After briefly teasing its NUC 11 Extreme (Beast Canyon) at Computex 2021, Intel has formally launched the new NUC kits. With the novelty that Beast Canyon now accepts the best graphics cards, it’s debatable whether it’s still considered a NUC or more like a small form factor (SFF) system now.
Beast Canyon, which succeeds Ghost Canyon, measures 357 x 189 x 120mm. It’s essentially an 8-liter case, a departure from the previous 5-liter enclosures. The extra space is there so that Beast Canyon can house discrete graphics cards with a maximum length of up to 308.4mm (12 inches). The NUC supplies one PCIe 4.0 x16 expansion slot, though while there’s enough headroom for a full-length graphics card, the NUC only sports a 650W 80Plus Gold ITX power supply.
That may not be sufficient to feed the more power-hungry graphics cards, though it’s an upgrade over Ghost Canyon’s modest 500W unit. On the other hand, the supported CPUs are all 65W or lower parts. That should leave enough headroom for even the most power hungry GPUs like the RTX 3090. The sensible approach would of course be to err on the side of caution and stick with slightly lower power GPUs like the RTX 3080 and RX 6800 XT — and don’t get a model that comes with a big factory overclock.
Intel released Beast Canyon with three different 10nm processor options, living inside the NUC 11 Extreme Compute Element (Driver Bay). The NUC is available with the Core i9-11900KB, Core i7-11700B and Core i5-11400H. It’s strange that Intel decided to choose two Tiger Lake desktop from the stack, while offering the third option with a mobile Tiger Lake-H part. The Core i9-11900KB and Core i7-11700B come with a 65W TDP (thermal desing power), and the Core i5-11400H operates within the 45W limit.
The Core i9-11900KB and Core i7-11700B are 8-core chips and the Core i5-11400H checks in with six cores. All three processors feature Hyper-Threading technology. The Core i9-11900KB has the highest clock speeds with a 3.3 GHz base clock and 4.9 GHz boost clock. It’s also the only chip with an unlocked multiplier for overclocking endeavors.
Intel NUC 11 Extreme Beast Canyon Specifications
|Model||Compute Element||Processor||Cores / Threads||Base / Boost Clock Speeds (GHz)||L3 Cache (MB)||TDP (W)|
|NUC11BTMi9||NUC11DBBi9||Core i9-11900KB||8 / 16||3.3 / 4.9||24||65|
|NUC11BTMi7||NUC11DBBi7||Core i7-11700B||8 / 16||3.2 / 4.8||24||65|
|NUC11BTMi5||NUC11DBBi5||Core i5-11400H||6 / 12||2.7 / 4.5||12||45|
Regardless of the processor model, Beast Canyon is connected to a WM590 chipset that’s specifically designed for Tiger Lake. There’s room for up to 64GB of DDR4-3200 1.2V SO-DIMM memory thanks to the two SO-DIMM memory slots. EEC memory modules aren’t supported, though.
The Beast Canyon offers plenty of storage options as well. The NUC provides two SATA 6Gbps ports for old-school SSDs and hard drives, along with four high-speed storage M.2 slots. The two PCIe 4.0 x4 slots are connected directly to the Tiger Lake processor, while the other two PCIe 3.0 x4 slots go through the WM590 chipset. The M.2 slots support RAID 0 and RAID 1 arrays. A microSD card reader is present as well to read SDXC cards with up to UHS-II support.
Naturally, you’ll want to pair Beast Canyon with a discrete graphics card, which is the whole point of the extra space. If not, you can always depend on Tiger Lake’s Xe Graphics engine. In that case, you get access to two Thunderbolt 4 ports and one HDMI 2.0b port. There’s one PCIe 4.0 x4 expansion slot for other add-in cards.
Beast Canyon is pretty generous with the USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports with six distributed at the back of rhe device and another two up front. You can further expand the number of USB ports through the two USB 3.1 headers or two USB 2.0 headers. The NUC comes with 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet networking, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity.
Beast Canyon is up for pre-order at Simply NUC. The base configuration consists of 8GB (2x4GB) of memory and a 256GB NVMe M.2 SSD. The Core i9-11900KB and Core i7-11700B models start at $1,599 and $1,399, respectively, while the Core i5-11400H model starts at $1,299. Simply NUC will start shipping out orders in September.