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Intel NUC 11 Extreme's Tiger Lake-U Roars At 4.4 GHz

One of Intel’s unreleased NUC 11 Extreme devices has popped up in 3DMark’s database. HardwareLeaks spotted one model that packs a quad-core Tiger Lake-U processor in conjunction with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card and 8GB of memory.

Intel will reportedly divide the NUC 11 family into two branches: the NUC 11 Extreme (Phantom Canyon) for enthusiasts and gamers, and the NUC 11 Performance (Panther Canyon) for mainstream users. Predictably, the former will employ the more powerful Tiger Lake-U chips and also come with discrete graphics card options. As a quick reminder, Tiger Lake leverages Willow Cove cores, and Intel produces these new processors on the 10nm+ process node. It’s not official yet, but Tiger Lake should adopt the 11th Generation branding.

3DMark identifies the Tiger Lake-U chip inside the NUC 11 Extreme as a quad-core, eight-thread design. This Tiger Lake-U silicon appears to have a 2.3 GHz base clock and 4.4 GHz boost clock, which is quite decent for an engineering sample (ES) and better than the maximum 4.1 GHz boost found with its Ice Lake predecessors. Being unreleased silicon, many of its parameters aren’t available and could be subject to change. However, if the leaked PowerPoint slide from last year is genuine, the Tiger Lake-U chip could have a 28W TDP (thermal design power). The slide also alluded to PCIe 4.0 support.

Intel NUC 11 Extreme's Tiger Lake-U Roars At 4.4 GHz

NUC 11 Extreme With Tiger Lake-U & GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (Image credit: HardwareLeaks)

On the integrated graphics end, Tiger Lake-U is rumored to feature Gen12 Xe graphics. Nevertheless, one of the more attractive features on the NUC 11 Extreme is the possibility to enjoy the perks of having a discrete graphics card. The model from the 3DMark submission seemingly sports the mobile variant of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. You still receive the same 1,536 CUDA cores and 6GB of 12 Gbps GDDR6 memory as the desktop variant, albeit at slower clock speeds to comply with the 80W envelope.

All the information thus far puts the NUC 11 Extreme inside a 1.35-liter case, placing the footprint in the same territory as the next-generation consoles, such as the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti might not be enough to really compete with the consoles, though. Both the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X use AMD’s Navi 2x GPUs, which are good for up to 10.3 TFLOPS and 12.1 TFLOPS, respectively. The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile only delivers 4.8 TFLOPS of FP32 performance. The NUC 11 Extreme would need at least a GeForce RTX 2080 Super Mobile to match the consoles’ performance — that is, of course, assuming that Intel wants the NUC 11 Extreme to compete against the new consoles.

An unverified Intel NUC roadmap estimated the NUC 11’s arrival in the second half of this year. The roadmap dates before the coronavirus pandemic so Intel’s plans have probably changed.

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