Amazon, Newegg, and Walmart have started to sell Intel’s Crimson Canyon NUC that is based on Cannon Lake processors produced using the company’s 10 nm process technology. Availability of the NUC8i3CY-series UCFF PCs at major retailers indicated that Intel is making its 10 nm CPUs in rather sizeable volumes.

The Intel NUC8i3CY-series UCFF PCs are powered by Intel’s dual-core Core i3-8121U processor paired with soldered-down 4 GB or 8 GB of LPDDR4-2666 memory and AMD’s Radeon 540 dGPU (codenamed Lexa, based on Polaris architecture featuring 512 SPs) with 2 GB of GDDR5. The computer is equipped with 1 TB SATA hard drive, but it also has an M.2-2280 slot for a SATA or a PCIe SSD. When it comes to connectivity, the new NUCs are outfitted with Intel’s Wireless-AC 9560 CNVi 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5 solution that supports up to 1.73 Gbps throughput over 160 MHz channels. In addition, the systems have one GbE, two HDMI 2.0a outputs, four USB 3.0 Type-A ports (one supporting charging), an SD card reader, a TRRS audio connector for headsets, and a digital audio connector for 7.1-channel sound systems.

Intel Crimson Canyon NUC PCs
CPU Intel Core i3-8121U
2.2 - 3.2 GHz
4 MB cache
15 W TDP
Graphics AMD Radeon 540 GPU
512 stream processors
32 texture units
16 ROPs
2 GB GDDR5 memory
PCH Integrated into CPU
Memory 4 GB LPDDR4-2666 8 GB LPDDR4-2666
Storage 2.5-inch 1 TB HDD pre-installed
M.2 M.2-2280 slot supporting SSDs and Intel Optane Memory caching SSDs
Wi-Fi/BT Intel Wireless-AC 9560
802.11ac Wi-Fi + BT 5
Ethernet Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller (i219-V)
Display Outputs 2 × HDMI 2.0a
Audio 3.5 mm TRRS audio jack
7.1 channel audio output via HDMI
Optical output
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 117 × 112 × 52 mm | 4.6 × 4.4 × 2.04 inch
PSU External, 90 W
OS Pre-installed Microsoft Windows 10 Home x64

Intel's NUC8i3CYSM and NUC8i3CYSN UCFF PCs were announced several months ago and were available from smaller retailers, possibly because the volumes were not large. Availability at Amazon and Walmart indicates that Intel can now offer relatively large volumes of its chips produced at 10 nm node.

When it comes to performance, Cannon Lake has its perks, such as AVX-512 support, though they may not be that obvious in the SFF space as they are in the HPC/HEDT space. Obviously, AMD’s Radeon 540 should also be faster than Intel’s UHD 630 Graphics in games, but keep in mind that when it comes to media playback Intel’s contemporary iGPUs have certain advantages over AMD’s Polaris (e.g., VP9 10-bit decode, support for sophisticated copyright protection methods that require Intel’s SGX, etc.).

Intel's Core Architecture Cadence
Core Generation Microarchitecture Process Node Release Year
2nd Sandy Bridge 32nm 2011
3rd Ivy Bridge 22nm 2012
4th Haswell 22nm 2013
5th Broadwell 14nm 2014
6th Skylake 14nm 2015
7th Kaby Lake 14nm+ 2016
8th Kaby Lake-R
Coffee Lake-S
Kaby Lake-G
Coffee Lake-U/H
Whiskey Lake-U
Amber Lake-Y
Cannon Lake-U
9th Coffee Lake Refresh 14nm** 2018
Unknown Ice Lake (Consumer) 10nm? 2019?
Cascade Lake (Server)
Cooper Lake (Server)
Ice Lake (Server)
* Single CPU For Revenue
** Intel '14nm Class'

The Intel NUC8i3CYSM with 4 GB of RAM and 1 TB HDD currently costs $540 at, which is in line with MSRP of $530 announced in August. Newegg sells the same product for $533.6. Meanwhile, Walmart carries the version with 8 GB of RAM for $570.

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Source: Dylan522p/Twitter

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  • kb9fcc - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    Title, "Cannon Lake" ?
  • PeachNCream - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    Yarr! This NUC be me new pirate vessel for a plunderin' the Spanish Main. She sails with a lake full o' cannon! Arrr!
  • Smell This - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    Bite me crank, Matey (rolling eyes ...)
    It's almost like Chipzilla is not trying, anymore. A down-clocked Radeon RX 540 Mobile with a i3-8121U 'plunder'd' from China a year and a half ago? Jeeeezzzz ...
  • danielfranklin - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    This is the 10nm test chip they have been building, its never had on-die graphics (or functioning graphics, who knows). To sell this chip it was always going to need some other graphics and this fits the price point of a 15w i3....
  • Santoval - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    So, a single semi-disabled test/beta chip on a test/beta node (it doesn't seem that Intel is going to release anything else on 10nm, Ice Lake will be based on their second gen 10nm+ node, which they fixed with the help of ASML) and yet Intel is selling it to the public...

    By the way, despite a disabled iGPU Core i3-8121U has a *much* lower turbo frequency than Intel's 14nm equivalent, Core i3-8145U, which has a max turbo of 3.90 GHz (+700 full MHz) although it also has a functioning 620 iGPU with a 300 MHz to 1 GHz frequency.
    So Core i3-8121U is a *much* inferior CPU all in all, having the same arch but with a lower power efficiency and frequency, and its AVX-512 block is a gimmick that will be useless at such low TDPs anyway.
  • Alexvrb - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    Yeah I have to agree. Even if it's downclocked and undervolted the GPU will be eating ~30 watts or more by itself. The combined figures mean you might as well build a compact system with a 2400GE (or down-TDP 2400G) with some fast RAM.

    But I guess they had to do something with all those 10nm duds, I mean, test chips.
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - link

    Well shiver me timbers! Thar be a mutiny among the crew. Keel haul the mizzen mast and batten down the rudder! Close the portcullis! Cut yer jib for ramming speed and grease the poop deck!
  • johannesburgel - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    I don't agree with the "availability of this product at Walmart and Amazon must mean volume production of 10nm chips" logic. These are the smallest dies Intel makes (there's not even a GPU in there), you get more than 700 of them from a single 300mm wafer. At the same time NUCs are not exactly popular and we don't know how many are in stock. So the availabilty of these systems alone indicates nothing. If 10nm volume production had been achieved, we would see cheap notebooks and not NUCs.
  • Santoval - Monday, December 3, 2018 - link

    I strongly doubt these CPUs lack an iGPU, since that would suggest a redesign. It rather appears that Intel decided to disable the iGPU due to either low yields, low frequency and power efficiency (this CPU has 700 MHz lower turbo clock than Core i3-8145U, Intel's 14nm equivalent, despite zero power draw from its iGPU...) or perhaps a combination of all three.
    I fully agree this does not suggest high volume production, this is basically a beta CPU.
  • edzieba - Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - link

    Decapping of the i3-8121U does not appear to feature a GPU.

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