Several retailers have started sales of Intel’s NUC 8 Mainstream-G systems previously known as codenamed Islay Canyon. The ultra-compact form-factor PCs pack Intel’s 8th Gen Core i5/i7 processors for laptops, alongside AMD’s Radeon 540X discrete graphics, a rather rare combination.

The Intel NUC8i5INH/NUC8i7INH-series compact PCs come in conventional 4.6-inch × 4.4-inch chassis and is powered by Intel’s quad-core Core i5-8265U/Core i7-8565U CPU accompanied by AMD’s Radeon 540X discrete graphics processor (codenamed Lexa, based on Polaris architecture, featuring 512 SPs) with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory. The UCFF PC are equipped with soldered-down 8 GB of LPDDR3-1866/2133 DRAM.

The key selling feature of Intel’s NUC 8 Mainstream-G systems is a combination of Intel’s low-power Core i5-8265U/Core i7-8565U (Whiskey Lake, 15 W) and AMD’s discrete Radeon 540X that provides higher graphics performance than Intel’s UHD 630 Graphics in games, but there is a catch. As far as media playback is concerned, Intel’s modern iGPUs have numerous advantages over AMD’s Polaris, which includes VP9 10-bit decode, support for sophisticated copyright protection methods that require Intel’s SGX, and so on.

Depending on exact model, different versions of Intel’s NUC 8 Mainstream-G systems will come equipped with Intel’s Optane Memory caching SSD or a 128GB/256 GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD, along with a 1 TB 2.5-in hard drive. Besides, there will also be barebones kits without any storage devices or software installed.

As far as wireless connectivity is concerned, Intel’s NUC 8 Mainstream-G computers are equipped with the company’s Wireless-AC 9560 CNVi 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5 solution that supports up to 1.73 Gbps throughput over 160 MHz channels. On the wired side of things, the PCs have one GbE (I219-V), two display outputs (DP 1.2, HDMI 2.0b), three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 connector, an SD card reader, a 3.5-mm audio connector for headsets, and so on.

Leading retailers, such as Amazon, Newegg, Walmart, and SimplyNUC, already sell the new NUC8i5INH/NUC8i7INH-series compact PCs for $772 – $1075 depending on configuration. Considering pricing of the systems, it is not completely clear how Intel is positioning its Islay Canyon NUCs against its own Bean Canyon machines that are priced similarly, yet they feature higher CPU performance, similar GPU performance, and a better feature set when it comes to media playback.

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Source: Liliputing

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  • DanNeely - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    More than slightly smaller. At 117 cubic inches vs 42 the ASRock is almost 3x as large; and NUC has always been about making SFF as small as possible. If that's not your goal you can almost always get better bang for the buck elsewhere. Reply
  • sor - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    Agreed that “slightly” is subjective, but owning both a NUC and the A300 I think it’s an apt description. Both will mount almost unnoticed on the back of a monitor with VESA mount.

    Quoting cubic inches is a difficult comparison, as only a small increase in each dimension will grow the total significantly.
    Reply
  • V900 - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    Because the Ryzen combo you’re talking about doesn’t even come close to this in terms of performance pr watt or performance pr size. Reply
  • Alexvrb - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    Right, sor's example (which is a desktop socketed chip AND a full-power model) was a poor one for both those reasons - but there are AMD solutions that do compete well. See my reply to sor. Reply
  • sor - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    How many people are calculating performance per cubic inch? If someone’s looking for a PC small enough to mount to the back of a monitor, the A300 does it and provides better overall performance. Reply
  • Santoval - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - link

    Probably just performance per size. Performance per watt of the Ryzen system is almost certainly higher. Reply
  • notb - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    NUCs are mainly targeted at the corporate client (or at least that where you'll see them). Building and supporting a custom PC makes no sense.
    Of course there are countless enterprise PCs built around mITX, but they're relatively expensive as well.

    And obviously: NUC is a lot smaller (both case and power supply) and a lot quieter.
    Reply
  • sor - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    I conceded that if you’re looking for pre-assembly you may be willing to pay the premium. Reply
  • Alexvrb - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    I agree with you in principle, that AMD APUs offer a better value. But you need to look at the mini STX boards with embedded Ryzen. In the case of this particular dGPU-equipped NUC (paired with a 540X) a V1807B down-TDP to 35W would be a good comparison. A 12-15W V1605B would be a good comparison against an Intel solution with no dGPU. Reply
  • Dug - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    I just checked and $985 and restricted to 8GB ram and no TB3. Just not going to cut it. Mac Mini with 6core, 4 TB3 ports, and for $100 more can add 10Gb. actually makes more sense.
    I get the allure of small size and low power. I'm all for it.
    But if you can manage the size of of something smaller than a ps4, then you open up to all kinds of possibilities that don't restrict you.
    Reply

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