Intel Details NUC Element Modular Mini-PC Line-Up

Intel NUC Element

Intel NUC Element (Image credit: Intel)

Intel has unveiled the details for its brand new NUC Element family of compact, modular mini-PCs. The products are classified into three different categories: compute modules, boards and chassis. 

Flexibility and modularity are the two main draws of the NUC Element. Intel's idea is to allow its customers to easily and rapidly design a system that fits their needs. More importantly, they can swap out components for others or upgrade an existing system with minimum downtime. 

Intel NUC 8 Compute Element

Intel NUC 8 Compute Element (Image credit: Intel)

The Intel NUC 8 Compute Element, codenamed Chandler Bay, measures just 3.7 x 2.6 x 0.2 inches (95 x 65 x 6mm). It'll be available with your choice of seven different Intel processors. The whole NUC Element concept is just starting out, so processor options are a bit limited currently.

The NUC 8 Compute Element leverages Intel's 8th-Generation Whiskey Lake processors that adhere to a 15W TDP (thermal design power). Offerings start from the entry level Celeron 4305U dual-core part and go up to the flagship Core i7-8665U quad-core chip.

Intel NUC 8 Compute Element CPU Specs

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ProcessorCores / ThreadsBase / Boost (GHz)Cache (MB)GraphicsGraphics Clock (MHz)TDP (W)
Intel Core i7-8665U4 / 81.9 / 4.88Intel UHD Graphics 620300 - 1,15015
Intel Core i7-8565U4 / 81.8 - 4.68Intel UHD Graphics 620300 - 1,15015
Intel Core i5-8365U4 / 81.6 / 4.18Intel UHD Graphics 620300 - 1,10015
Intel Core i5-8265U4 / 81.6 / 3.98Intel UHD Graphics 620300 - 1,10015
Intel Core i3-8145U2 / 42.1 / 3.94Intel UHD Graphics 620300 - 1,00015
Intel Pentium Gold 5405U2 / 42.3 / -2Intel UHD Graphics 610300 - 95015
Intel Celeron 4305U2 / 22.2 / -2Intel UHD Graphics 610300 - 95015

The module can feature 4GB or 8GB of soldered-down, dual-channel RAM. The models using the Pentium Gold 5405U and Celeron 4305U are the only ones that come with 64GB of onboard eMMC storage.

The Intel NUC 8 Compute Element also uses Intel's Wireless-AC 9560 solution, and, therefore, delivers a maximum theoretical throughput of up to 1.73 Gbps, as well as Bluetooth 5. 

Connectivity options include up to four USB 3.1 ports, three USB 2.0 ports, two Digital Display Interface (DDI) configurable as a DisplayPort or HDMI port, one embedded DisplayPort, HD audio and Enhanced Serial Peripheral Interface (eSPI).

The module is qualified for 24/7 operation and is backed with a limited three-year warranty.

Intel NUC Board Element

Intel NUC Rugged Board Element (Image credit: Intel)

Intel will be offering two boards to accommodate the Intel NUC 8 Compute Element modules. The NUC Pro Board Element, codenamed Butler Beach, is tailored to professional users, while the NUC Rugged Board Element, codenamed Austin Beach, is designed for more rugged environments.

The NUC Pro Board Element has a 1.3 x 3.1-inch footprint (110 x 80mm) and is available as a standalone product or with a carrier board (4.6 x 5.8 x 1 inches / 117 x 147 x 25mm) featuring its own thermal solution.

In terms of features, the NUC Pro Board Element has an M.2 PCIe x4 slot, four USB 3.1 Type-A ports, two USB 2.0 internal headers, two HDMI 2.0a ports, one embedded DisplayPort internal header, one Gigabit Ethernet port, a PWM fan header and a front panel control header.

On the other hand, the NUC Rugged Board Element comes in two variations. One measures 6.7 x 5.4 inches (170 x 136mm), while the other is a bit bigger at 7.9 x 5.4 inches (200 x 136mm). 

Ports are a pair of HDMI 2.0a, two M.2 PCIe x4 slots that are compatible with Intel Optane Memory H10, (which unites Intel's Optane memory tech with QLC 3D NAND  solid-state storage), a Gigabit Ethernet port, three USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, one internal USB 3.0 header, two internal USB 2.0 headers and two RS232 serial port headers.

Intel NUC Chassis Element

Intel NUC Rugged Chassis Element (Image credit: Intel)

Intel currently has two fanless, dust-resistant chassis for each variant of the NUC Rugged Board Element. The chassis measures 10 x 6 x 1.4 inches (254 x 152.3 x 36mm). It's made of metal and can withstand external ambient operating temperatures over 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).

The chassis is equipped with a Kensington lock for added security. It also comes with a VESA mounting plate, so it'll be able to hide itself behind a monitor or in small spaces.

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.