Intel Exiting the PC Business as it Stops Investment in the Intel NUC

Intel NUC 11 Pro Cover
Intel NUC 11 Pro Cover

Some huge news today. Intel has started to notify its ecosystem saying that it will stop direct investment in the Next Unit of Compute (NUC) business. For the handful of STH readers who are unaware, Intel not only makes chips but they also make systems. Earlier this year, we covered that Intel was exiting the server business and selling it to MiTAC. Now its line of PCs is being sunset as well.

Intel Exiting the PC Business as It Stops Investment in the Intel NUC

Intel NUCs are awesome. These mini PCs have really defined a space serving as everything from desktops to portable VMware/ Ubuntu/ and other enterprise software cluster nodes, to even being the backbone of Enterprise Restaurant Compute with Kubernetes at Chick-fil-A. The small size, and to be very frank, Intel’s support of the platform has made them very popular. There is a gap between the support experience with an Intel NUC and many of the mini PC vendors that exist today.

Intel NUC 12 Pro Wall St Canyon NUC12WSKi7 Front
Intel NUC 12 Pro Wall St Canyon NUC12WSKi7 Front

Over the years, the Intel NUC line has expanded to much larger form factors, even encompassing Intel Xeon CPUs in chassis large enough to have GPUs as well. If anything the NUC line has grown over the years from small boxes to all kinds of form factors.

Intel NUC9VXQNX Quartz Canyon Xeon Processor Module Out Of Chassis
Intel NUC9VXQNX Quartz Canyon Xeon Processor Module Out Of Chassis

That has led to a strange market dynamic. As it was doing in the server business, Intel was in a position to compete with its major OEM customers. That brings us to the key question: does Intel add value by competing on motherboard and chassis design, rather than chip design? For the past few years as the mini PC space has flourished perhaps the answer has been no.

Intel NUC11TNKi5 Lenovo M90n Nano HP EliteDesk 800 1
Intel NUC11TNKi5 Lenovo M90n Nano HP EliteDesk 800 1

We had an initial heads-up, then heard from a second source this morning that Intel sent a note to its partners today saying:

Intel has decided to stop direct investment in the Next Unit of Compute (NUC) product line…” (Source: Intel e-mail to partners)

Instead, it is going to rely on industry partners to continue innovating in the NUC ecosystem. Companies like ASRock are already making their own NUC-size motherboards. We review many of these on the STH YouTube channel. You can subscribe to the channel here.

Its e-mail to partners also said it expects to enable its partners on growing the NUC ecosystem.

Final Words

We have done many NUC reviews since they make such great edge compute platforms. They are great, albeit the newer ones feel too small as thermal requirements increase and fans get louder. Despite the fact that I personally think they are great systems, this is one that has always made little sense to me. We have a series of 1L PCs from Lenovo, HP, and Dell called “Project TinyMiniMicro“. Those systems have the support of large OEMs that can do on-site service. It has just felt like Intel competing with OEMs on sheet metal, PCB, and so forth was not the winning solution, but I had resigned myself to being wrong on this front until today.

Intel NUC 11 Element Rear 3
Intel NUC 11 Element Rear 3

Farewell to the amazing line of Intel NUCs! As Intel focuses on streamlining its business, it seems like those parts of the organization that are not core to making and selling chips are being slowly sunset or sold off. With the Intel Data Center Solutions Group’s sale to MiTAC earlier this year, the company signaled it was changing its position with regard to competing with OEM customers. Now using a similar logic, it seems as though the NUCs are following that path.

We have reached out to Intel on this one for official confirmation, but the e-mail is out to partners and looks very clear. We will update this piece with Intel’s official statement when it arrives.

Update 70 minutes after this piece went live. Intel just sent us the official confirmation:

We have decided to stop direct investment in the Next Unit of Compute (NUC) Business and pivot our strategy to enable our ecosystem partners to continue NUC innovation and growth. This decision will not impact the remainder of Intel’s Client Computing Group (CCG) or Network and Edge Computing (NEX) businesses. Furthermore, we are working with our partners and customers to ensure a smooth transition and fulfillment of all our current commitments – including ongoing support for NUC products currently in market.  (Source: Intel)


  1. Really sad to hear this, but not surprising given their poor quarterly earnings the past few quarters.

    All in the name of infinite growth that we lose another product we held as a standard for the sake of profitability!

  2. Does this mean even the support for current gen 12/13 models (like bios etc) will be pretty cut down?

  3. Looking forward to watching firesale prices in the US whilst europe gets the run out devices at RRP+30% :_)

  4. This cost-cutting MDA-driven trends the tech industry is experiencing will only cause harm of us all.

  5. The reason Clayton Christensen’s disruptive innovation keeps causing trouble for large companies is precisely the kind of cost cutting that retains divisions currently making the most profit while cutting the less profitable divisions that will arguably make more profit in the future.

  6. Very sad. Was pleased to see they had reduced the fan whine in the latest series and was looking forward to upgrading to one down the line.

  7. So Intel exits another OEM business to let some 3rd party OEMs pick that market segment up instead. So Minisforum and BeeLink/Others already have Intel based Mini Desktop PCs and now I’m curious if Intel will let any of its OEM Partners continue to use the NUC Branding? And maybe Intel can license to its OEM Partners some of that more Interesting IP that Intel developed for its NUC “Canyon” lines of Mini Desktop PCs?

  8. @T. Roll Price: It’s official… Intel has been unloading business unit for the past several quarters and years… They stop SSD, Omnipath, Optane, Server, and NUC…

  9. The original e-mails to partners were from Intel representatives. I got direct official channel confirmation from Intel’s HQ and posted that about 70 minutes later (it was early Pacific time so folks had to wake up.)

  10. Well, Intel basically lost the consumer side chip war due to lying about TDP. Nobody wants a 55W PL1 TDP laptop chip that PL2 to 155W burning your ball sacks. and the weak E cores that is literally half the speed of the P cores.

    Stopping NUC for a couple of years is right. Waiting for 18A process, AMX enabled 15W “U class” with the Integrated GPU able to do OpenCL on the entire memory space of the chip(192GB+) so that an 192GB AI model can run on it like the M2 Ultra 192GB.

  11. I own and regularly use an Intel i3-8121U powered NUC that also has Radeon RX540 (2 GB GDDR5) graphics since the 10nm Intel chip shipped with disabled graphics. One of the primary reasons I bought it was the ‘guaranteed’ OEM support from Intel – firmware, drivers, and BIOS updates were all updated over the years. Lesser OEMs would not provide that level of service. My NUC was launched in the third quarter of 2018 and security support just ended in February this year so just over 4 years of overall product support.

    This system also supports Intel Optane memory, so I have a 32 GB stick installed in the NVMe slot which accelerates a 1 TB Crucial BX500 SSD that’s installed in the SATA compartment. This machine is great for Internet and Office application use and will also play some lightweight games.

    The best support feature I liked about the NUC was the one click all-support-button that checked for product updates and then installed them. It was almost as good as a Chromebook update.

    I for one will miss the NUC series of units. Would this be an opportunity for AMD to launch its own NUC series? I for one would buy such a unit as long as the OEM support mirrored what Intel provided.

  12. Intel has become a leper. The continued hacking off of parts and skilled employees to try and make a quarterly earning sheet look less horrible while pocketing tax funds just adds to the image of a organization that deserves to die. And yet, it is a monopoly too big to fail from a national perspective. The CHIPS funding didn’t have nearly enough strings attached. Intel is the embodiment of a greater issue: its leadership has failed miserably and/or is too old to be useful charting a course into the future all the while utterly neglecting (or in many cases outright preventing) the next generation and preparing it to step up and take over. Pat is running out of fingers and toes to chop off before the balance sheet makes him take an arm or a leg. These are the things that human advancement are built upon eh STH? Heh.

  13. Damn it!

    Competitive products, including ASRock and Asus PNxx don’t even come close to the NUC’s reliability, fit and finish or vPro. Comparatively, Realtek’s crippled attempt at IMPI is absolutely crap.

    The space and power savings of the Small But Might NUC is unparalleled. I filled cabinets to the brim with NUCs for much less, and more power, than traditional servers.

    Do any of the 1L PC’s have real IPMI?

  14. @nuctoday IF it has a pcie 2×1 slot, Asrock Rack makes an IPMI card called “Paul” that is the same BMC (ast2500) they put in their server boards. Or can go get one of the PiKVMs.

  15. This hurts to hear. A loss for the tech and home lab community. I loved their nucs as mini servers for VMware mini test benches. Their cpu and nic support were top notch. Oh well, back to buying from third party or old server equipment.

  16. You sons of ____!
    I’ve been waiting forever for the upcoming line of Meteor Lake NUCs with full Encode/Decode hardware AV1 support to enable a shift to an entirely AV1 Plex library.

    NUCs would’ve seriously simplified the whole environment!
    Even the eventual baby NUCs with improved GPUs would’ve been perfect low cost family/relative PC solutions!

    They were on the cusp of greatness!

  17. I really didn’t like them initially, because I thought Mini-ITX even with soldered mobile SoCs where not that much larger but much more flexible (and better to cool with good Noctuas), I eventually bought 5 of them: NUC8/10/11 as i7, another NUC11 as Jasper Lake Atom as well as the fantastic Enthusiast NUC11 with an RTX2060.

    The Phantom Canyon and Serpent Canyon NUCs were a hard sales at list prices, but the Phantom currently sells for less than €500 and the Serpent for less than €700 with VAT in Europe and at those prices, they are really attractive.

    I haven’t tried the Serpent (yet?), but the Phantom is really astonishingly good at everything 1920×1080, including Oculus CV1, yet never gets hot or noisy under peak loads.

    Generally the build quality and flexibility of the BIOS (and the lack of Mini-ITX alternatives) won me over, but I never bought at list price, waited until generational changes brought them into range.

    I also tried NUCalikes from other vendors, but the cost-cutting was typically very noticeable, from missing DIMM sockets to a much more constricted BIOS or noisy fans.

    And the AMD APU NUCs were either not in stock or only ever came after the APU I originally wanted had just become outdated.

    Lack of ECC support was always a sore point…

  18. The discounts have already started. B&H has pretty steep discounts on 11th gen Extreme NUCs..

  19. Thanks for Intel NUC update. The linked article about the Enterprise Chick-fil-A Application was really informative. Amazing what Tiny Mini Micro PC’s can do when launched in clusters by a talented team. Wow. Impressive.

  20. The thing that put me off NUCs was that the they never included windows licenses, which love or hate it makes them much worse value than they first appear.

    This isn’t such a problem for a home tinkerer or someone running esx but did stop me ever equipping a lab at work with them.

    Plenty of the tiny mini micro alternatives do have such licenses but never seen them with a nuc.

  21. Is the Intel system taper compliment advantageous, yes and no and to a degree. mb

  22. Can NUC continue [?], well, that’s up to the compliment and there were end buyer issues early on when NUC was open on the peripheral price. Originally these small factor PCs in 1989 were called “bricks” by Ergo Brick OEM, and the question is r they a PC Brick as in just bricked? On the commercial market interest Mr. Kennedy u tell us. mb

  23. Good Intel Cannon Lake support comment from Mario Rodrigues. Intel has always been good at this type of developer support no matter the product category. mb

  24. Good Cannon Lake developer support comment from Mario up comment line. Intel is good at supporting its platforms. mb

  25. The market is getting flooded with these chip little PC’s and Intel probably figured that they were not going to try and compete in a market that really does not look profitable. I mean Amazon is filled with deals on Mini PC’s from all sorts or no name brands from Taiwan. Yeah, they probably are not NUC quality or have Intel support some I have noticed don’t have bios or driver updates. But they are cheap and in a inflationary world people tend to shop on price.
    By the way Asus has agreed to continue to market a NUC like PC with Intel’s blessings. So maybe the NUC isn’t really going away?


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