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Intel NUC13 Excessive Raptor Canyon Evaluation: Scorching SFF Efficiency Powerhouse

The Intel NUCs began off within the early 2010s as ultra-compact form-factor boards / methods. The methods have been meant to switch cumbersome tower desktops in functions the place the bodily footprint and system capabilities have been considerably greater than the precise necessities. The success of those UCFF methods has allowed Intel to slowly broaden the product line to incorporate all kinds of form-factors.

Techniques concentrating on the fanatic {and professional} gaming (e-sports) markets require the combination of a discrete GPU within the system, and this has pushed the event of NUC form-factors past the preliminary UCFF push. The Fanatic NUCs combine a discrete notebook-class GPU on the board, whereas the Excessive lineup permits end-users to put in a discrete GPU of their very own selection. The Raptor Canyon NUC13RNGi9 we’re taking a look at in the present day belongs to the latter household.

Earlier this yr, Intel had launched the NUC12 Extreme Dragon Canyon with a 65W desktop Alder Lake CPU. Inside a few quarters, they teased the NUC13 Excessive based mostly on the recently-introduced Raptor Lake processors, with the promise of an imminent launch. The corporate saved its phrase with the announcement of quite a few NUC13 Compute Components and NUC13 Excessive Equipment SKUs final month. At this time’s overview takes an in depth take a look at the economic design of the brand new NUC13 Excessive, offers some insights into the system configuration, and presents benchmark numbers encompassing all kinds of use-cases.

Introduction and Product Impressions

Intel’s NUC lineups concentrating on the gaming market fall underneath considered one of two classes – the Fanatic household (Cranium Canyon NUC6i7KYK, Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK, Phantom Canyon NUC11PHKi7C, and Serpent Canyon NUC12SNKi72) and the Excessive household (Ghost Canyon NUC9QNX, Beast Canyon NUC11BTM, Dragon Canyon NUC12DCM, and Raptor Canyon NUC13RNG). The Raptor Canyon NUC is now donning the flagship NUC mantle, and brings the next updates over the Dragon Canyon NUC.

  • Help for socketed processors with a PL1 of 150W (Ok-series). The thermal answer considerably will increase the size of the Compute Factor.
  • Raptor Lake processor manufactured in Intel 7 with micro-architectural enhancements for efficiency and energy effectivity, persevering with the utilization of hybrid efficiency and effectivity cores.
  • Help for DDR5-5600 SODIMMs, in comparison with DDR4-3200 within the earlier technology Excessive NUCs.
  • Elevated chassis quantity (13.7L vs. 8L) permitting integration of triple slot discrete GPUs.
  • Extra conventional industrial design permitting simpler entry to I/O ports.
  • Exterior Wi-Fi antennae

Intel equipped us with an engineering pattern of the flagship Raptor Canyon SKU – the NUC13RNGi9 sporting the NUC13 Excessive Compute Factor (NUC13SBBi9). This Compute Factor (Shrike Bay) is housed in a superbly cubical 337mm x 317mm x 129mm chassis. We see a big enhance in quantity (from 8L to 13.7L) in comparison with the Dragon Canyon NUC. That is nonetheless properly inside the realm of small form-factor (SFF) PCs – an grownup can lug across the unit to LAN events, if obligatory. Different fascinating SFF facets such because the in-built PSU are carried over from the earlier technology Excessive NUCs.

Intel’s NUC lineup has historically included board and package variants, permitting its companions to supply worth additions (equivalent to a passive chassis or further I/O ports ultimately system). Kits (aside from those that include a pre-installed OS) require the end-user so as to add storage, DRAM, and set up an OS to finish the system. Intel plans to promote three styles of the Raptor Canyon NUC Equipment – the NUC13RNGi7 and the NUC13RNGi5 (geared up with the Core i7-13700K and Core i5-13600K respectively) along with the NUC13RNGi9 we’re taking a look at in the present day. Nevertheless, OEMs and end-users may also construct their very own NUC13 system based mostly on the next parts:

  • Compute Factor (NUC13SBBi(9/5/7)(F))
  • Baseboard (or backplane)
  • Chassis
  • PSU
  • DRAM (as much as 2x DDR5-5600 SODIMMs)
  • Non-volatile storage
  • Discrete GPU (non-obligatory)

An off-the-shelf Raptor Canyon NUC13RNGi9 package leaves solely the DRAM, non-volatile storage, and discrete GPU to the selection of the end-user. Regardless that the Compute Factor sports activities a LGA1700 socket, the three Compute Components being bought out there as a part of the package model include the processor pre-installed (Core i9-13900K, or Core i7-13700K, or Core i5-13600K). Previous to the platform evaluation and overview of our overview configuration, let’s check out the pre-decided parts within the above checklist.

The Shrike Bay NUC13 Compute Factor

The NUC13RNGi9 we’re reviewing in the present day comes with the NUC13SBBi9 NUC13 Excessive Compute Factor. It comes with a socketed LGA1700 processor – the Core i9-13900K. This belongs to the Raptor Lake (13th Technology) household and has a 8P + 16e / 32T configuration. The processor base energy is 125W, however the thermal design of the Compute Factor in addition to the chassis permits Intel to configure the processor with a PL1 of 150W and a PL2 of 250W (with a tau of 28s). It could actually turbo as much as 5.8 GHz.

Just like the earlier Compute Components, the Shrike Bay fashions additionally reimagine the normal motherboard in a discrete PCIe add-on card form-factor. In contrast to earlier Compute Components, Shrike Bay has greater than 16 lanes connecting to the baseboard. The design of the Dragon Canyon’s Compute Factor is retained for probably the most half – a cooling shroud with a single fan and a number of M.2 heat-sinks with thermal pads pre-attached. Nevertheless, the cooling answer for the CPU is redesigned to accommodate a heat-sink hanging off the sting of the Compute Factor. The SODIMMs slot in vertically. The Z690 chipset used within the Dragon Canyon is re-used in Shrike Bay.

By way of I/O, the Shrike Bay Compute Factor places each different mini-ITX motherboard for Raptor Lake to disgrace. It’s geared up with twin Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 10G BASE-T AQC113C AQtion NIC, a 2.5G BASE-T Intel NIC, 6x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Kind-A ports within the rear, and Realtek ALC1220 analog audio ports. The entrance panel is serviced by a daughterboard to supply a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20 Gbps) Kind-C port and two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Kind-A ports.

Raptor Canyon Baseboard

The baseboard for the NUC13RNGi9 is an entire re-work over the Eden Cove used within the Dragon Canyon NUC. Intel has pushed out performance equivalent to SATA ports and USB headers into the baseboard within the new model. One of many key bodily modifications is the position of the add-in card slots for the Compute Factor and the discrete GPU on completely different sides of the baseboard. This permits the Compute Factor to be mounted on high, and the discrete GPU of comparable width to go underneath it.

The PCIe lanes are Gen 5, and wouldn’t have bifurcation help, just like Eden Cove.

Chassis and PSU

The NUC13RNGi9 chassis has a a lot improved ease of set up in comparison with the earlier technology NUCs. The size permit the set up of triple-slot GPUs as much as 317mm in size. The PSU additionally sees an improve, transferring to a 750W modular one (in comparison with the 650W model seen within the Dragon Canon NUC), whereas retaining the 80+ GOLD ranking.

In contrast to the non-intuitive hinge-based design of the earlier Excessive NUCs, opening up the Dragon Canyon NUC is simple – taking out a few screws and sliding out the highest and perforated facet panels previous to coming out the Compute Factor. The thermal design works by pulling in air from the left, permitting it to go over the heat-sink hanging off the sting of the Compute Factor and exit on the opposite facet.

The SSD slots might be accessed on the rear of the Compute Factor. Because the chassis followers / shroud blocks entry to the Compute Factor’s rear, it turns into necessary to get the Compute Factor out of the baseboard to put in M.2 SSDs. There are two horizontal slots which are off the chipset, whereas the vertical one is the CPU-attached NVMe-only slot.

The SODIMMs might be put in with out taking the Compute Factor out of the baseboard. Baseboard options such because the dGPU slot and SATA ports / different headers might be discovered on the underside – the Compute Factor itself would not should be eliminated to get to them. GPU set up is way simplified with out having to cram it right into a tiny area shared with the Compute Factor. The liberty additionally finally ends up giving loads of airflow area for the discrete GPU.

The additional room additionally ensures that the cables connecting the high-speed I/Os on the daughterboard to the Compute Factor will not be simply dislodged. That was one of many predominant complaints I had with the earlier Excessive NUCs – reinstalling or swapping GPUs would end result within the entrance USB ports working in USB 2.0 speeds. Fortuitously, the Raptor Canyon NUC utterly avoids these forms of points, because of the redesigned chassis. The I/O ports are additionally not recessed, permitting for straightforward entry throughout day-to-day use.

The configuration of our overview pattern of the NUC13RNGi9 was accomplished with the next parts:

  • 2x 16GB Kingston Fury Influence KF548S38-16 DDR5-4800 SODIMM (38-38-38-70 @ 4800 MHz)
  • 1x 1TB Kingston Fury Renegade SSFYRS1000G M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD

The power to help a strong GPU just like the RTX 3080 Ti signifies that the Raptor Canyon NUC ought to simply be capable to compete towards huge gaming rigs. For now, we prohibit ourselves to evaluating it towards the earlier generations of Excessive NUCs. Within the subsequent part, we check out the total specs of our overview pattern, adopted by an in depth platform evaluation together with some notes on our setup expertise.

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