The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is just around the corner and, if some recent reports are to be believed, so is the announcement of a new generation of Intel’s Next Unit of Computing (NUC) range of pint-sized PC kits and boards. A bunch of images said to show next-generation NUC units quietly appeared on Intel’s own website late last month, where they sat unnoticed until the folks over at ComputerBase.de stumbled on them a few days back.
A longtime reader of Maximum PC discovered his passion for building computers from reading our magazine, and now several years later, he's on Kickstarter trying to raise funds for Neutron. What is Neutron, exactly? Neutron is a NUC-like mini PC that's designed to offer the same performance as found in desktop towers, but in a form factor that can literally fit in the palm of your hand.
One thing you always had to account for when purchasing a Zbox or any other pint-sized system from Zotac was that you''d have to install an operating system. That entailed plugging in a USB optical drive or using a flash memory stick, or at least it used to. In a change of pace, Zotac has made available four different Zbox Plus systems pre-installed with Windows 8.1 with Bing.
Watch out Raspberry Pi, you're now swimming in Shark infested waters, or at least you soon will be. For those interested, Microsoft's Sharks Cove development board is now available to pre-order. A U.K. vendor has it listed for £192.99, or just a little shy of $330 in U.S. dollars. That's quite a bit more expensive than Raspberry Pi, though it's also more fully featured, hence the higher price tag.
At some point in the future, there will be a brand new version of the Raspberry Pi, likely dubbed Raspberry Pi 2. For now, however, the Raspberry Pi Foundation decided to tweak the original model one final time by implementing several requested upgrades, and what emerged is the Model B+. It uses the same BCM2835 application processor as the Model B and still has 512MB of RAM. Heck, it even costs the same (or at least it's supposed to) -- $35. So, what's new?
A new member is all set to join the BRIX DIY mini PC range Gigabyte debuted last year. Available in green and black, the new “BIX Gaming” PC kit combines a 4th generation Intel Core i5/i7 processor with a dedicated Nvidia graphics card to deliver what the company claims is a “miniature gaming powerhouse.”
This mini PC comes standard with an Intel Core i7 4800MQ processor
Stealth specializes in small PCs that offer up big performance, and it's newest model -- LPC-681 mini PC -- looks to be no exception. Measuring just a little bigger than a NUC, Stealth's new LPC-681 mini PC brings an Intel Core i7 4800MQ (Haswell) mobile processor to the tiny PC party, along with support for up to 16GB of DDR3L RAM (4GB included in the base configuration) and a 120GB solid state drive that comes standard.
Xi3 may have found a willing partner in the SFF space
There was quite a bit of mystery and intrigue surrounding Xi3 Corporation's Piston PC at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) two years ago, not to mention confusion over whether or not it would become Valve's rumored (at the time) Steam Box. It wasn't mean to be -- Valve has since launched a Steam Machine initiative, but Xi3 hasn't given up on SFF systems. Instead, Xi3 has partnered with Intel to build and sell next-generation "Micro-Mini PCs," which will include Intel's NUC line, the company announced today.
Intel's attempt at infiltrating the mini PC market with its Next Unit of Computing (NUC) device has been met with some growing pains, one of the first of which is it had a tendency to lock up unless you removed the internal Wi-Fi card. That's long been fixed, though there have been reports of other issues, such as a USB 3.0 bug. A new revision NUC is supposed to squash the USB 3.0 bug, along with a few other issues.
One thing Zotac says it always wanted to do was to offer a pint-sized PC capable of playing games. Little things always got in the way of that -- you know, things like performance and heat dissipation. In that way, Intel's Haswell architecture and integrated Iris Pro 5200 graphics are quite literally game changers. Using those parts, Zotac entered CeBIT 2014 wielding a pair of new Zbox E-Series mini PCs designed for gamers.