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Intel beefs up NUC roster by loosing details of Core i7 variant

“Smaller is better” is the direction most PC manufacturers are headed for. But with an abundance of mini-desktops, full-fledged stick PCs, and even computers that look like rodents floating around, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out from the pack.

Good thing standout is Intel’s middle name, as the chip maker extraordinaire manages to steal the spotlight away from HP, Gigabyte or Zotac in pint-sized desktop décor as well.

RelatedIntel outs next-generation NUC mini-PCs with little to no fanfare

Their latest NUC (short for Next Unit of Computing) is the family’s first Core i7-powered member, and is “coming in Q2 2015,” according to a teaser that popped out of nowhere on the Santa Clara-based outfit’s website.

You may recall Intel pulled a similarly vague, low-key publicity stunt back in December, when a new generation of NUCs was “unintentionally” disclosed. In the meantime, the fifth-gen Broadwell-packing product roster has been confirmed as including a Core i3 model, and two i5s, one slim-case edition and a larger model with 2.5-inch drive support.

Related: Intel NUC review

The just-outed Core i7 configuration is itself part of the big, happy, ultra-fast Broadwell family, and rumor has it an i7-5557U processor will be found inside.

Coupled with Iris 6100 graphics, this processor is capable of flying at clock speeds up to 3.4 GHz, so it’s substantially zippier than what you usually find in tiny computers. But it’s not exactly a desktop-grade or gaming-friendly CPU.

RelatedIntel shows a bit of everything at CES 2015, and it actually works

It might be enough to make you abandon a multipurpose laptop, as long as you cough up for storage and memory, plus a decent Full HD+ monitor. If the i7 Broadwell NUC is anything like the larger i5 (and it should be), up to 16GB RAM will be supported, alongside solid state storage.

Four USB 3.0 ports are squeezed in most NUCs, as well as mini-HDMI and mini-DP connectors, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities, and 7.1 surround audio. If Intel finds a way to slap the upgraded NUC with a reasonable price it’ll have a stunner on its hands.