Intel's Alder Lake CPUs, DG2 GPUs Will Likely Power NUC 12 Mini PC

(Image credit: 从未完美过/Weibo)

After recently launching the Intel NUC 11 Extreme (Beast Canyon), Intel reportedly working on its next NUC. A Weibo user has shared alleged specifications for the NUC 12 Enthusiast, which may contend for a spot on the list of best gaming PCs.

The leaked slide cuts off right before the codename for the NUC 12 Enthusiast is visible. From what we can see, it appears to say Serpent, so the NUC may be internally known as Serpent Canyon, but we can't be sure. The information clearly states that the Federal Communications Commission hasn't signed off on the NUC 12 Enthusiast, so the final design and specifications could vary. In fact, the Intel document doesn't even specify dimensions of the system. 

Most interesting is the possibility of Intel slapping its upcoming Xe-HPG DG2 discrete graphics cards into the NUC 12 Enthusiast. The document lists the Core i5 and two Core i7 with graphics card with 8GB, 12GB and 16GB of GDDR6 memory, respectively. The memory configurations align with the rumored specifications for the DG2

The specification table shared via Weibo points to information not yet shared about the DG2: the design of the display outputs. According to the slide, the DG2 will offer HDMI 2.0 port, a full-size DisplayPort 2.0 output and Mini DisplayPort. Neither AMD nor Nvidia graphics cards come with DisplayPort 2.0 outputs, which further supports our theory that mysterious graphics cards are in fact the Xe HPG DG2.

Additionally, the slide points to the NUC 12 Enthusiast using next-generation Intel processors, which we assume to be the 12th Generation Alder Lake hybrid chips. As always, it looks like Intel will offer the NUC with different CPU options, including Core i5 and Core i7 SKUs. Surprisingly, there was no mention of a Core i9 alternative. 

Alder Lake has been rumored to support both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM. It appears that Intel will opt for the former with the NUC 12 Enthusiast. The device is equipped with two SO-DIMM DDR4 memory slots to support up to 64GB of DDR4-3200 memory at 1.2V. The storage options don't look bad either. Apparently, there are two PCIe 4.0 x4 and one PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 2280 slots. Optane Memory M10 and H10 support is also present.

The NUC 12 Enthusiast will reportedly also offer 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet networking, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5 connectivity, dual Thunderbolt 4 ports and six standard USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports.

We're expecting Intel to launch Alder Lake later this year or early 2022. In either case, we'd expect the NUC 12 Enthusiast to come out at around the same time as the 12th Gen chips or shortly after.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • excalibur1814
    Nuc 12???

    Has anyone in the U.K. actually managed to buy a standard Nuc 11 yet? (Other than from rip off simplynuc). I really, REALLY want to replace my Nuc 10 i3 with a Nuc 11 i5. Nope. Can't find one anywhere. (In stock!!)
  • Goblin4
    Slide shows HDMI 2.1, description HDMI 2.0.