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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  • zepi - Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - link

    10W TDP? Atom TDP's have just skyrocketed since the first versions. I want a passively cooled machine thank you.
  • negusp - Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - link

    That's a Celeron CPU, not an Atom, though of the same architecture.

    And they're much, much faster than Atom's of yore.
  • Wilco1 - Saturday, December 17, 2016 - link

    But still can't beat your mobile phone performance...
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - link

    Intel's NUCs are among the few systems that give their budget CPUs a fair shake. Lots of other OEMs have only outfitted such processors with a single memory channel despite processors in this price bracket having supported dual channel for a while now.

    The complete system doesn't make a lot of sense though. You're paying an extra ~$75 for 2GB of memory and 32GB of storage. Neither is sufficient even for light use and wasn't even when budget 32GB-equipped systems first hit retail channels. Here we are practically drowning in cheap solid state storage and the bottom end is still shipping with those same specs. It makes a lot more sense to pick up the barebones model and outfit it accordingly.
  • CSMR - Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - link

    I think the integrated one will be the more popular. It has Windows installed, and an SSD which doesn't take up any slot. You can get an SSD+HDD combination very easily which is perfect for HTPC.

    On the other model I don't think you can take out the M.2 WiFi card and replace it with an SSD going by prevoius low-end NUCs; I could be wrong though.
  • BrokenCrayons - Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - link

    The fully-equipped model will probably sell better than the barebones one. That doesn't really make it a better deal though. After having a laptop with 32GB of storage, I can safely say that even with no applications installed aside from what it shipped with from the factory, the computer began to complain about being short of space within a couple of weeks. I ended up disabling hibernation and virtual memory to clear up enough storage for updates to run correctly. Killing off virtual memory had adverse impacts when running programs inside of 2GB of RAM since the graphics adapter insisted on reserving about a third of that memory for its usage. It was a pretty abysmal computing experience. Mind you that was on Windows 8.1. 10 might be a bit better about working in a storage-limited situation like that, but I wouldn't want less than 64GB on a Windows machine and 4GB of RAM would be preferred. In my case, that'd mean spending on upgrades right away so it makes more sense to get a barebones NUC.
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - link

    Hopefully they don't charge an arm and a leg for what is essentially a celeron barebones kit, with no keyboard, mouse, monitor, etc. I often see Dell selling full PCs with accessories for under $400, so these need to be priced adequately.
  • twotwotwo - Wednesday, December 21, 2016 - link

    Datasheet seems to confirm that the two dots on the front (also on the images of the Kaby Lake NUC) are mics; cool. Also wild that consumer Atom boxes take up to 8 GB RAM now, though that's gotta be an unusual way to configure it.

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