Amazon, Newegg, and Walmart have started to sell Intel’s Crimson Canyon NUC that is based on Cannon Lake processors produced using the company’s 10 nm process technology. Availability of the NUC8i3CY-series UCFF PCs at major retailers indicated that Intel is making its 10 nm CPUs in rather sizeable volumes.

The Intel NUC8i3CY-series UCFF PCs are powered by Intel’s dual-core Core i3-8121U processor paired with soldered-down 4 GB or 8 GB of LPDDR4-2666 memory and AMD’s Radeon 540 dGPU (codenamed Lexa, based on Polaris architecture featuring 512 SPs) with 2 GB of GDDR5. The computer is equipped with 1 TB SATA hard drive, but it also has an M.2-2280 slot for a SATA or a PCIe SSD. When it comes to connectivity, the new NUCs are outfitted with Intel’s Wireless-AC 9560 CNVi 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5 solution that supports up to 1.73 Gbps throughput over 160 MHz channels. In addition, the systems have one GbE, two HDMI 2.0a outputs, four USB 3.0 Type-A ports (one supporting charging), an SD card reader, a TRRS audio connector for headsets, and a digital audio connector for 7.1-channel sound systems.

Intel Crimson Canyon NUC PCs
CPU Intel Core i3-8121U
2.2 - 3.2 GHz
4 MB cache
15 W TDP
Graphics AMD Radeon 540 GPU
512 stream processors
32 texture units
16 ROPs
2 GB GDDR5 memory
PCH Integrated into CPU
Memory 4 GB LPDDR4-2666 8 GB LPDDR4-2666
Storage 2.5-inch 1 TB HDD pre-installed
M.2 M.2-2280 slot supporting SSDs and Intel Optane Memory caching SSDs
Wi-Fi/BT Intel Wireless-AC 9560
802.11ac Wi-Fi + BT 5
Ethernet Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller (i219-V)
Display Outputs 2 × HDMI 2.0a
Audio 3.5 mm TRRS audio jack
7.1 channel audio output via HDMI
Optical output
IR Consumer Infrared (CIR) sensor on the front panel
USB 4 USB 3.0 Type-A (5 Gbps), one with charging
Other I/O SDXC card reader with UHS-I support
Dimensions 117 × 112 × 52 mm | 4.6 × 4.4 × 2.04 inch
PSU External, 90 W
OS Pre-installed Microsoft Windows 10 Home x64

Intel's NUC8i3CYSM and NUC8i3CYSN UCFF PCs were announced several months ago and were available from smaller retailers, possibly because the volumes were not large. Availability at Amazon and Walmart indicates that Intel can now offer relatively large volumes of its chips produced at 10 nm node.

When it comes to performance, Cannon Lake has its perks, such as AVX-512 support, though they may not be that obvious in the SFF space as they are in the HPC/HEDT space. Obviously, AMD’s Radeon 540 should also be faster than Intel’s UHD 630 Graphics in games, but keep in mind that when it comes to media playback Intel’s contemporary iGPUs have certain advantages over AMD’s Polaris (e.g., VP9 10-bit decode, support for sophisticated copyright protection methods that require Intel’s SGX, etc.).

Intel's Core Architecture Cadence
Core Generation Microarchitecture Process Node Release Year
2nd Sandy Bridge 32nm 2011
3rd Ivy Bridge 22nm 2012
4th Haswell 22nm 2013
5th Broadwell 14nm 2014
6th Skylake 14nm 2015
7th Kaby Lake 14nm+ 2016
8th Kaby Lake-R
Coffee Lake-S
Kaby Lake-G
Coffee Lake-U/H
Whiskey Lake-U
Amber Lake-Y
Cannon Lake-U
9th Coffee Lake Refresh 14nm** 2018
Unknown Ice Lake (Consumer) 10nm? 2019?
Cascade Lake (Server)
Cooper Lake (Server)
Ice Lake (Server)
* Single CPU For Revenue
** Intel '14nm Class'

The Intel NUC8i3CYSM with 4 GB of RAM and 1 TB HDD currently costs $540 at, which is in line with MSRP of $530 announced in August. Newegg sells the same product for $533.6. Meanwhile, Walmart carries the version with 8 GB of RAM for $570.

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Source: Dylan522p/Twitter

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  • KateH - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison. This CPU+GPU combo is in a much lower power (and cost? idk) bracket than the Ryzen APU so of course the APU will have higher performance. The R5 2500U would be a more apt comparison- and i imagine would outperform this i3 due to more cores.
  • HStewart - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    I think the main purpose of this NUC is get features of Cannon Lake out developer before they release - primary AVX 512. This is obviously not Intel's final 10nm product - so they are releasing it in a limited product, Ice Lake next year is suppose to be actual product.

    Keep in mind 10nm is just a number - so 10nm from one vendor is not the same as 10nm - just because one company has a lower number is better. I would not doubt Intel is going back to drawing boards on product to make sure of that.
  • sa666666 - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    Why do you keep repeating that 10nm is just a number? Is it possibly because the competition is doing better? And if the tables were reversed and Intel had 7nm right now, would you be still saying that it's 'just a number'? The answer to that question determines whether you are an Intel apologist or not, so I suspect we won't get an answer.
  • Meteor2 - Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - link

    Because it’s just a number. In all meaningful metrics, Intel’s 10nm and TSMC’s 7nm are equal. Well, apart from production volumes ;-)
  • KateH - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    "Intel Markets Engineering Sample CPU to Public in Effort to Raise Investor Confidence"

    another publicity stunt to allow Intel say they "shipped 10nm in 2017/18" and technically not be lying. allegedly this isn't even the same 10nm process that Intel will be using when they actually launch 10nm CPUs across the product line; after the failures that led to this mediocre i3 Intel is reportedly making significant changes to the process.

    all that said i would love to see a detailed comparison between this NUC and the Kaby/Coffee-lake versions in the same bracket. an apples-apples comparison of performance, power, heat, and die/package size may be illuminating
  • Meteor2 - Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - link

    Indeed as the last row of the “generations” table in the article shows, Intel is in a mess. It doesn’t have a new microarchitecture forthcoming, and it doesn’t know what, if any, <14nm process node it’s going to end up with in a year or two. Contrast with AMD and ARM...
  • sorten - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    My money is with (and waiting for) AMD's Zen2 for this generation. Intel has delayed 10nm for too long.
  • octoviaa - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    The first table titled 'Intel Crimson Canyon NUC PCs' didn't play well with reader mode in safari.
    The content of the table is practically unreadable as the text and background have the same colour: white. Surprisingly the second table: 'Intel's Core Architecture Cadence' is fine.
    I found this problem is common with Anandtech website, not sure if it is a bug in Safari under osx Mojave.
  • nicolaim - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    Lack of USB-C is disappointing.
  • UkeNeverSeme - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    All this proves is that 10nm yields are terrible. The only part they can produce is a 2C low performance part, indicative of massive problems with yield.

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