Intel NUC 11 Extreme ‘Beast Canyon’ could be the console killer of our dreams


Intel has released its new NUC 11 Extreme ‘Beast Canon’ mini PC, equipped with the latest 11th-generation Intel Core processors, and now supports full-length desktop graphics cards, which means this smaller form factor PC already far more powerful.

Intel’s NUC 11 is released with a variety of Intel 11th generation Core processors with three basic configurations. The two configurations offer eight-core and 16-thread processors, the Intel Core i9-11900KB and Core i7-11700B. The i9-11900KB is the only processor the NUC 11 Extreme comes with that can be overclocked. The cheapest configuration has a six-core Intel Core i5-11400H.

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The new larger eight-liter chassis has allowed Intel to equip the NUC 11 with a PCIe 4.0 x16 expansion slot, and now has enough room for a full-size graphics card. Upgrading last year’s NUC 9 Extreme 500W power supply to a 650W power supply, the NUC 11 Extreme can now support powerful graphics cards up to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080. None of the NUC 11’s basic configurations feature a dedicated graphics card, however, the Nvidia GeForce 3060 Ti or the RTX 3070 are available as additional configurations for an additional cost. Intel has added an x4 card slot supporting additional features and performance.

wccftech Benchmarked the Beast Canon configured with a Core i9-11900KB processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and found almost no difference between it and a standard, large, gaming PC.

Analysis: Is It Time For Mini PCs To Shine?

Having the same amount of power as a desktop PC in a smaller form should tempt consumers to eventually consider mini PCs as an alternative to game consoles.

Mini PCs have struggled to gain a large fan base, usually due to higher prices and fewer specifications than standard PCs. This means that computers with smaller form factors have retained a niche in the PC market, and they have had little success competing with home consoles. Valve’s failed Steam Machines come to mind.

However, mini PCs are increasingly a suitable option for PC gamers who want a console-like device for TV gaming rather than getting a PS5 or Xbox Series X.

When you add a graphics card, the NUC 11 definitely blows the new console out of the water. It is equipped with 8GB DDR4 RAM (expandable up to 64GB). It also includes four M.2 SSD slots with a 256GB NVMe SSD preinstalled. Configuring the Beast Canyon NUC Prices start at $1,599/£1149 (approx AU$2,000) with Core i9-11900KB, Core i7-11700B prices start at $1,399/£999 (approx AU$1,900) and Core i5-11400H at $1,299 (approx £1,900) 945) / AU$1,760), but seems to have already sold out.

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