Intel NUC 12 Extreme "Dragon Canyon" Punches Above Its Footprint

Bigger doesn't always mean better. At least, that seems to be the idea behind Intel's latest small-form-factor (SFF) NUC. Despite its size, the newly announced Intel NUC 12 Extreme promises "monster performance" in an extremely small package.

Like its other NUCs, the new system is essentially an SFF PC that Intel has overfilled with power. The NUC 12 Extreme comes with a 12th Generation i9-12900 processor capable of up to 5.1Ghz with turbo — it offers eight performance cores, eight efficient cores, and 24 threads. This means you'll be able to power through just about anything you throw at the system.

It's this power that really makes the NUC 12 Extreme stand out. Despite being a small system, the model is capable of standing up to much bigger rigs due to the performance of its 12th Gen Intel processor. The integrated Intel UHD Graphics 770 also means you can start playing some games and graphics-intensive programs without having to worry about installing a discreet graphics card.

Intel's NUC 12 Extreme Compute Unit is the full package

However, if you plan to play a lot of intense games, you may want to invest in an NVIDIA or AMD-designed GPU. To make use of that, you'll need the newly announced Intel NUC 12 Extreme Compute Element, which gives you access to a small chassis for your NUC 12 Extreme to fit into. The chassis itself is only 4.72-inches wide, 7.44-inches tall, and 14-inches long. That makes it easy to store in a workspace without having to worry about compromising performance capabilities.

The Intel NUC 12 Extreme Compute Element features support for discrete graphics like an NVIDIA or AMD GPU and even offers some additional M.2 key slots for expanding the system itself. You'll also find that it is equipped with two Thunderbolt 4 ports and six USB 3.2 Type-A connectors. The model likewise has an Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211 card installed, allowing you to connect seamlessly to the internet via ethernet or wireless.

The NUC 12 Extreme will be available starting in Q2 2022 and will range from $1,150 to $1,450, depending on the processor you choose. Considering the size and the amount of power you're capable of with this kind of system, the Intel NUC 12 Extreme is a great option for people who want a small system with a lot of juice backing it. Unfortunately, Intel hasn't shared any details on the price of the NUC 12 Extreme Compute Element just yet.