IDF 2012: Intel to ship ultra-portable NUC Ivy Bridge box in October

Intel has confirmed that its ultra-compact Ivy Bridge motherboard, known as the Next Unit of Computing (NUC), will start shipping in October priced at $400.

The 4x4' motherboard features a Core i3 Ivy Bridge processor, along with Intel HD 4000 graphics. Key features include three USB 2.0 and two HDMI ports, the latter of which will make the device ideal for streaming content.

NUC board

Other features include an RJ45 jack, and the NUC comes with standard SO-DIMM, mSATA and mini-PCI interfaces for memory, storage and Wi-Fi connectivity. Intel will also offer a variation with a high-speed Thunderbolt port.

Unlike the ultra-cheap 25 ARM-based Raspberry Pi, the NUC will be shipped in a boxed chassis. It is expected to be used primarily for commercial purposes but it will possible to use the device in the home as a living room PC or data streaming device.

Intel NUC - Shipping version

"This is what our final production unit will look like and the retail price will start at $399," John Deatherage, product manager at Intel said during a roundtable.

"We've seen a lot of interest from a dozen verticals. We envisage the NUC having various commercial uses such as powering kiosks or point of sale terminals. Digital signage is also likely to be a common use case."

Although the NUC offers much more processing power than the Pi, users will have to factor in the cost of memory, storage, and a Wi-Fi card, which could initially limit adoption to enthusiasts.

At present the Core i3 is the only chip on offer, but Deatherage noted that Intel can scale the device up or down easily to cater to different price points.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.