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Massive Intel Alder Lake CPU found inside next-gen NUC mini PC

The NUC, Intel’s mini PC, is not the first place you’d expect to see an LGA1700-based Intel Alder Lake processor — but it just might happen.

User @9550pro on Twitter leaked an image showcasing what appears to be the next-gen Intel NUC with a massive LGA1700 motherboard and an unknown Alder Lake processor. The question is, can the NUC support the power requirements of such a CPU?

The rumored next-gen Intel NUC with a LGA1700 motherboard.
Image credit: 9550pro Image used with permission by copyright holder

The image, aside from the LGA1700 socket and the yet unnamed 12th-gen Intel processor, shows two DDR4 small outline dual input memory modules (SO-DIMM) typically found in compact computers. The system also appears to support PCIe 4.0 NVMe storage.

Using DDR4 as opposed to DDR5 in the next-gen NUC is not a controversial choice: DDR5 memory is still difficult to come by. However, it’s not impossible for Intel to also produce a DDR5 version of the NUC in the near future, as the technology is already out and the limitations lie in its availability.

Rumors about an upcoming Intel NUC 12 Enthusiast emerged in August. As reported by Tom’s Hardware, the rumored NUC could be sporting an Intel Alder Lake CPU alongside Intel’s own DG2 graphics card. So far, the specifications of the rumored NUC align with what we’re seeing in this model, and all of it bodes well for the new NUC: It could turn out to be quite a powerful gaming mini PC.

The alleged NUC 12 Enthusiast, alongside a discrete graphics card, may offer a selection of Intel Alder Lake CPUs, ranging from the Core i5 all the way to the Core i9. Rumors suggest that the new NUC may be dubbed Serpent Canyon.

Skull design on the Intel NUC 11 Extreme.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If proven true, this could be an interesting development for the NUC, allowing it to hit previously unreachable levels of performance. However, the compact design of this mini PC plays a part in how much power it can spare for the CPU alone. The LGA1700 socket supports some of the best CPUs Intel has to offer, but we shouldn’t expect to see a full-fledged Intel Core i9-12900K inside a NUC.

The compact design of the NUC always comes at a price, and although Intel seems to have created a competitive mini-computer, there is still a fairly low ceiling where power consumption is concerned. With all the other components also requiring a fair bit of power, it’s possible that the new NUC may come with an Intel Alder Lake processor with a maximum of 65 watts of power usage.

Assuming the leaked image is accurate, this would be a huge switch for Intel. Going from a BGA socket to an upgradeable LGA inside a NUC marks a major difference. Using LGA1700 opens the door for potential upgrades in the future, although there is no telling if Intel would allow that or not.

With CES 2022 just around the corner and Intel’s keynote coming up, we are likely to hear more about the rumored NUC this Tuesday. Find out how to watch it live here.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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