Intel has quietly published detailed specifications of miniature NUC systems based on the Apollo Lake platform on its web site. As revealed earlier this year, Intel offers two systems that can be used for both everyday computing as well as for media playback in the living room. The publication of details indicates that Intel either has started to ship the systems to customers or intends to begin their shipments in a short while.

Intel’s family of NUCs based on the Apollo Lake platform, codenamed Arches Canyon, consists of two systems: the NUC6CAYS and the NUC6CAYH. Both systems use the Intel Celeron J3455 processor (four Goldmont cores clocked at 1.5/2.3 GHz, 2 MB cache, dual-channel DRAM controller, HD Graphics 500, 10W TDP) that feature Intel’s ninth-generation graphics architecture (Gen9) as well as improved media playback engine with hardware-accelerated playback of 4K video encoded using HEVC and VP9 codecs.

The Intel NUC6CAYS is a fully populated PC that works out of the box and comes with 2 GB of DDR3L-1866 memory, 32 GB eMMC storage (from SanDisk, SK Hynix or Kingston), a wireless keyboard as well as pre-installed Windows 10 Home x64 OS. By contrast, the Intel NUC6CAYH comes as barebones, requiring DRAM and storage to work. Other than that, both Arches Canyon systems are exactly the same: they support up to 8 GB of DDR3L memory, one 2.5”/9.5 mm SSD/HDD, a 1x1 wireless module supporting IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2, a HDMI 2.0 display output, four USB 3.0 Type-A ports (one supports charging), an SDXC card reader, a TRRS mini-jack for audio and so on. One of the noteworthy features is that the entry-level NUCs have a D-Sub connector on the back to allow connectivity with cheap displays and other applications that use this header. Typically a legacy port is done at a request of one of their large customers, and/or the company intends to sell the new NUCs in developing countries.

Intel Arches Canyon NUC PCs
CPU Intel Celeron J3455
4C/4T Goldmont
1.5 - 2.3 GHz
2MB cache
10 W TDP
Graphics HD Graphics 500
12 EUs
250 - 750 MHz
PCH Integrated into CPU
Memory 2 GB DDR3L-1866 pre-installed
Two SO-DIMM slots,
up to 8 GB of DDR3L-1866
Two SO-DIMM slots,
up to 8 GB of DDR3L-1866
On-Board Storage Capacity 32 GB None
Type eMMC 5.1/5.0
Model SanDisk SDINADF4-32G-H (5.1)
Kingston EMMC32G-M525-A53 (5.1)
SK Hynix H26M64103EMR (5.0)
2.5" bay One 2.5"/9.5 mm bay, SATA3
M.2 Slot None
Wi-Fi/BT Intel Wireless-AC 316x (802.11ac 1x1 + BT 4.2)
M.2-2230 card with WiDi support
Ethernet Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller
Display Outputs D-Sub (implemented using the ITE IT6516BFN DisplayPort to VGA bridge)
HDMI 2.0 (implemented using the MegaChips MCDP2800-BCT DisplayPort 1.2a to HDMI 2.0 LSPCON)
Audio 3.5 mm TRRS audio jack
7.1 channel audio output via HDMI
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 115 × 111 × 51 mm
PSU External, 65 W
OS Pre-installed Microsoft Windows 10 Home x64 with Intel Remote Keyboard Compatible with Windows 7/8.1/10
Detailed Specifications PDF

Given the rich multimedia capabilities of Intel’s latest Apollo Lake SoCs, HDMI 2.0 connectivity as well as compatibility with 2.5” storage devices, the Arches Canyon NUCs could serve quite well as 4K-capable HTPCs. Still, keep in mind that the systems only support HDCP 1.4/1.2 and PAVP 2.0 and thus will not playback Ultra HD Blu-rays even if equipped with an appropriate external drive.

At press time, the Intel NUC6CAYS and the Intel NUC6CAYH SFF PCs were not available for sale anywhere. Official MSRPs for the systems are unknown, but one of the online stores known for taking pre-orders on unreleased items lists the NUC6CAYS for $225 and the NUC6CAYH for $158. The prices are relatively high for these kind of PCs, so we expect the actual MSRPs to be lower.

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Source: Intel

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  • damianrobertjones - Monday, December 12, 2016 - link

    Dear Intel,

    Please, please, PLEASE... make sure that they actually work instead of making people wait months.
  • Samus - Monday, December 12, 2016 - link

    Hah, yeah I returned my old NUC when it wouldn't work with my PCIe SSD and got an Gigabyte BRIX. Great machine.
  • nathanddrews - Monday, December 12, 2016 - link

    Unless I'm reading this wrong, the MegaChips HDMI 2.0 LSPCON also supports HDCP 2.2:
  • Shadowmaster625 - Monday, December 12, 2016 - link

    OMG I cant wait to get my hands on the latest and greatest 2007 cpu performance. I want to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of cpu nowhereness.
  • Wilco1 - Monday, December 12, 2016 - link

    What is really mind boggling is that it's just as fast as an old phone like the Galaxy S6...
  • negusp - Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - link

  • scottjames_12 - Monday, December 12, 2016 - link

    Outright performance might not be that impressive, but performance per watt has certainly improved since 2007.
  • Arnulf - Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - link

    "Outright performance" is likely to lag behind Core2 Q6600 ...

    But yeah, between move from 65 nm process to 45 nm, 32 nm, 22 nm + implementation of FinFETs and finally 14 nm, Appolo Lake does consume less power - for inferior performance.
  • Meteor2 - Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - link

    A Q6600 is no slouch. Really, how much computing power do you need in a box this small and discrete?
  • beginner99 - Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - link

    Yeah you gotta be wondering when the main selling point of an intel CPU is the iGPU (VP9 and HEVC decode).

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