Home tech Intel’s Weirdly Named Mini PCs Seem to Be Disappearing

Intel’s Weirdly Named Mini PCs Seem to Be Disappearing

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Enlarge / A stack of Intel NUC mini PCs.

Andrew Cunningham

Since 2012, Intel has been designing and marketing its own line of mini PCs. The next unit in the computer series (NUC – rhymes with yuck – still a weird name) has always been closely associated with a series of Mac mini-like desktop computers, but over the years it has grown to include also compact workstations and gaming systems. like mini servers with multiple ethernet ports.

But it looks like Intel is throwing in the towel on NUC, according to a statement provided to The Verge earlier today.

Intel spokesman Mark Walton said Intel “has decided to stop direct investment in the next unit of the computing business (NUC) and direct our strategy to enable our partners to ‘ecosystem to pursue innovation and growth in NUC’. That statement leaves some wiggle room — Intel could still work with partners to bring NUCs or NUC-like products to market — but it seems the days of Intel designing its own desktop PCs are over.

Walton also said that Intel plans to continue “continued support for NUC products currently in the market”, so it looks like owners of existing NUC systems should still be able to get driver and BIOS updates and a warranty support for the foreseeable future.

The first NUC, based on a third-generation Intel Core chip using the Ivy Bridge architecture, was released at a time when Intel was getting aggressive with its newest “ultrabook” initiative. In response to the Apple MacBook Air, Intel gave computer companies part of a $300 million fund to develop new laptops that combine low-voltage (but relatively high-performance) processors, semi- Fast drivers and thin, light designs that aren’t weighed down by legacy parts like hard drives, DVD compact discs. Twelve years later, you still see the ultrabook designation splashed around a bit, but MacBook Air laptops have taken over the laptop market so completely that “ultrabook” and “regular laptop” are indistinguishable in most cases.

The NUC was an attempt to bring the speed, size, and low power consumption of an ultrabook to the desktop world, replacing unsightly desktops with something you can fit in the palm of your hand. NUC-style mini PCs haven’t taken over the desktop market the way ultrabooks have dominated the laptop market, but the NUC is still held back by a large ecosystem of similar mini PCs, including many are ultimately cheaper and easier to buy than most new urban communities. Models include but are not limited to Dell Optiplex Micro, Lenovo ThinkCentre Tiny, HP ProDesk and EliteDesk systems, Gigabyte’s Brix systems, and a number of models from PC motherboard manufacturers such as Asus, ASRock, and Mac minis and Apple’s Mac Studio.

The demise of the NUC is at least partly due to Intel’s recent financial troubles – the company has had a few tough quarters since the end of the pandemic-era PC boom, losing billions of dollars to its business consumer, workstations and servers. stumble. The company has already made layoffs and cut executive salaries, and announced plans to sell a pre-built server business in April.

Although Intel is still investing in a few non-CPU product lines — the company said it remains committed to its emerging GPU business — CEO Pat Gelsinger is betting the company’s future on its “IDM” strategy. 2.0”, in which Intel is progressing. manufacturing facilities for external chip designers. This will put Intel in competition with companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC), Samsung and GlobalFoundries.

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