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Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit ('Beast Canyon') Review


Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit ('Beast Canyon') Review

If you've ever looked at your desktop PC and thought to yourself, "I love the power, but this thing is just too darn big!" then you'll want to housebreak this baby wildebeest of a PC. Intel nailed the code-name when it dubbed its latest NUC-branded desktop, the NUC 11 Extreme Kit, "Beast Canyon." It's the largest Intel NUC we've tested to date, blurring the line between small form-factor (SFF) PCs and

 their full desktop equivalents. Sent to us in what looks like a radiation-proof canister, this semi-compact PC practically glows with performance. Our review sample (starts at $1,150; $1,350 plus components, as tested) is impressively kitted out, and the Beast Canyon model has enough potency to contend with desktops twice its size or more, and could be the perfect choice for living-room gamers who need to save space. To bring out the beast in your PC gaming, maybe all you need to do is bring this Beast in. Just be ready to install some of your own parts.

NUC stands for "Next Unit of Computing," Intel's longtime brand originally designed to push innovation in small desktop PCs that can employ its mobile processors. When NUCs first hit the scene, they were a way for Intel to proffer and promote mobile processors in a desktop context, bridging the gap between compact Mini-ITX PCs (using full-brew desktop CPUs) and laptops. In the early days, the product line proved best suited for applications such as digital signage, onsite diagnostics, and productivity work in cramped cubicles.

The Beast Canyon NUC 11 is NUC's farthest cry yet from its original "mini" concept. Laid flat, the bulky body of this NUC measures 14.1 inches front to back, 7.4 inches wide, and 4.7 inches high. This makes it the largest NUC yet and reasonably puts the NUC 11 Extreme well within the range of being mistaken for a full-fledged desktop PC. If it's the console look you're going for, though, this box is footprint-comparable but a whole bunch taller.

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