As Tweeted by @9550pro, (opens in new tab) an alleged image of Intel's upcoming Alder Lake NUC was shared on the internet earlier this morning, showcasing a massive LGA1700 socket featuring an unknown Alder Lake CPU. If this image indicates Intel's next-gen NUC, it'll be the first time the company has switched from BGA to an upgradeable LGA socket inside a NUC.
It could be good news for future NUC owners since the LGA1700 socket will open the doors for users to upgrade the CPU inside the NUC to a higher-end Alder Lake SKU, or perhaps a future 13th Gen Raptor Lake chip. But there's a chance Intel could lock out potential upgrade paths with motherboard microcode updates, so we'll have to see what happens once the NUC officially releases.
From what we can see in the image, it appears the motherboard is packing two DDR4 SO-DIMM memory slots along with a PCIe 4.0 NVMe storage interface. There could be DDR5 versions of this NUC since DDR5 SO-DIMMs are now out in the wild. But presumably, Intel has decided to produce the DDR4 version first with how rough the DDR5 memory supply has been right now. The specifications align with the Intel NUC 12 Enthusiast that leaked last August. The codename for the new NUC could be Serpent Canyon.
First LGA Socket for NUC👀 pic.twitter.com/rtwpLhwfVFJanuary 2, 2022
The NUC 12 Enthusiast would be a rather significant upgrade over the current NUC 11 Extreme (Beast Canyon), combining the power of Intel's Alder Lake CPUs and rumored Xe-HPG DG2 discrete graphics cards. The device can reportedly sport Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9 CPUs.
However, the NUC 12 Enthusiast's compact design, modest power delivery subsystem, and the rumored 330W power supply will likely limit the number of CPU options that the NUC can accept. Therefore, it would be a reasonable assumption that the device may only house 35W, or in a best-case scenario, 65W Alder Lake SKUs.
The timings of the leaked photographs for the NUC 12 Enthusiast suggest that Intel may have a prototype ready for CES 2022 coming up in just a few days.