Technology arena is now buzzing with news of the release of Intel’s ultra-compact computer form factor which Intel has named the Next Unit of Computing (NUC), and is set to rival the Raspberry Pi. The unit was first unveiled in early April at PAX East, and in London at Intel’s Platinum Summit. The palm sized NUC is a full 10×10cm Sandy Bridge Core i3 or i5 computer that is one of the most diminutive x86-compatible computers that is now available in the market. The NUC is intended to be used for digital signs and kiosks, although it may not be surprising to find it in classrooms or under television sets.
What makes Intel’s NUC special is that it features a Thunderbolt, 3.0 USB ports, and a HDMI on the back. The motherboard itself comes with two (laptop) SO-DIMM memory slots as well as mini PCIe headers. On the motherboard’s flip side, there is a CPU socket that is compatible with the majority of mobile Intel’s Core i3 and i5 processors, as well as a fan assembly and a heat sink. Although the Raspberry Pi has greater inputs as well as outputs than the Intel NCU, the NCU’s small PCIe connectors enable you to add almost any functionality. In terms of processing power, Raspberry Pi’s 7000MHz ARM SoC will be dwarfed with Intel’s Core i3 and i5 processors that the NUC boasts of.
Another thing that will surely amuse you is the fact that Intel’s NUC will enable its users to enjoy the wide x86 Windows platform, and just like it’s easy to develop for a standard Windows-based x86 PC, the NUC will be similarly easy to develop; Raspberry Pi on the contrary does not allow the user to enjoy these two perks. However, when you examine Intel NUC vs. Raspberry, you will realize that at 8.5×5.5cm, Raspberry is somewhat a little smaller and thinner than Intel’s NUC. But at 10×10 cm, the Intel NUC still fits in the class of one of the smallest full personal computers now available. The fact that the NUC is fitted with a mobile Core i5/i3 processor gives it a bit of oomph over other rivals on the x86, which is rather outstanding. The rivals can only support slow and weak VIA central processing units that are basically targeted towards embedded, low power installations.
Although Intel has not released an official price tag for the NUC, officials at Intel have indicated that when you compare the Intel NUC vs. Raspberry Pi price-wise, you should not expect the NUC to range in the hundreds or thousands. However, you should also not expect it to be as cheap as the Raspberry Pi which is currently retailing at $25. According to officials at Intel, a realistic price tag for the NUC could be around $100. Additionally, considering the fact that the NUC comes with a heat sink and fan assembly, it will probably have a pre-installed CPU-and maybe some RAM as well. Officials at Intel have indicated that you can expect the NUC to hit stores in the third quarter of the year.