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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  • V900 - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    The Mac is bigger though, and uses a lot more power than this.

    But yeah, unless the size and 15W TDP isn’t important, you can get a lot more hardware for your money with a Mac Mini.

    Or get something cheaper/more powerful than the Mac Mini if you build something yourself.
  • V900 - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    There are other 8th generation Core NUCs though that have Thunderbolt 3 (1 or 2) and can take up to 32 GB RAM in two slots.

    Along with i3/i5/i7 CPUs and Intel/Iris/Vega graphics.

    True though, that this particular model doesn’t come out that great next to something like a Mac Mini.
  • PeachNCream - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    8GB of RAM is not exactly protected from expanded future needs so the fact that it can't be upgraded is reason enough to buy something else that has removable memory.
  • V900 - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    8gb is going to be more than enough for a machine like this.

    The minuscule 15W TPU is going to be a bigger limit than “only” 8gb of memory.
  • ikjadoon - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    "only" 15W TDP? Be real. These are 4C/8T CPUs without an IHS + single-core boosts to 4.6 GHz + SFF chassis.

    On laptops, the PL2 (max Turbo Boost power limit) is often 25 W. But, in a NUC chassis? PL2 @ 35-40 W with an infinite tau wouldn't surprise me.

    16 GB isn't included on a 4C/8T CPU because Intel doesn't care about the NUC's value or market.

    Further reading:
  • smilingcrow - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    Plain silly as there are plenty of cases where 8GB is not enough but a 15W TPU (sic) is fine.
    There's not always a direct correlation between CPU, RAM, Storage and GPU requirements as there are many types of workloads.
    I've lived with a 4.5W/8GB laptop and the RAM limit would be more of an issue today than the CPU which is why I have moved to a 15W/16GB.
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - link

    I can burn through 8GB and dive into swap pretty easily with a couple of fairly large spreadsheets in Windows (and have been seeing things like that happen for a good 9+ years in production). In Linux, it's even easier to oversubscribe a box with CPU non-intensive tasks and burst well outside 8GB.
  • V900 - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    Btw: While this particular model apparently has soldered RAM, Intel’s other 8th generation NUC models (Bean Canyon & co.) all have two RAM slots up to a total of 32GB.

    We can only hope that soldered RAM won’t be the standard from now on.
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - link

    Yup, its just this particular NUC and its soldered RAM situation that I think is the problem. Bean Canyon is a nice little platform that offers expansion and room for growth. I'd grab one of those ahead of this model for that reason alone.
  • V900 - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    Just a real shame that Intel doesn’t offer something with a little more oomph than a (relatively) anemic 15W CPU.

    (WHOOPS, never mind. According to their app, they offer NUC with a TDP from 15W up to 100W!)

    Gotta say though, that their offer a pretty confusing selection though.

    What’s the point in offering both this NUC (with a fairly weak CPU and an AMD GPU) AS WELL as Bean Canyon that has a more powerful CPU and Intel top of the line Iris GPU?!

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