Interested in a small and compact computer, but don’t really want an ARM-powered PC-on-a-stick like the MK802? Well, you might want to check out Intel’s Unit of Computing (NUC), which is now available for purchase.
The one downside to the Intel’s x86 NUC compared to one a $100 (average) ARM-based TV sticks? The price.
Indeed, whereas many of the halfway decent PCs on a stick can be had for around $75-100, Intel’s NUC starts at a rather hefty $300. However, that $300 gets you a massively more powerful computer than one of the little PCs on a stick. To be sure, Intel packs a Core i3-3217U processor inside the small 4.6 x 4.4 x 1.6-inch chassis. The machine also boasts a pair of HDMI ports, a trio of USB ports, and an integrated ethernet jack.
The system supports 7.1 channel audio and even has a mini-PCI Express card slot and a second half sized mini PCIe slot – allowing users to add additional storage via an SSD. The machine is equipped with dual memory slots, supporting up to 16 GB of RAM. The little computer ships with an external power supply providing 65 W of power. One odd thing about the machine is that the actual power cord isn’t included with the purchase, probably to keep the price down as much as possible.
If you like the idea of the above-mentioned NUC, several companies have announced plans to sell computers based on this design. If you want even more power than Intel’s reference design offers, Gigabyte is prepping a version running a Core i7 processor. This machine will certainly be more expensive than the basic Intel version, but pricing is unknown at this time.
Intel’s basic version of the NUC can be purchased online from Newegg.com right now.