Intel NUC Laptop fans, assemble. The latest version of the high-end portable PC reference design, used by manufacturers such as ADATA to create their gaming laptops, has poked its head over the parapet in a post on Videocardz that references the French-language site Inpact Hardware (opens in new tab). Codenamed Alder County, the laptop combines an Alder Lake CPU with a discrete Arc GPU.
The current model, NUC X15 (opens in new tab) or King County, contains an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 as the most powerful graphics (opens in new tab) option alongside its 11th-gen Intel CPUs, so the move to Arc is a significant one. The desktop model of the NUC-12, codenamed Dragon Canyon, has also had a refresh (opens in new tab).
But there are other canyons on Intel’s NUC roadmap, with the NUC-12 Enthusiast, aka Serpent Canyon, also being confirmed in Intel’s CES 2022 presentation. These NUCs are also using discrete graphics — not confirmed but presumably Arc — with 8GB, 12GB, or 16GB of GDDR6, and feature front and rear Thunderbolt 4 ports as well as 2.5Gb Ethernet sockets.
Arc, Intel's attempt to beat Nvidia and AMD at their own game, is gearing up for its desktop launch, but reports (opens in new tab) that it may miss its Q1 launch window are causing concern. While the range may include up to 32 models (opens in new tab), the Arc Alchemist's A380 entry-level GPU hits the same scores as a GTX 1650 in benchmarks (opens in new tab).
Given this references 8GB, 12GB, and 16GB configurations, either some of those will not be Arc GPUs (i.e., they could be the newly announced GeForce RTX 3080 Ti for the 16GB card), or Intel at least plans to start shipping higher-end Arc solutions for laptops in the near future. How will an Arc GPU with 16GB of GDDR6 compare to other alternatives? That's something we very much want to find out.