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Hands-on with Intel's Skull Canyon NUC, the most powerful game-ready mini-PC

Gordon Mah Ung | March 18, 2016
What the heck! An Intel NUC that can play Just Cause 2 at 1080p resolution?!

The front of the Skull Canyon NUC features an SD card reader and two USB 3.0 ports, plus a combo analog headset jack and integrated IrDA. The back really packs it on with optical and analog audio port, Gigabit ethernet, two USB 3.0 Type A ports, miniDisplayPort, and HDMI 3.0, plus a Thunderbolt 3.0 port. With the latter trio, Intel says you can drive up to three 4K UltraHD monitors at up to 60Hz.

Intel officials noted that the ethernet is a commercial-class Intel chip, and the Thunderbolt 3.0 port uses Intel’s Alpine Ridge controller, which means it will handle Thunderbolt 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps, and DisplayPort output.

The HDMI 2.0 port supports HDCP 2.2. That means if Netflix or Amazon and Hollywood ever agree to let the PC stream 4K protected content, the Skull Canyon NUC could stream it securely to your new 4K TV.

How much and when?

Intel says the bare-bones Skull Canyon NUC (you bring RAM, OS and SSD) should be available as soon as May for $650. Intel said a build with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD plus the OS, should come in at just under $1,000.


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