Since 2012, Intel has designed and sold its own line of mini PCs. The next unit of computing (NUC- rhymes with yuck) series has always looked like Mac mini-like desktop computers, but over the years, it’s grown to include compact workstations and gaming systems as well as small servers with multiple Ethernet ports.
But Intel appears to be throwing in the towel on the NUC, according to a statement made available to The Verge earlier today.
Intel spokesperson Mark Walton said that Intel “has decided to discontinue direct investment in the next unit of its computing (NUC) business and direct our strategy to enable our ecosystem partners to continue innovation and growth at UNC.” This statement leaves room for maneuver — Intel could still work with partners to bring NUC or NUC-like products to market — but it appears that the days of Intel designing its own desktop PCs are over.
Walton also said that Intel plans to continue “ongoing support for NUC products currently on the market,” so it appears that owners of existing NUC systems should still be able to get driver and BIOS updates and warranty support for the foreseeable future.
The first NUC, based on a third-generation Intel Core chip using the Ivy Bridge architecture, appeared while Intel was leaning aggressively towards its then-new “ultrabook” initiative. In response to the Apple MacBook Air, Intel has given computer companies part of a $300 million fund to develop new laptops that combine low-voltage (but relatively high-performance) processors, fast solid-state storage, and thin and light designs that don’t exist. Don’t burden yourself with older parts like hard drives. Compact DVDs. Twelve years later, you still see the ultrabook designation splashed around a bit, but the MacBook Air laptops have so completely captured the laptop market that “ultrabook” and “regular laptop” are indistinguishable in most cases.
The NUC was an attempt to bring the speed, size, and low-power use of an ultrabook to the desktop world, replacing unsightly desktops with something you can hold in the palm of your hand. NUC-style mini PCs haven’t captured the desktop market in the same way that ultrabooks have dominated the laptop market, but the NUC is still holding onto a large ecosystem of similar mini PCs, many of which are cheaper and easier to buy than most. new urban communities. Models include but are not limited to Dell’s Optiplex Micro, HP’s ThinkCentre Tiny, HP’s ProDesk and EliteDesk Mini systems, Gigabyte’s Brix systems, and a number of models from PC motherboard makers such as Asus and ASRock, and Apple’s Mac mini and Mac Studio.
The NUC’s end is due at least in part to Intel’s recent financial difficulties — the company has had some tough quarters since the end of the pandemic-era PC boom, losing billions of dollars to consumers, workstations, and servers. bog down. The company has already been laying off workers and cutting executive salaries in response, and announced plans to sell its pre-built server business in April.
Although Intel is still investing in a few product lines that aren’t processors — the company said it remains committed to its nascent GPU business — CEO Pat Gelsinger is betting the company’s future on his “IDM 2.0” strategy, which Intel is ahead of. . Chip manufacturing facilities for external chip designers. This will put Intel in competition with companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC), Samsung and GlobalFoundries.