According to Serve the Home, Intel is reportedly ending its first-party NUC project. The NUC, or Next Unit of Compute, was designed to bring a small form factor to desktop computers while keeping energy consumption low. Intel’s EMEA comms manager of client computing and graphics, Mark Walton, told The Verge that Intel is stopping “direct investment” into the NUC business and will allow “ecosystem partners” to continue NUC innovation and growth.
The NUC series started as part of the Ultrabook initiative in 2011 to combat Apple’s MacBook Air. Intel provided its key partners with part of a $300 million fund to compete with Apple. However, Intel needs to follow in Apple’s footsteps regarding small-form-factor computers. Apple’s transition to Apple silicon means it has all the power packed inside its new chips while maintaining the ability to keep its devices relatively light and thin.
While Intel is moving away from NUC, the minor form-factor effort for computers will be around for a while, especially if Apple has anything to say.
The Rise and Fall of NUC
Intel’s NUC was first launched in 2012 and was a stable, if not super popular, option for folks who needed to save space on their desk. It spawned various competitive options from Dell and HP, and even the Mac mini and the new M2 Mac Studio. Despite stiff competition, Apple silicon has enabled Apple’s Mac mini to outlast Intel’s tiny computer initiative.
The NUC series started humble enough but eventually led to bigger and better things, even wrangling in the gaming market. Some “Extreme” NUCs could handle full-size graphics cards and hosted various input options.
The Future of Small-Form-Factor Computing
It’s certainly the end of an era for Intel. Still, the minor form-factor effort for computers will be around for a while, especially if Apple has anything to say. As technology advances, there will likely be even more powerful and efficient small-form-factor options for consumers.