Intel first started promoting the mini PC line in 2012, although a spokesperson for the company has, in an e-mail response to PCWorld, confirmed an earlier report from Serve the Home that Intel, better known for its component manufacturing business, would be retiring from producing mini computers, as well as PCs entirely.
“We have decided to stop direct investment in the Next Unit of Compute (NUC) Business and pivot our strategy to enable our ecosystem partners to continue NUC innovation and growth,” they wrote, signalling an end to Intel’s production of the product line (but not its support for existing units) while leaving others to pick up the baton.
We’re spoilt for choice for small-form factor PCs in this day and age. Mini-ITX cases (and motherboards to fit them) are readily available, and capable of being fitted with components to rival systems housed in even the tallest of cases.
There are also Raspberry Pis, which, although less than available since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic (even if this writer has recently procured one from a UK-based reseller), are quite possibly the smallest workstations we’ll have for some time, but it’s arguable that Intel started the craze.
Still, with a 10-year-old boy running the product division (‘Hades Canyon’, ‘Phantom Canyon’ and ‘Raptor Canyon’ are all real product names, the technological equivalent of having to order a ‘Harlem Shake’ in a restaurant, and RGB skulls are etched into some cases), perhaps it’s good that it’s been palmed off to third-parties and consumers have more options.
I’m not just being glib: over the years we’ve covered Intel NUCs, the problems have mounted. The shift from Nvidia GPUs to Intel’s own Arc ones corresponded with a rise in price, and an increased focus towards tailoring the line for the gaming market meant larger form factors to accommodate full-fat desktop GPUs.
Intel seemed to have forgotten, by the end, exactly why it started the NUC line. It even lost the gaming battle, with the Steam Deck and ROG Ally offering a fair amount of power in an explicitly-portable form factor. There are worse ways to go than setting those up as a work laptop.
Really, in current year, Is anyone mourning the demise of the Intel-branded NUC?