Intel NUC Elements Overview
The Intel NUC has proven to be a revolutionary product that has expanded the PC market in a wide range of segments such as health care, digital signage, retail, education, and work from home. The latest expansion of the family includes the NUC Element, which is bringing the channel a new type of high performance mini-PC. NUC Elements are designed to simplify system integration through the use of modular components that can be mixed and matched within the family to increase customization, enhance performance, provide upgrade options, and reduce support costs.
There are really three main classifications of NUC Elements, which include the mainstream Rugged models (Austin Beach), the NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) which is a high performance graphics workstation, and the NUC 9 Extreme (Ghost Canyon) targeting the gaming market. Intel provides these different products as standalone parts or as kits with different levels of integration. The kits will be the most familiar to resellers that have previous experience with NUC systems, while the individual modular components would be most useful to OEM integrators designing platforms such as AIO, kiosks, vending machines and other IOT solutions.
NUC Elements primarily consist of three product categories which include the Compute Element, the Board Element, and the Chassis Element. NUC Element kits include the different Element components and offer the ability to be upgraded by changing out different Element parts.
The Compute Element is either a card like device or a plug module and is essentially the system motherboard that consists of a processor, memory, memory slots, and WiFi, all of which are fixed. In the case of the plug module, the memory is not fixed and is added to the system through the standard memory slots.
The Board Element provides the connection for the Compute Element and includes the M.2 PCIe interface for system storage and I/O.
This is the base unit that as described is the Element case but in terms of the kit it would include other Element components for the system mainly being the Board Element.
Rugged Elements (Austin Beach)
Austin Beach is a ruggedized solution for digital signage and other industrial applications. The product line is modular so resellers have a wide range of configuration options. Highlights for this product include a fan-less chassis, VESA mount back plate, multiple I/O configurations and wide range of processor options including Core i7 vPro.
The Compute Element for the Rugged line is a card like device that includes the processor, memory, and WiFi, all of which are fixed and cannot be changed or upgraded without changing the entire card. For this line, the current compute element is code named Chandler Bay and products in this family utilize the Intel 8th Generation Core i7, i5, and i3 processors, as well as entry level Pentium Gold and Celeron options. The Core i7 and i5 versions include Compute Elements that also support Intel vPro.
The Board Element is a carrier board that is installed inside your chassis and it supports the connection for the Compute Element. The Board Element contains the I/O ports, power connection and an M.2 slot for storage. For the Rugged Elements, the Board Carrier is code named Austin Beach and there are three different versions depending on the I/O configuration. The versions include the Expandable or base unit that consists of 2 x HDMI, 1 x RJ45, 1 (F) x USB 3.2, 2(B) x USB 3.2, and 1(F) x USB 2.0. The additional or optional Board Elements include a version for Dual LAN or Multi HDMI. These Board Elements include everything in the Expandable model plus added I/O. The Dual LAN includes an additional RJ45 giving you two total and an additional 2(B) x USB 2.0. The Multi HDMI includes 4 x HDMI giving you a total of 6 HDMI.
The Rugged Chassis, code named Austin Beach, is a fan-less, dust resistant design that includes overvoltage protection, external dipole antennas, and includes a VESA mount plate that has a unique side car to hold the AC Adapter. The chassis comes in three versions with the Board Element already installed so you add the Compute Element, storage and OS to complete the configuration of the system. The chassis model is available as an “A” version which uses the Expandable Board Element, a “B” version which contains the Dual LAN Board Element or a “C” version which utilizes the Multi HDMI Board Element.
Board Assembly Element
The Board Assembly Element is a carrier and cooling solution designed for OEMs who are building products that would utilize a Compute Element. The Board Assembly Element would be integrated in systems such as an AIO base unit, a kiosk, or other types of IOT devices. It is not needed if you are building a system using the Austin Beach Rugged Chassis. For OEMs, the Board Assembly Element is code named Butler Beach and it is designed to support 8th Generation Compute Elements.
NUC 9 Pro Elements
Similar to the Rugged Elements, the NUC 9 Pro Elements include a Compute Element, Board Element and a Chassis Element. The NUC 9 Pro however is only available as a kit (Compute Element, Board Element, and Chassis) but resellers can purchase the Compute Element itself to provide as an upgrade at a future time. The NUC 9 Pro offers several unique features including support for Core i7 or Xeon processors, vPro Technology, and also allows for the addition of a discrete graphics card.
The NUC 9 Pro has two options for the Compute Element code named Quartz Canyon. It is available as a powerful workstation using the Intel Xeon E-2286 or the 9th Generation Intel Core i7-9850H.
The Board Element is included as part of the NUC 9 Pro kit and it supports the connection for the Compute Element and an M.2 storage device but also provides a PCIex16 slot allowing for the addition of a discrete graphics cards (8 inch half length).
The NUC 9 Pro ships as a bare bone base kit using the Quartz Canyon Chassis. The kit includes the Board Element and the Compute Element.
NUC 9 Extreme Elements
Similar to the NUC 9 Pro Element, the Extreme version includes a Compute Element, Board Element and a Chassis Element. The NUC 9 Extreme is only available as a kit (Compute Element, Board Element, and Chassis) but resellers can purchase the Compute Element itself to provide as an upgrade for the kit. The NUC 9 Extreme offers several unique features including support for Core i9 processors, and most importantly to gamers, the ability to add a discrete graphics card.
The NUC 9 Extreme has three options for the Compute Element code named Ghost Canyon. It is available as a powerful gaming system using the Intel 9th Generation Core i9-9980HK, Core i7-9750H, or Core i5-9300H.
The Board Element is included as part of the NUC 9 Extreme kit and it supports the connection for the Compute Element and an M.2 storage device but also provides a PCIex16 slot allowing for the addition of a discrete graphics cards (8 inch half length).
The NUC 9 Extreme ships as a bare bone base kit using the Ghost Canyon Chassis. The kit includes the Board Element and the Compute Element.