The Intel NUC 11 Extreme Compute Element (codename Driver Bay) might be right around the corner. A user from the Chiphell forums (opens in new tab) has shared a screenshot of the alleged specifications for the device, which appears to leverage Intel's forthcoming 11th Generation Tiger Lake-H 45W chips.
If the information is legit, the NUC 11 Extreme Compute Element will be available with three processor options that may come in the shape of the Core i9-11980HK, Core i7-11800H or Core i5-11400H. The Core i9 and Core i7 Tiger Lake-H 45W chips will arrive with eight Willow Cove cores, while the Core i5 will stick to six cores. All three have Hyper-Threading technology, of course.
The NUC 11 Extreme Compute Element can be outfitted with up to 64GB of DDR4-3200 dual-channel memory. It also comes equipped with three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots with support for M.2 drives up to 80mm in length. One of the M.2 slots communicates directly with the Tiger Lake-H processor, while the remaining two are attached to the PCH itself. There is support for RAID 0 and RAID 1 arrays. The unit is compatible with Intel's Optane Memory as well.
If the Tiger Lake-H chip isn't paired with a discrete graphics option, then the Xe LP graphics engine will do all the heavy lifting. The NUC 11 Extreme Compute Element provides one HDMI 2.0b port and two Thunderbolt 4 ports so you can connect up to three 4K monitors to the device.
Depending on the SKU, the NUC 11 Extreme Compute Element may sport 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet and/or 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports. It also offers Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 connectivity.
The NUC 11 Extreme Compute Element may be a tiny device, but it supplies plenty of USB ports. There are a total of six USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports as well as two USB 3.1 headers and two USB 2.0 headers. Its audio capabilities include 7.1 multichannel audio that's made possible through the HDMI or DisplayPort signals.
Since the NUC 11 Extreme Compute Element is based on Tiger Lake-H 45W processors, it's reasonable to expect the device to hit the market once Intel officially launches the aforementioned chips. Tiger Lake-H 45W laptops are expected to land in the second quarter of this year so the NUC 11 Extreme Compute Element shouldn't be far behind.