Intel’s NUC 12 Extreme, the incoming (and potentially power-packed) mini PC codenamed ‘Serpent Canyon’ featuring the company’s own Arc graphics cards, has been spotted in various incarnations at an online retailer.
You may recall that a month ago we leaked specs of the multiple configurations that the NUC 12 box of tricks would be released, and those rumors seem to be making money — assuming those product listings that surfaced aren’t a mistake.
As emphasized by VideoCardz (opens in new tab) (and originally flagged by @momomo_us (opens in new tab) on Twitter), the US retailer Privileged (opens in new tab) has the NUC 12 Extreme in three main flavors, just like it was leaked before. There’s a top unit with the Arc A770M GPU along with 16GB of system RAM and a Core i7 Alder Lake processor, with an Arc A730M plus 12GB version (which also has a Core i7 processor), with the third version carrying the smaller Arc A550M card graphics and 8 GB of system RAM (with a Core i5 chip).
As you may know, the current NUC 11 gaming models use Nvidia graphics cards, so it’s a significant change for Intel to be able to switch to its own GPUs (although how that happens in practice, well, we’ll get to that in a moment).
Pricing starts at $1,040 (around £850, AU$1,490) for the base NUC 12 model, up to $1,310 (around £1,080, AU$1,880) for the flagship.
Analysis: Good sign, or should we firmly put attention first here?
As for pricing, it’s too early to judge on that front. At this point, the provided price tags could easily be placeholders, so for now they can be considered useful parking, but nothing more.
While no stock is available yet, the NUC 12 models listed on Provantage now suggest that the retailer expects to have products for sale sooner rather than later. Basically, there’s a chance we’ll see the stock come out in a matter of weeks (rather than months).
So, are these retail listings popping up now a promising sign for those who might be looking to get a NUC 12 as a compact PC capable of doing decent gaming given those discrete graphics cards? Well, who knows after all – it wouldn’t be the first time retailers have jumped the gun and put their product listings up too early.
Additionally, there are still doubts hanging around like dark clouds about the performance of the Arc GPUs and their drivers so far. And Arc Alchemist’s desktop release has been seriously delayed and a very strange affair everywhere, with GPUs only available in China so far.
Indeed, we’ve recently heard some pretty alarming things about desktop Arc graphics cards experiencing serious hardware flaws, which Intel denies, but clearly there are gremlins in the works somewhere looking at the release so far. The first drivers in immediate need of improvement seem to be the cause of the most serious issues right now, so hopefully we’ll see improvements in that area.
In short, the NUC delay naturally ends with the Arc delay, and as things stand right now, we’re not too sure that the next-gen mini PCs will go on sale anytime in the near future. We might be wrong in that guess, though, and we hope that’s true – not just for the ‘Serpent Canyon’ NUCs, but also for the wider availability of some affordable discrete Arc GPUs.