Intel's Next Unit Computing (NUC) lineup welcomes the 12th generation family with the top-of-the-range Extreme variant first in line.

During CES 2022 last month, Intel previewed the Extreme variant of the upcoming 12th generation Next Unit Computing (NUC) codenamed Dragon Canyon. While it was only shown as a bunch of components glued to a board, it triggers a few points of interest about the future of Intel's Small Form Factor (SFF) offering, especially in terms of power and upgradability. Fast forward to February 2022, and the public finally get to see the real thing.

At first glance, you could be mistaken for looking at the previous generation NUC 11 Extreme (aka Beast Canyon). While they both look identical from the outside, there has been some change inside the case. Instead of relying on a soldered-type Ball Grid Array (BGA) socket like in previous NUCs, it has been replaced by a more repair-friendly Land Grid Array (LGA) socket. While this indirectly opens the door for a future CPU upgrade, it lost one of the four M.2 key M storage slots. CPU wise, you have the option of Intel Core i7-12700 and Intel Core i9-12900 with Intel UHD Graphics 770 integrated GPU.

The front and rear view of Intel NUC 12 Extreme. Photo courtesy of Intel.
Photo: Intel

Other than the CPU upgrade and the M.2 storage slot decrease, everything is identical to the Beast Canyon with a dual-channel SODIMM DDR4 RAM slot, two USB-C Thunderbolt ports, six high-speed USB-A connectors, two Ethernet ports, an HDMI 2.0b connector, and a built-in 650W power supply with three built-in fans spinning at the top of the case. Likewise, you have a PCIe x16 slot for a desktop-grade dedicated GPU card up to 12" in length.

Intel NUC 12 Extreme with the built-in triple fans on top of the case exposed. Photo courtesy of Intel.
Photo: Intel

Dragon Canyon is expected to be available in barebone kit around Q2 2022 with an expected MSRP of $1,150 for i7 and $1,450 for i9. Meanwhile, SimplyNUC has started taking pre-orders equipped with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD, but without a pre-installed Windows OS, for $1,699 with i7 and $1,899 with i9.

Are you interested in Intel's latest NUC offering? Have you always been a big fan of SFF in the first place? Let us know in the comment section down below.

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