock's offering for Intel's LGA 1200 processors using the H470 chipset. Aspects we’ll be covering include a look at a sample build process, the results from subjecting it to our standard SFF PC evaluation routine, and an analysis of how it stacks up against the other SFF options in the market.

ECS LIVA Z3 Plus Review: Compact Comet Lake NUC Clone Cuts Corners

ECS is a well-known OEM in computing circles, known for building motherboards, computers, and industrial / embedded systems for other vendors. Some of their motherboards and small form-factor PCs are marketed under their own brand name – for example, …

ECS is a well-known OEM in computing circles, known for building motherboards, computers, and industrial / embedded systems for other vendors. Some of their motherboards and small form-factor PCs are marketed under their own brand name - for example, their LIVA series of ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF) machines serves markets that are not directly addressed by the Intel NUCs. At the 2020 CES, the company introduced the LIVA Z3 Plus and LIVA Z3E UCFF machines based on the Comet Lake-U processors from Intel. The Z3 Plus has four variants, two based on Core i7 processors and one each based on the i5 and i3 SKUs. This review takes a look at the performance and value proposition of the pre-built Core i5-based LIVA Z3 Plus offering available in the North American market.

Hands On: ASRock 4X4 BOX-4800U Out-of-Band Management using Realtek DASH

Many computing use-cases require out-of-band management. For example, rack-mounted servers have dedicated LAN ports that connect to a baseboard management controller (BMC) chip for this purpose. PCs used in SMBs / SMEs and business applications do not accommodate a dedicated LAN port for this functionality. Instead, one of the in-band NICs (i.e, one used to provide the primary networking functionality of the system) helps in this aspect.

The DMTF (formerly, Distributed Management Task Force) is a standards organization that focuses, among other things, on a standards-based approach to out-of-band management of computing systems. The Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) is used in servers based on both Intel and AMD processors, though the focus has shifted to DMTF Redfish for this functionality now.

On the PC side, Intel and AMD have different approaches – Intel’s vPro has gained widespread recognition as a qualifier for systems supporting out-of-band management and inventory-taking in business environments. AMD, on the other hand, has gone in for a more standards-compliant approach using DMTF’s DASH (Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware). The two vendors have been trading the usual marketing blows – AMD’s white-paper denounces vPro as proprietary and tending to make users pay more for features they don’t need. On the other hand, an Intel-commissioned comparison report goes on the offensive by claiming vPro to just be a set of proprietary extensions over standards-compliant infrastructure, and that the TCO turns out to be better for vPro.

The purpose of this piece is not to compare vPro and DASH – readers would be better off reading the two documents linked above and make a decision on which of the two would fit a given use-case. Instead, we take a look at how users can take advantage of the DASH capabilities in the recently-reviewed ASRock Industrial 4X4 BOX-4800U.

Many computing use-cases require out-of-band management. For example, rack-mounted servers have dedicated LAN ports that connect to a baseboard management controller (BMC) chip for this purpose. PCs used in SMBs / SMEs and business applications do not accommodate a dedicated LAN port for this functionality. Instead, one of the in-band NICs (i.e, one used to provide the primary networking functionality of the system) helps in this aspect.

The DMTF (formerly, Distributed Management Task Force) is a standards organization that focuses, among other things, on a standards-based approach to out-of-band management of computing systems. The Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) is used in servers based on both Intel and AMD processors, though the focus has shifted to DMTF Redfish for this functionality now.

On the PC side, Intel and AMD have different approaches - Intel's vPro has gained widespread recognition as a qualifier for systems supporting out-of-band management and inventory-taking in business environments. AMD, on the other hand, has gone in for a more standards-compliant approach using DMTF's DASH (Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware). The two vendors have been trading the usual marketing blows - AMD's white-paper denounces vPro as proprietary and tending to make users pay more for features they don't need. On the other hand, an Intel-commissioned comparison report goes on the offensive by claiming vPro to just be a set of proprietary extensions over standards-compliant infrastructure, and that the TCO turns out to be better for vPro.

The purpose of this piece is not to compare vPro and DASH - readers would be better off reading the two documents linked above and make a decision on which of the two would fit a given use-case. Instead, we take a look at how users can take advantage of the DASH capabilities in the recently-reviewed ASRock Industrial 4X4 BOX-4800U.

Hands On: ASRock 4X4 BOX-4800U Out-of-Band Management using Realtek DASH

Many computing use-cases require out-of-band management. For example, rack-mounted servers have dedicated LAN ports that connect to a baseboard management controller (BMC) chip for this purpose. PCs used in SMBs / SMEs and business applications do not accommodate a dedicated LAN port for this functionality. Instead, one of the in-band NICs (i.e, one used to provide the primary networking functionality of the system) helps in this aspect.

The DMTF (formerly, Distributed Management Task Force) is a standards organization that focuses, among other things, on a standards-based approach to out-of-band management of computing systems. The Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) is used in servers based on both Intel and AMD processors, though the focus has shifted to DMTF Redfish for this functionality now.

On the PC side, Intel and AMD have different approaches – Intel’s vPro has gained widespread recognition as a qualifier for systems supporting out-of-band management and inventory-taking in business environments. AMD, on the other hand, has gone in for a more standards-compliant approach using DMTF’s DASH (Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware). The two vendors have been trading the usual marketing blows – AMD’s white-paper denounces vPro as proprietary and tending to make users pay more for features they don’t need. On the other hand, an Intel-commissioned comparison report goes on the offensive by claiming vPro to just be a set of proprietary extensions over standards-compliant infrastructure, and that the TCO turns out to be better for vPro.

The purpose of this piece is not to compare vPro and DASH – readers would be better off reading the two documents linked above and make a decision on which of the two would fit a given use-case. Instead, we take a look at how users can take advantage of the DASH capabilities in the recently-reviewed ASRock Industrial 4X4 BOX-4800U.

Many computing use-cases require out-of-band management. For example, rack-mounted servers have dedicated LAN ports that connect to a baseboard management controller (BMC) chip for this purpose. PCs used in SMBs / SMEs and business applications do not accommodate a dedicated LAN port for this functionality. Instead, one of the in-band NICs (i.e, one used to provide the primary networking functionality of the system) helps in this aspect.

The DMTF (formerly, Distributed Management Task Force) is a standards organization that focuses, among other things, on a standards-based approach to out-of-band management of computing systems. The Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) is used in servers based on both Intel and AMD processors, though the focus has shifted to DMTF Redfish for this functionality now.

On the PC side, Intel and AMD have different approaches - Intel's vPro has gained widespread recognition as a qualifier for systems supporting out-of-band management and inventory-taking in business environments. AMD, on the other hand, has gone in for a more standards-compliant approach using DMTF's DASH (Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware). The two vendors have been trading the usual marketing blows - AMD's white-paper denounces vPro as proprietary and tending to make users pay more for features they don't need. On the other hand, an Intel-commissioned comparison report goes on the offensive by claiming vPro to just be a set of proprietary extensions over standards-compliant infrastructure, and that the TCO turns out to be better for vPro.

The purpose of this piece is not to compare vPro and DASH - readers would be better off reading the two documents linked above and make a decision on which of the two would fit a given use-case. Instead, we take a look at how users can take advantage of the DASH capabilities in the recently-reviewed ASRock Industrial 4X4 BOX-4800U.

ASRock Brings Zen 2 NUC : 4X4 BOX-4800U Renoir Mini-PC Reviewed

AMD-based ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF) systems are slowly gaining market acceptance, with the Zen architecture slowly catching up with Intel on both the performance as well as power consumption front. AMD’s latest and greatest has been reserved for the high-end desktop market, with the parts meant for low-power / compact systems appearing a few quarters later. Zen 3-based desktop CPUs were introduced recently. However, it is only now that Zen 2-based parts with 12-25W TDP (Renoir APUs) have started to appear in compact desktop systems. ASRock Industrial launched the Ryzen 4000U-based 4X4 BOX-4000 series in September. Read on for a review of their flagship model – the 4X4 BOX-4800U.

AMD-based ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF) systems are slowly gaining market acceptance, with the Zen architecture slowly catching up with Intel on both the performance as well as power consumption front. AMD's latest and greatest has been reserved for the high-end desktop market, with the parts meant for low-power / compact systems appearing a few quarters later. Zen 3-based desktop CPUs were introduced recently. However, it is only now that Zen 2-based parts with 12-25W TDP (Renoir APUs) have started to appear in compact desktop systems. ASRock Industrial launched the Ryzen 4000U-based 4X4 BOX-4000 series in September. Read on for a review of their flagship model - the 4X4 BOX-4800U.