A major value-added reseller of ultra-compact PCs briefly listed Intel's upcoming NUC 12 Extreme 'Dragon Canyon' desktops, revealing their prices and perhaps indicating that the new systems will be available sooner rather than later. Since the new NUCs for gamers and enthusiasts will use socketed Alder Lake CPUs, they will offer performance on par with full-size gaming desktops, but they will also cost more than their predecessors.
SimplyNUC accidentally listed Intel's NUC 12 Extreme Dragon Canyon desktops with Core i9 and Core i7 processors for perhaps a few minutes, but it was enough for @momomo_us to capture screenshots. Unfortunately, since the price list does not include any image of Intel's NUC 12 Extreme, it means that Intel has not yet supplied SimplyNUC with marketing materials covering Dragon Canyon.
As it turns out, Intel's top-of-the-range NUC12DCMi9 with a socketed Core i9-12900 processor will cost $1,714/€1,401, whereas slightly less potent Intel's NUC12DCMi7 with a Core i7-12700 chip will be priced at $1,514/€1,181, depending on where you buy. At least initially, it looks like Intel plans to offer NUC 12 Extreme systems equipped with processors and proprietary PSUs, but no other components. It is unclear whether the company will provide barebone machines.
As seen from SimplyNUC's price list, the new NUC 12 Extreme systems will be around $300/€220 more expensive than the current-generation NUC 11 Extreme PCs with built-in 11th Generation Core 'Tiger Lake' KB-series processors with eight cores. Assuming that the reseller does not try to charge extra for a highly anticipated product that promises to be in high demand, it looks like Intel intends to make its upcoming systems somewhat more expensive than their predecessors.
The key advantage of Intel's NUC 12 Extreme systems is their socketed processors, which will allow their owners to eventually upgrade their PCs with 13th Generation Core 'Raptor Lake' CPUs. Also, the same chassis promises to be compatible with Intel's forthcoming baseboard for NUC systems. So after Intel's next-generation platform, it will be possible to move on to Meteor Lake and Arrow Lake.
In addition, Intel's NUC 12 will support up to 64GB of DDR4-3200 memory using two SO-DIMMs (possibly up to 128GB with proper firmware and modules) and three M.2-2280 SSDs with a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface. The 65W socketed Alder Lake processors feature a custom cooling system featuring a vapor chamber and a blower fan.
As for connectivity, the system will offer a Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth adapter, a 10GbE network adapter (vs. 2.5GbE in case of NUC 11 Extreme), Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, and two built-in graphics output (DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 1.4) that will work with Intel's integrated GPU.
Intel promised to start selling its NUC 12 Extreme systems in the first quarter, and SimplyNUC's listings seem to confirm this timing.