A mini, form-factor PC code-named Skull Canyon NUC (next unit of computing) was announced by Intel at Game Developers Conference specifically aimed at the PC gaming audience.
The Skull Canyon is packed with some decent hardware for such a small size — only 8.5 inches long, 4.6 inches wide and less than an inch tall. But something that small surely can’t house the graphics power necessary to run today’s demanding PC games like Grand Theft Auto V andThe Witcher 3, right?
Right, it can’t. But it still packs a decent punch. The Skull Canyon has a sixth-generation Intel Core i7-6770HQ, which is a pretty high-performing CPU, but it’s paired up with Intel’s integrated Iris Pro 580 for graphics. With graphics hardware like that, don’t expect to be able to play anything very demanding, although you’ll be fine if you’re looking to watch videos in 4K or stick to games with simpler visuals.
Along with that hardware, the Skull Canyon will be able to take up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM and two solid state drives. It also comes with a Thunderbolt 3 port, and built-in Wi-Fi and LAN support.
The Skull Canyon certainly won’t be able to run a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive
The Skull Canyon certainly won’t be able to run a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, which require video cards equal to or better than an Nvidia GTX 970 or Radeon R9 290. But if you are still interested in the form-factor PC, you can get one of these discrete video cards and attach it externally with something like the Razer Core graphics expansion, but that will cost you. Those video cards will put you back over $300, and the Razer Core costs $500 for pre-order.
That would be on top of the regular Skull Canyon price, which has a base cost of $650. A build with 16GB of RAM, a 256GB solid state drive and Windows 10 will cost $999. They will be available to pre-order on Newegg in April, and will begin shipping in May.