When Intel conducted a short-lived experiment that put AMD graphics inside an Intel processor, it led to one of the most diminutive yet capable gaming PCs ever made: the Hades Canyon NUC, aka the NUC 8. That wasn’t a computer you could really meaningfully upgrade, though. That’s where its successor, the NUC 9 Extreme “Ghost Canyon,” may excel — letting you swap out the CPU, GPU, memory, storage, and ports with a minimum of effort.
Tonight, Intel gave a sneak peek at the “Ghost Canyon” at CES 2020 in Las Vegas, confirming a leak that we’ve been wondering about for months: the existence of an entire gaming PC built around Intel’s NUC Compute Element initiative to turn its CPUs into swappable cartridges for easily upgradable computers. The leaks said this computer would be just 5 liters in volume, practically as small as a game console, and that’s just what Intel confirmed this evening, as well as the ability to swap out those “Compute Element” CPU cartridges.
Intel isn’t revealing everything just yet — really, the only official details are what you see in the slide above — but the company says it’ll support up to Intel’s H-series (read: powerful laptop-grade, but not desktop) Core i9 processors, and that it has partners on board that’ll be customizing the system as well. Traditionally, Intel sells its NUC computers as barebones systems where you need to provide your own memory, storage, and operating system, so it’s possible that partners will add those parts (and perhaps a graphics card) for you.
If the truly extensive leak at the Chinese Koolshare forums is correct, this could be quite the intriguing mini-PC. We’re hoping to get our hands on it later this week.