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Intel ‘Hades Canyon’ NUC hands-on
“‘Hades Canyon’ is probably the most highly effective NUC but, however Intel’s driver help has one thing to show.”
Packs AMD Radeon RX Vega M graphics
Can drive as much as six shows
Some components might be changed
Nerdy light-up cranium
Costlier than any NUC to date
Driver help stays an open query
At CES 2017, we noticed Intel’s first NUC constructed for players. Known as Cranium Canyon, the NUC mixed an Intel quad-core with the corporate’s strongest Iris built-in graphics. It was presupposed to be a showcase of Iris’ potential – however it didn’t fairly work out. Our assessment discovered efficiency left a lot to be desired, and driver woes meant some video games by no means launched correctly.
Intel is again at CES 2018 with one other gaming-focused NUC, Hades Canyon. However this 12 months, it’s not utilizing its personal built-in graphics, however as an alternative options Intel Core i7-8809G. That’s probably the most highly effective model of Intel’s Eighth-gen Core with AMD Radeon RX Vega M graphics, and whereas we haven’t examined it but, its specs look promising. The Vega GPU contains 24 compute items. The Vega 56 graphics card, as its identify suggests, has 56 – and it could possibly play some video games at 4K decision. Intel’s personal information suggests the i7-8809G will compete effectively with Nvidia’s GTX 1060. Intel even says Hades Canyon will be capable of deal with VR. Given its specs, it could simply meet the minimal necessities for many headsets – however even that will be spectacular.
That makes Hades Canyon immediately appear to be a winner. Sure, the scale of the system has greater than doubled over final 12 months, however it’s nonetheless just one.2 liters. That’s smaller than the Alienware Alpha, or any of Zotac’s pint-sized gaming desktops. Dimension apart, its has stored a broad, rectangular look that offers loads of house to cram in ports. A whole lot of ports. That features a twin DisplayPort, twin Thunderbolt, and twin Ethernet. As much as six shows might be related concurrently, which is an unimaginable quantity for such a small system, and twice as a lot as final 12 months’s Cranium Canyon NUC.
Nice wants nice drivers.
Like different NUCs, Hades Canyon helps a stunning quantity of customization. Eradicating six screws allows you to carry off the highest, offering entry to the RAM, two m.2 arduous drive slots, the Wi-Fi card, and some different minor ports. The RAM slots have been stuffed on the unit we noticed, however there was room so as to add a second arduous drive. The Intel Eighth-gen Core with AMD Radeon RX Vega M graphics is soldered on, in fact, so it could possibly’t get replaced, however the system’s upgradability is in any other case significantly better than you may anticipate.
And there’s another cool contact – a light-up cranium. The brand new NUC will not be referred to as Cranium Canyon, however Intel has stored the cool cranium emblem. This time, although, its backlit – which makes it twice as superior, in fact. It additionally makes the brand customizable. Need to change the colour? You are able to do that? Need to flip it off fully? You are able to do that, too. I’m positive some will assume it foolish, however I believe it’s a pleasant contact that almost all players will get pleasure from.
On paper, the Hades Canyon NUC sounds good. It has a quick processor, fairly quick graphics, and gobs of connectivity, all in a small type issue. But there’s nonetheless cause to be skeptical. Nice wants nice drivers. Whereas the driving force interface shall be equivalent to AMD – solely branded as Intel – we’re instructed driver releases will come from Intel. We’ll simply have to attend and see how that goes. AMD releases drivers ceaselessly, in fact, and we’d wish to see Intel ship at the same cadence, however that hasn’t occurred previously.
Intel might want to get critical about drivers if it hopes for Hades Canyon to face an opportunity in hell, however the mission in any other case seems promising. And if Intel does show dependable, this NUC may encourage a brand new wave of small, console-like gaming PCs. That will be a win for everybody.
Hades Canyon will ship in March beginning at $799 for the much less highly effective Core i7-8705G version, or $999 for the Core i7-8809G.