Intel’s latest NUC gets detailed

Intel’s Next Unit of Computing (NUC) is a small form factor PC designed by Santa Clara. The first-gen unit is based on the Sandy Bridge Celeron CPU, the subsequent iteration built around the Ivy Bridge Core i3 and Core i5 processors, while the third is equipped with an Haswell SoC.

As Liliputing’s Brad Linder reports, Intel recently decided to make the uber-mini PC just slightly slightly bigger so that it can accommodate a 2.5 inch hard drive and not just an SSD.

Legit Reviews got an early look at new model, which is about 0.6 inches thicker than the original, but still small enough to hold in the palm of your hand,” writes Linder. “According to LR, the system takes just about 20 seconds to boot whether you use an mSATA or full-sized SATA III solid state drive.”

The primary advantage of the new drive bay? Users can now pack two drives in a NUC, says Linder, choosing between the speed of an SSD and the low cost-per-gigabyte value of a large hard drive.

Readers who are not interested in an Intel-based NUC but still want a mini PC may also want to check out two new Zotac NANO systems powered by ARM processors running Google’s Android or Ubuntu Linux.

The latest Nano PCs are slated to launch in the second quarter of 2014 with $100-$150 price tags. Both models feature 1 GHz Freescale i.MX6 ARM Cortex-A9 quad-core processors, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of flash storage, a 2.5 inch drive bay and an SD card reader. Additional specs include four USB 2.0 ports, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet and HDMI output.