Hades Canyon NUC review: Intel taps AMD

    Intel’s Hades Canyon is greater than a easy successor to its Cranium Canyon predecessor, an excessive model of Intel’s Subsequent Unit of Computing (NUC). When Cranium Canyon launched in 2016, it bucked the mini-PC pattern of modest specs designed for normal computing, as a substitute boasting absolutely the newest in for its measurement: a 45W quad-core processor, built-in graphics able to 1080p gaming, and a port that supported exterior graphics. On the time, that ultra-compact mini-PC was unmatched.

    The Hades Canyon NUC brings its personal first: a single, Intel-produced chip (code-named Kaby Lake-G) that marries an Intel cell CPU with an AMD Radeon RX Vega M cell GPU. It’s silicon that may deal with heavy-duty duties with out breaking a lot of a sweat.

    Adam Patrick Murray / IDG

    Clockwise from high left: Gigabyte Brix GB-BXA8-5557, Intel NUC5i7RYH, Intel NUC6i7KYK (Cranium Canyon), Intel NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon)

    Worth, specs, and ports

    Hades Canyon is available in two configurations—one marketed as an overclockable gaming machine (the NUC8i7HVK), and the opposite as a content-creation system (the NUC8i7HNK). We obtained the gaming model for evaluation, which is the higher-end possibility and prices $1,000 for simply the bare-bones package.

    Including storage, reminiscence, and an working system will elevate the worth by at the least just a few hundred , given at the moment’s inflated costs for SSDs and RAM. Our evaluation unit, which got here pre-equipped with a 118GB Intel Optane 800P-series SSD, 512GB Intel 545s-series SSD, 16GB of Kingston HyperX DDR4/3200 RAM, and a Home windows 10 Professional license, would set us again by nearly $1,550 in complete.

    Every configuration comes outfitted with a special mixture of Intel processor and AMD GPU. (To get an intensive rundown on Kaby Lake-G, you possibly can read our primer that adopted the CES announcement of the chips.) Contained in the NUC8i7HVK is the 100W Core i7-8809G, which homes a quad-core, eight-thread cell CPU and Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics.

    Interior shot of Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK Alaina Yee / IDG

    Getting inside this NUC requires eradicating the highest lid and a steel plate. Intel features a hex wrench and spare screws for the highest lid, however you’ll nonetheless want a Phillips screwdriver for the steel plate.

    The processor is equal to Intel’s 45W H-series cell CPUs (full with energetic built-in graphics that may deal with video playback and different primary duties), although its energy necessities differ barely. The precise energy consumed varies relying on CPU and GPU hundreds, as Intel designed the package deal with a shared energy finances and makes use of what it calls dynamic tuning to permit every element a better means to achieve its max enhance. As talked about beforehand, it’s overclockable, with inventory settings of a three.1GHz base clock and four.2GHz Turbo. Intel says that it’s gotten as much as four.7GHz when overclocking.

    Linked to the processor by eight PCIe lanes is the Vega M GH, which runs at a 1,zero63MHz base clock and 1,190MHz enhance clock. The GH variant of Vega M comes with 24 compute models and 4GB of HBM2 reminiscence, together with a barely quicker reminiscence bandwidth of 204.8GB per second. It additionally helps output to 6 4K shows concurrently, with as much as 5 at 60Hz and the sixth at 30Hz. Just like the CPU, you possibly can overclock the Vega M GH and the HBM2 reminiscence.

    Backing this star CPU-GPU pairing is an entire array of equally powerhouse know-how. Two M.2 slots can take SATA 6Gbps or x4 PCIe Gen three (AHCI or NVMe) drives in both a 42mm or 80mm size, with the choice to run two drives in RAID zero or RAID 1. An Intel Wi-fi-AC 8265 card handles each 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth four.2. Two SO-DIMM sockets settle for as much as 32GB of DDR4/2,400MHz RAM at 1.2V, and assist overclocked DDR4 RAM. There’s even a beam-forming, far-field, quad-mic array included this time round.

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