If you thought that the mini-ITX system boards found in small form factor computers like those offered by Shuttle were small, Intel has something to show you. It’s a new smaller computer board it called NUC, or Next Unit of Computing.
The NUC platform measures just 10cm by 10cm, or about 4 inches by 4 inches, compared with 6.7″ x 6.7″ for a mini-ITX system. Intel is positioning NUC as a form factor for digital signage and other simple applications. But the NUC board still makes room for pretty much everything you need to build a capable computer.
The board includes:
• Intel Core family processor socket
• 2 RAM SO-DIMM slots
• 2 mini PCIe slots
• USB 3.0
The NUC is designed to work with an Intel Core i3 mobile processor, but it could also possibly handle a higher power chip as long as the power consumption and heat generation isn’t too high.
It’s not clear how much NUC boards will cost — but as Extreme Tech points out, it’s a safe bet they’ll cost quite a bit more than a $35 Raspberry Pi computer.
The difference is that while Intel’s new solution isn’t much larger than a Raspberry Pi, it supports powerful x86 processors which means it can run Windows 7 and earlier operating systems or offer better overall performance with operating systems such as Debian or Fedora Linux which do support the Pi’s 700 MHz ARM-based processor.
You can find more photos of an NUC prototype at sweclockers
(a Swedish site).