Intel recently rolled out its 13th Gen Core processors, which you can get on their own for a custom build or integrated into an increasing number of pre-built systems. There’s also an upgraded Intel NUC to go along with the new CPUs, the NUC 13 Extreme Kit (code-named Raptor Canyon). This is the most powerful Intel NUC ever, with redesigned cooling and space for huge triple-slot GPUs like the RTX 4090.
At the heart of the new NUC is one of three different Intel 13th Gen Core processors: the i5-13600K, i7-13700K, or i9-13900K. All those chips are unlocked, allowing for easier overclocking, and the NUC 13 Extreme Kit may actually have the thermal headroom to make that viable. Intel’s case has a two-chamber design, with the compute element on the top and a big empty space on the bottom for a GPU. Thus, the CPU doesn’t contribute heat to the GPU and vice versa. It also includes support for as much as 64GB of DDR5 RAM, but it needs smaller SODIMMs, as full-sized RAM sticks would have required a larger baseboard.
Intel NUCs always focus on keeping the footprint small while offering the latest Intel parts. The NUC 13 has a total case volume of just 13.9 liters, which is 70 percent smaller than a typical 50L gaming tower. The toolless design features mesh panels on the sides, allowing for air to be pulled across the components. It also includes a 750W power supply with modular cabling, so you can keep the clutter to a minimum.
With all that space for a video card, it’s good to see that Intel has moved to PCIe Gen5 for the compute element. That means you can get the most out of the latest GPUs, which might cost more than the rest of the NUC combined, assuming you can even find one. The power supply is also ready for the future with a built-in 12VHPWR 16-pin cable — we can only hope the native cable isn’t as problematic as Nvidia’s adapter has been.
On the connectivity side, the NUC 13 is well-equipped with six USB-A 3.2 ports, as well as a pair of Thunderbolt USB-C plugs. You also get dual 10Gbps and 2.5Gbps Ethernet ports. On the wireless side, the NUC does rely on an external antenna — cramming the antenna inside the case would have apparently complicated tinkering inside the machine.
If Intel’s most powerful-ever NUC is up your alley, it will be available starting at $1,179 and going up to $1,549, depending on the configuration. The Intel NUC 13 Extreme Compute Element alone will be $760 to $1100. The NUC launches first in China and will then expand to other markets in late 2022 and early 2023.
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