Intel’s “Phantom Canyon” NUC sits in between the company’s standard square NUC mini PCs and the expandable NUC Extreme boxes in size, performance, and expandability. It’s much smaller than the NUC Extreme boxes and still fits a dedicated GPU and more powerful CPU, but like the smallest NUCs, those components are laptop-class components that can’t be upgraded.
The next-generation follow-up to Phantom Canyon is supposedly around the corner, according to plausible-looking leaked images and specs from a Chinese forum post (via Tom’s Hardware). The new NUC, purportedly
codenamed “Serpent Canyon,” combines a Core i7-12700H CPU (six P-cores and eight E-cores) with one of Intel’s Arc A770M GPUs, making it the first of these high-performance NUC boxes without an AMD or Nvidia GPU in it. The Phantom Canyon NUC uses a 4-core Core i7-1165G7 and an Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU, so Serpent Canyon should be quite a bit more powerful overall.
The Serpent Canyon photos make it look chunkier than the Phantom Canyon box, which as Tom’s Hardware points out is a likely side effect of the higher-performance CPU and GPU—more power means more cooling and thus a larger case. But the PC should still offer impressive performance for its size, and its array of USB, Ethernet, Thunderbolt, HDMI, and DisplayPort outputs should accommodate most peoples’ accessories and multi-monitor setups. Like Intel’s other high-performance NUCs, it also has a lit-up skull on the side. This may or may not make it go faster.