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Intel Atom-Based NUC Mini PC Designed for Thin Clients

The chip maker is looking to expand the reach of the low-cost PCs from the consumer space and into the business arena.

Intel continues to expand its portfolio of NUC mini desktop PCs, most recently with the launch of the first system powered by the vendor's low-power Atom chips.

The latest Next Unit of Computing (NUC) mini PC kit comes in a fanless design with an on-board Embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC) memory and a 4-by-4-inch motherboard. Intel officials are aiming the DE3815TYKHE—formerly known as "Thin Canyon"—at thin client environments like digital signage, kiosks, schools, call centers and point-of-sales use, with such capabilities as being able to power an LCD monitor through its integrated eDP connector.

The new offering is available now, with pricing at $129 for the NUC kit and $99 for the Intel NUC board.

The NUC concept was launched two years ago as Intel worked on new form factors to help offset the sliding worldwide sales of traditional desktop and notebook PCs. Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and other tech vendors have said they are seeing a slowing of the decline in PC revenues in recent months, with much of the credit going to Microsoft ending support for its aged Windows XP operating system, a move that has fueled system refresh efforts at many businesses.

At the same time, Intel executives have been vocal about other factors also playing a role, including the development of new form factors like 2-in-1 convertible systems that can be used as notebooks or tablets, and NUCs.

NUCs initially were aimed at consumers looking for low-cost PCs, but now Intel is looking to push adoption among cost-conscious businesses. Along with fanless design and eMMC memory, the new DE3815TYKHE, which was announced April 30, comes with built-in flash storage, support for Linux and Windows Embedded OSes, and USB 3.0 support. It also offers a discrete Trusted Platform Module device for hardware-based data encryption.

Reports surfaced in February that Intel is planning to roll out two NUC models later this year that will be powered by the chip maker's upcoming Core i3 and i5 processors based on the "Broadwell" 14-nanometer architecture. According to the reports based on leaked roadmaps, a mainstream consumer model called "Rock Canyon" will include M.2 solid-state disk (SSD) drives or 2.5-inch SSD or hard-disk drive storage options, USB 3.0 ports, built-in wireless capabilities through WiFi and Bluetooth, and support for up to three displays. A professional model—"Maple Canyon"—will contain those features plus enterprise-class technologies such as Intel's vPro and Trusted Platform Module for greater reliability and security.