Intel’s NUC 12 Extreme, the entry-level (and potentially power-packed) mini PC codenamed ‘Serpent Canyon’ with the company’s own Arc graphics cards, has been seen listed in multiple incarnations at an online retailer.
You may recall that a month ago we were treated to leaked specs of the various configurations the NUC 12 cheat box was supposed to go into, and those rumors seem to be on the money – assuming those product listings that have popped up aren’t wrong.
As highlighted by VideoCardz (opens in new tab) (and originally flagged by @momomo_us (opens in new tab) on Twitter), the American retailer proof (opens in new tab) has the NUC 12 Extreme listed in three main flavors, just like it leaked before. There’s a high-end unit with the Arc A770M GPU alongside 16GB of system RAM and a Core i7 Alder Lake CPU, with an Arc A730M version plus 12GB (which also has a Core i7 processor), with the third variant boasting the smaller Arc A550M graphics card and 8GB of system RAM (with a Core i5 chip).
As you may know, current NUC 11 gaming models employ Nvidia graphics cards, so it’s a major change for Intel to be able to switch to their own GPUs (although how this is actually working in practice, well, we’ll get back to that momentarily).
Pricing starts at $1,040 (about £850, AU$1,490) for the base model NUC 12, up to $1,310 (about £1,080, AU$1,880) for the flagship machine.
Analysis: A good sign, or should we put caution first here?
Regarding the price, it’s too early to judge on that front. At this point, the price tags provided can easily be placeholders, so for now, they can be considered a useful estimate, but nothing more.
While there is no stock on hand just yet, the NUC 12 models listed on Provantage now suggest the retailer hopes to have products to sell sooner rather than later. Basically, there is a possibility that we could see the stock arriving in a matter of weeks (instead of months).
So are these retail listings now appearing a promising sign for those looking to get a NUC 12 as a compact PC capable of doing a decent gaming display with these discrete graphics cards? Well, who knows at the end of the day – it wouldn’t be the first time that retailers have rushed in and put out item lists too soon.
Furthermore, there are still doubts hanging like dark clouds about the performance of Arc GPUs and their drivers so far. And the release of the Arc Alchemist desktop has been seriously delayed, and a very strange affair, with GPUs only available in China so far.
In fact, we’ve recently heard some pretty worrying things about desktop Arc graphics cards that have serious hardware flaws, something Intel denies, but clearly there are gremlins in the works somewhere looking to release so far. Early drivers in dire need of refinement seem to be the cause of the most glaring issues right now, so we expect to see improvements in this area.
In short, the lag of the NUCs is naturally involved in the lag of the Arc, and as things currently stand, we’re not very confident that the next-gen mini PCs will go on sale any time in the near future. We may, however, be wrong on this speculation, and we hope this is true – not just for ‘Serpent Canyon’ NUCs, but also for wider availability of some affordable discrete Arc GPUs.