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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  • JoeDuarte - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    I don't understand what this product is, or how it relates to the Nucs we already had. Nucs have supported DDR4 for years, so why does this product use LPDDR3? Reply
  • abufrejoval - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    I don't understand "the catch": Why should it matter if the codec/media features of the AMD dGPU are lacking, unless the HD630 iGPU of the Whiskey Lake had be cut off the chip or disabled?

    But from what little material seems available on these Kaby-Lake G type APUs, the Intel iGPU is all there and usable, not like those first 10nm chips (and NUCs).

    What these are, though, is most likely Apple rejects/oversupply. These things are expensive to make, Apple custom designs using EMIB or similar to tie the dGPU to the i7 using 8 PCIe lanes, which then simply means they won't have any PCIe lanes left over for TB3.

    So Intel must have made quite a batch of these and now Apple won't take more than they can sell as notebooks and Intel is selling off excess stock via NUC.

    LDDR3 vs. DDR4: With the AMD dGPU running on GDDR5, memory bandwidth for pure CPU workloads shouldn't be an issue any more: That's why they have all these caches.

    Soldered on memory: The cooling solution seems to cover too much area to leave space for DRAM sockets and these are Apple rejects after all. And you get 10GB effective memory for gaming, because at least your frame and texture buffers are going to be on the dGPU.

    I guess in terms of gaming power they'd compete with the high EU Ice Lake 10nm designs, but actual power consumption on game workloads signifcantly higher, not that it matters that much in a NUC with a well designed fan.
    Reply
  • npz - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    With Skull Canyon, you can only choose the AMD video path as I understand it and I've read it's the same here. It isn't like a laptop where you can switch between onboard igpu or dgpu, hence the criticism

    And with regards to RAM, no matter how you slice it, that's just freaking terrible, both the DDR3 and being soldered. It's almost as if they're crippling their own AMD hybrid product so that it doesn't cannibalize the other NUCs. How is soldered-on small and old DDR3 tied to being Apple rejects?
    Reply
  • patel21 - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - link

    I would also like to know which specific Apple model's rejects these chips can be of. Reply
  • HStewart - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - link

    I don't see this as being Apple Rejects - except in the GPU - Apple site has not product using 540X - Lowest GPU they use is 555X

    Of course NUC is different group than CPU group, but the logical course of action would be Intel to come up with Whiskey Lake - G with update GPU but then again with new GPU coming internally why bother.

    Keep in mind there are people that create Mac clones which this might be good platform. I really never understand why Apple did not come out with Kaby Lake G MacBook. To me sounds like a perfect Mac combination.
    Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - link

    Anton,

    Do you know if these have lost Quicksync support? Do the CPU's still have an enabled GPU or is it fused off?
    Reply
  • JKJK - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - link

    DDR3, old wifi. Wtf is this Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - link

    *LP*DDR3, once again Intel still doesn't support LPDDR4 and won't until Ice Lake. Reply
  • Santoval - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - link

    $772 to $1075?! They are so exorbitantly priced to the point of being risible. Intel are still trying to sell seaweed for the price of silk ribbons... Reply
  • Haawser - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - link

    I think this is going to be a hard sell vs an ASRock DeskMini A300 with an R5 3400G in it.

    I mean, barebones it's only $149 (with wifi)..so you're probably looking at under $500 for a 16GB build with a 256GB SSD and R5 3400G ? Not sure $772 and up makes much sense in comparison.
    Reply

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