Intel NUC 13 Pro Arena Canyon review: Raptor Lake brings additional gains

Intel NUC 13 Professional Area Canyon overview: Raptor Lake brings extra good points

Extremely-small type issue PCs have turn into brilliant spots within the PC market over the previous decade after Intel launched the NUC. NUCs started as a substitute for cumbersome desktop computer systems in purposes the place the bodily footprint and system capabilities had been considerably higher than precise necessities.

The corporate celebrated the tenth anniversary of its introduction final yr with the introduction of the primary UCFF NUC household with hybrid processors. The Alder Lake-based Wall Avenue Canyon 4″x4″ NUCs have delivered vital enhancements over the earlier technology in efficiency per watt and worth proposition. Just some quarters later, Intel updates its Professional line of UCFF NUCs with the 13e Common primary processors (Raptor Lake). The brand new Area Canyon NUCs carry over the identical {hardware} options because the Wall Avenue Canyon SKUs, with the principle replace being the modification of the interior SoC.

Raptor Lake-P supplies extra efficiency and energy effectivity good points over Alder Lake-P. We have already seen one in every of Intel’s companions – ASRock Industrial – take the lead in delivering Raptor Lake-P primarily based UCFF mini PCs. Intel’s Area Canyon NUCs goal the identical market section because the ASRock Industrial NUC(S) BOX-13xxP/D4 SKUs. Nonetheless, Intel plans to supply a extra intensive checklist of processor decisions, together with barebones and preset choices for every.

Intel sampled us with a pre-production model of the NUC13ANKi7 – the slim model of the NUC 13 Professional geared up with a Core i7-1360P processor. This overview supplies a complete overview of the efficiency profile of the system and the way it compares to the earlier technology in addition to different opponents available in the market.

Product presentation and impressions

Intel’s Raptor Lake processors construct on the heterogeneous computing paradigm launched with Alder Lake’s hybrid processors. Whereas desktop processors have benefited from some minor microarchitectural tweaks for higher efficiency, the -P sequence owes its enhancements to the maturity of the Intel 7 manufacturing course of. Up to date voltage-frequency curves have allowed Intel to extend turbo clocks for efficiency and effectivity cores. Some I/O enhancements akin to extra Thunderbolt 4 ports and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 assist are additionally deliberate for Raptor Lake-P, however adoption relies on different board element decisions.

Intel’s Area Canyon NUCs are visually an identical to their Wall Avenue Canyon counterparts – proper right down to the situation of the I/O ports and inner board structure. In truth, one of many primary causes Area Canyon got here out a number of quarters from Wall Avenue Canyon appears to be the similarity of the interior platform. Intel determined to maintain the adjustments to a minimal by utilizing the identical DDR4 SODIMM assist and Burnside Bridge retimers on the Sort-C ports. Because of this the Thunderbolt 4 ports on the Area Canyon NUCs don’t assist USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, similar to the Wall Avenue Canyon NUCs.

There are, nevertheless, distinctive SKUs within the Area Canyon NUC line in comparison with the Wall Avenue Canyon NUCs. There are a number of fashions utilizing the Core i7-1370P and Core i7-1370PE particular processors (which have a 6P+8e configuration not accessible in Alder Lake-P). As well as, some references use processors meant for the embedded market. These have a 5-year availability window (in comparison with the 3-year lifecycle for others). Total, Intel plans to launch round 30 completely different Area Canyon NUC SKUs (boards/skinny and massive kits/mini PCs out of the field) over the subsequent few quarters.

Intel’s line of 4″x4″ Mini PCs (marketed because the Professional) has advanced to focus on skilled use circumstances. Conserving this in thoughts, the corporate has stored a number of SKUs with vPro Enterprise options for simpler deployment and administration by IT departments. The brand new vPro programs supply hardware-based distant administration with cloud-based manageability, Intel AMT for out-of-band connectivity with KVM assist, {hardware} alarms, and distant energy management.

The corporate additionally presents the NUC Professional Software program Suite (NPSS) to make sure the provision of digital signage purposes. This includes connecting one HDMI port to the principle show and the opposite HDMI port to the second HDMI port of one other Intel NUC. By default, each NUCs drive their very own major shows. When the NPSS instrument detects a heartbeat failure, the operational NUC drives each shows – its personal, in addition to that of the failing system. The instrument additionally consists of software displays to restart unresponsive purposes and specific HDMI-CEC management through diagnostic software program.

The compact nature of those programs additionally lends itself to make use of in IoT and edge computing purposes in autos, healthcare, trade and schooling. From a reliability standpoint, Intel qualifies all NUC 13 Professional programs for twenty-four/7 operation in the course of the 3-year guarantee interval. These NUCs include state-of-the-art options (for a UCFF system) akin to assist for Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, and 4 simultaneous 4Kp60 shows. Options like show emulation additionally make it pleasant for headless operation and digital signage deployments.

On the commercial design entrance, Intel has (fortunately) determined to go along with a matte-textured chassis with an “intel nuc” brand embedded on high. The fan assist and thermal design appear to be carried over from earlier UCFF NUCs. The high-end SKU primarily based on the Core i7-1370P would have been extra fascinating to overview as a result of additional cores, however the Core i7-1360P mannequin we’re reviewing right now is basically an analogous substitute for the NUC12WSKi7 which was reviewed intimately earlier this yr. The packaging of our pre-production pattern doesn’t replicate the contents of the retail field. The pattern comes with a 120W AC adapter (20V to 6A), cable administration screw, and mounting screws.

The equipment additionally included a 512GB NVMe PCIe 4.0 x4 SSD (Samsung PM9A1) and a pair of x 16GB DDR-3200 SODIMMs (Kingston ValueRAM).

Home windows 11 Dwelling got here pre-installed (OEM deployment), however we selected to erase the disk and set up Home windows 11 Enterprise 21H2 with the most recent updates. Generally, upgrading to Microsoft’s newest model (22H2) runs into efficiency points and surprising benchmarking habits. The complete specs of our overview pattern (as examined) are summarized within the desk beneath.

Intel NUC13ANKi7 (Area Canyon) Specs
(as examined)
Processor Intel Core i7-1360P
Alder Lake 4P+8e/16T, as much as 5.0GHz(P)/3.7GHz(e)
Intel 7.18MB Stage 2.35W
(PL1=40W, PL2=64W)
Reminiscence Kingston ValueRAM KVR32S22D8/16 DDR4-3200 SODIMM
22-22-22-52 @ 3200MHz
2×16 GB
Chart Intel Iris Xe graphics card
(96EU at 1.50GHz)
HDDs) Samsung PM9A1 MZVL2512HCJQ
(512 GB; M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe;)
(Samsung 6e Gen. V-NAND 128L (136T) CCM 3D; Samsung Elpis S4LV003 controller; OEM model of the 980 PRO)
Networking 1 RJ-45 2.5GbE (Intel I226-V)
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX211 (2×2 802.11ax – 2.4 Gbit/s)
audio Digital audio with Bitstreaming assist on HDMI ports
3.5mm stereo headphone jack (Realtek audio codec)
Video 2x HDMI 2.1 (4Kp60)
2x Show Port 2.1 with HBR3 over Thunderbolt 4
Numerous I/O ports 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-A (Entrance)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-A (rear)
1x USB 2.0 Sort-A (rear)
2x Thunderbolt 4 (Rear) (Sort-C)
Working system Home windows 11 Enterprise (22000.1696)
Pricing (Avenue pricing March 27e2023)
United States TBD (barebones)
$(148 + TBD) (as configured, no OS)
Full specs Intel NUC13ANKi7 Specs

Within the subsequent part, we take a look at the assorted BIOS choices and observe them with an in depth platform evaluation.

Author: ZeroToHero

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