The latest version of Intel’s miniscule ‘NUC’ PC is VR capable, the company says. Thanks to the power of AMD’s discrete Radeon Vega M graphics, the new NUC can power “premium” VR experiences at 90 FPS, says Intel.

Announced at the start of this week’s CES 2018, Intel has debuted a new version of its NUC computer line of tiny enthusiast PCs. The new NUC8i7HVK model comes equipped with the 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8809G with discrete Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics attached directly to the CPU. The two companies, which have been longstanding rivals, announced last year that they would begin collaborating on CPU/GPU products; the first fruits of that joint effort—Intel CPUs with on-board AMD graphics—were revealed here at CES 2018.

Intel’s 8th-Gen Core Processors with Radeon RX Vega M Graphics | Image courtesy Intel

Intel claims the new NUC is the “smallest VR capable system ever,” at just 1.2 litres in volume (221 x 142 x 39 mm). Based on the information provided by the company—which says the system is capable of 90 FPS VR gaming—we take that to mean the PC meets the typical ‘VR Ready’ specifications adopted by Oculus, HTC, and others, though the claim is not well specified by the announcement. We’ve reached out to Intel for clarity.

Intel NUC8i7HVK Specifications

    • 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8809G
    • 3.1 GHz to 4.2 GHz Turbo, Quad Core, 8 MB cache, 100W
    • Radeon™ RX Vega M GH graphics, 1063 MHz – 1190 MHz
    • Unlocked [for overclocking]
  • RAM
    • Dual channel DDR4-2400+ SODIMMs, 1.2V, 32GB maximum
  • M.2 & SDXC
    • 2x M.2 22×42/80 (key M) slots for SATA3 or PCIe x4 Gen3 NVMe or AHCI SSD, RAID-0 and RAID-1 capable
    • SDXC slot
  • Connectivity
    • 2x rear Thunderbolt™ 3 (40 Gbps) and USB 3.1 Gen2 (10 Gbps) and DisplayPort 1.2 via USB-C™ connector
    • Front USB 3.1 Gen2 via USB-C™ and front USB type-A connector
    • Front charging USB 3.0, 4x rear USB 3.0, 2x internal USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 via headers
    • Front Consumer Infrared port
  • Video Outputs
    • Front and rear HDMI 2.0a (4K 60Hz, HDR) connectors
    • DisplayPort 1.3 via 2x rear Mini DisplayPort ports, and 2x rear Thunderbolt™ USB-C™ ports
    • All ports support HDCP 2.2
  • Networking
    • 2x Intel® 10/100/1000 Mbps (i219-LM and i210-AT) Ethernet ports
    • Intel® Wireless-AC 8265 M.2 22×30 card, IEEE 802.11ac 2×2 + Bluetooth v4.2, internal antennas
  • Audio
    • Up to 7.1 multichannel digital audio via HDMI or DisplayPort signals
    • 3.5mm front headset jack, 3.5mm rear speaker / TOSLINK combo jack
  • Internal Headers
    • Common I/O header with Front Panel, CEC, 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB2.0 signals

Pricing hasn’t yet been announced, though the company says the systems will become available starting in the Spring. Prior NUC devices have ranged in price from $200–$900, though this time around Intel says the new NUC will be “sold as bare-bones kits, targeted to DIYers who are looking for small, sleek and powerful mini PCs,” which sounds decidedly more ‘premium’ than how the NUC line was positioned in the past.

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  • Jistuce

    Man, Intel… that Antec case you’re demoing next to takes me back. The 300 never goes out of style.

    • Buddydudeguy

      Must be joking? Antec cases are terrible. Case design has come a long way over the years while Antecs still look the same inside and out. Awful. Fractal and Corsair make good cases. Antec…no, not really, no.

      • Jistuce

        I don’t still USE a 300. But I still like how it looks.

        • Laurence Nairne

          I still have one – yeah it’s built like shit but hey, it holds the components in and I never was one to splash out on style – or external quality apparently…

  • Michael

    Intel just loves this AMD thing, they love it so very much, it positions them to do the impossible. AMD should have just kept the GPUs and paired it with Ryzen, that would be the end of Intel. But Intel probably offered them a deal they couldn’t resist, and of course far more market exposure. Vega GPUs will get more support and stability due to the wider adoption now. Though, it could have happened with Ryzen anyway, so I’d really like to know the complete details of what transpired to make a determination.

  • Max

    Something as portably sized as this, and they don’t throw in at least a half decent laptop battery? Laaaaame

  • Color me interested! This could be the ultimate VIVE setup… let’s see those stats!

    • Evgeni Zharsky

      No way this will run the Vive Pro on any reasonable settings.

  • Buddydudeguy

    I mean, if you like low settings and constant ASW/ reprojection. I wouldn’t touch this thing.

    But we’re making amazing progress with tech that’s for sure.

  • Papias

    I wonder if the new AMD Raven Ridge APUs will handle VR at 90fps with a small form factor?

  • VirtualViveBoy

    I’m wondering if this is could be used as low-cost alternative for current back pack PCs?

    • Rainfox Wolfstone

      I am working on one now using my Skull Canyon NUC

    • Yes. , I used Anton-Bauer battery packs, but also designed a system with Sony V-Lock batteries. You will also need to design a switching circuit if you want to go from battery to AC and back.

      • Also, you need to use either a separate touch screen to get to VR, or write a script to do so when booting up. With MS Mixed Reality, you also need a active HMDI header to fool it into believing you have a screen attached. I like having a small 7″ capacitive touch panel that I slip onto the utility belt. Sure it isn’t chic, but as you can see I am outdoors in VR. :)

  • Matias Nassi

    How about the weight? I bet the woman in the header image is doing some heavy biceps workout with the PC

  • Andrew Jakobs

    We’re almost there, I think this NUC still hasn’t got the graphical power people really want. but the next generation sure will (at least what power they expect at THIS moment).. I do know my next PC will propably be a NUC, as I’m fed up with the large box. If I want a real GPU I can always buy an external one..

    • Evgeni Zharsky

      So why can’t you buy a laptop ?

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Why would I buy a laptop with a screen I don’t need? I want a stationairy little box tucked away..

    • guest

      Yes, its such a waste of having a strong CPU that is mobile if developers are forced to rewrite code for GPU shaders!

    • WyrdestGeek

      I want 6dof-and-portable(ish) (slightly) more than I want increase in quality.

      At least it’s getting closer.

  • oompah

    Thumbs up
    Clap Clap Clap
    If this also has WiFi streaming to
    multiple VR headsets , it would become a major disruption
    (provided its affordable to 99% ppl)

  • Very Very interesting

  • Sponge Bob

    AND a little tiny 19 V battery to go with it… or power cord with adapter…

  • flamaest

    I saw these running at the Intel booth, running lone Echo at full settings. It was perfectly smooth without any issues. I then found the consumer reseller of these units in the Sands expo hall, and they are selling a unit without Ram or hard-drive for 799. You can easily get a 50000 milliamp hour battery for like 150 bucks with DC output and connect that to this unit to make a very slim and lightweight backpack solution.

    Yeah, I wish I could get this whole package with a 1080 video card, but the way it runs now is perfectly acceptable.

    The only other thing to note is that there were a few companies touting that we will very soon be able to do VR in the cloud, through a streaming box, about 199 for the Box, and not have to worry about getting a computer at all. This company was called shadow.

    I was hoping that the Nvidia Shield TV box would be able to accomplish this, but it appears that this is not the direction that Nvidia wants to go.

    • Stijn Liekens

      you could in theory strap an asrock deskmini gtx(has up to a gtx1080 mxm) to your back with the battery.