Notebook Review

Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit (Beast Canyon) Review: Powerful Gaming PC in a Small Package

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  • Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit (Beast Canyon) Specifications
  • Versions and modifications
  • Design and features
  • Internal components
  • Connectors and connections
  • Производительность в повседневных задачах
  • Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit gaming performance
  • Total
  • Should I buy
  • Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit Compact Gaming Computer - video
  • If you've ever looked at your PC anddreamed of making it smaller, the Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit (Beast Canyon) is a gaming PC just for you. However, this is the largest Intel NUC to date, so the line between mini-PCs and full-fledged computers is gradually blurring.

    Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit codenamedThe Beast Canyon is like a container for storing radioactive substances, and for good reason - the components inside this mini-PC are really powerful. Prices for a computer start at 85 thousand rubles, although in terms of performance, the Beast Canyon version can easily compete with a PC twice as much. This is the perfect solution for gamers who are short on space in their room.

    ALSO READ: Review of Apple Mac mini M1 (2020) mini PC on new Apple processor

    Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit (Beast Canyon) Specifications

    The table shows the characteristics of the PC version I tested, with advanced components such as RAM, which may differ.

    CPU

    Intel Core i9-11900KB

    Motherboard

    Intel NUC11DBBi9

    Memory

    16GB (2x8GB) HyperX Impact DDR4-3200

    Graphics

    Asus Dual GeForce RTX 3060 OC (12 GB GDDR6)

    Storage

    Sabrent Rocket PCIe Gen 4 SSD 500GB

    Communication and connection

    Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210, Bluetooth 5.1

    Ports and connectors

    Front: 2 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, SD card slot, headphone jack

    Rear: 6 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, Ethernet, HDMI 2.0b, 2 × Thunderbolt 4, lock slot

    Video outputs

    HDMI 2.0b (on compute), 1 × HDMI and 3 × DisplayPort on GPU

    Power supply

    650W 80 Plus Gold FSP650-57ABA

    Frame

    Intel NUC 11 Extreme

    Cooling

    Triple fans 92mm

    operating system

    Windows 10 Home

    Dimensions

    357 x 189 x 120 mm

    total cost

    $ 2,550 (187 thousand rubles)

    Versions and modifications

    Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit (Beast Canyon) refers to mini-PCs in which you need to install some of the components yourself. You can't just buy a NUC, turn it on, and start playing.

    Prices for the NUC 11 Extreme Kit start at 85 thousandrubles, so the basic assembly runs on a Core i7-11700B processor. There are options with a Core i9-11900KB processor, a similar configuration, to which you need to add RAM, a video card and an SSD, fell into my hands. I additionally installed 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card and a 500 GB SSD.

    Design and features

    The abbreviation NUC stands for "Next Unit of Computing" - Intel's next computing element for personal computers, in a compact form factor.

    Originally NUC mini PCs were a convenient way topromote Intel mobile processors to the personal computer platform and filled the gap between Mini-ITX computers (with full-fledged processors) and laptops. NUCs were designed for basic tasks in cramped offices, or for secondary applications like digital signage.

    However, Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit has gone far fromthose initial devices. This is not the same small PC that the first models were - 35.7 x 18.8 cm long and 12 cm high.This is the largest NUC to date, so it is easy to confuse it with a full-size desktop computer.

    The Beast Canyon version looks attractive,therefore, you will hardly want to hide it somewhere in the far corner. In this case, you will not be able to admire the huge glowing skull on the front side of the case. What's more, there is a customizable RGB lighting underneath that looks great in the dark.

    The skull logo has become a symbol of the most powerfuldevices from Intel, although not to everyone's taste. However, the panel can be easily removed, and you can install any other one with a cut-out pattern through which the backlight rays will pass.

    Internal components

    At the heart of this PC, like some of the latest Intel Extreme NUCs, is a replaceable Compute Element from Intel.

    It consists of a motherboard and a processor (inin this case, Core i9-11900KB) connected to the rest of the system via the PCIe x16 Gen4 slot. This module is easily replaceable, which allows for simple and (in theory) inexpensive upgrades in the future. The Compute Element supports up to 64GB of dual channel DDR4 RAM via two SO-DIMM slots.

    There are four M.2 for SSD (Type-2280), and two of them can be NVMe or SATA3 in Type-2242 format or -2280 in RAID mode. In addition, the Compute Element supports Intel Optane Memory M10, H10, and H20 drives. Intel sells Compute Elements separately, the price varies depending on whether you need a Core i7 or Core i9 processor.

    The NUC 11 Extreme Kit can be installedDual-slot graphics card up to 12 inches (30.5 cm) in length. The existing power supply has two 8-pin power connectors, so you won't be able to install the most powerful video cards like the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Suprim X 24G. Although they still won't fit here.

    However, the user can connect suchgreat options like the 11.2-inch Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition GPU, which when paired with a Core i7 or i9 will deliver incredible performance in any game.

    Connectors and connections

    Since much of the Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit (Beast Canyon) is based on connecting external components, there are plenty of connectors here. Most of them are on the back panel.

    We have two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, an RJ-45 portEthernet, six Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 2 and one HDMI 2.0b (for on-chip graphics). There is also a set of video outputs, depending on the installed video card. On the front, you'll find an SDXC card slot, a headphone / microphone combo, and two more Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 2.

    The power button is located above the ports, onfront side. Almost all M.2 slots are accessible from the top of the chassis and on the Compute Element. If you flip the Beast Canyon, then you will see another M.2 slot - you can plug an SSD into it without removing the video card or Computing element.

    Производительность в повседневных задачах

    The performance of the Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit depends a lot on the components installed, although you will have a powerful processor anyway.

    I tested the assembly with 16 GBRAM and a GeForce RTX 3060 video card, which is more than enough for any games or tasks. The NUC 11 Extreme Kit (Beast Canyon) scores 7,575 points in PCMark 10, which measures the system's ability to handle everyday tasks. The score is much higher than all other NUCs - the Asrock DeskMini X300 scored 4,781 and the Intel NUC 9 Extreme Kit scored 6683.

    Approximately the same figures were given by the Cinebench testR15, where the capabilities of the processor and all cores are checked under maximum loads. The reviewed version of Beast Canyon has 2078 points here, which is significantly more than all similar PCs.

    Converting a 12-minute 4K video to 1080p with HandBrake 1.1.1 takes 6 minutes, which is one minute faster than the NUC 9 Extreme Kit, but much better than the competition.

    Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit gaming performance

    The capabilities of the Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit (Beast Canyon) directly depend on the graphics card you choose.

    If you install something powerful like NvidiaGeForce RTX 3060, competitors will have no chance. In the 3DMark Sky Diver test, Beast Canyon has almost 48 thousand points. Among mini-PCs, only the NUC 9 Extreme Kit shows a similar result - 46,200, the Asrock DeskMini X300 gains only 12,000, while other models have an even lower result.

    In gaming, the NUC 11 Extreme Kit is a true monster.The Far Cry 5 benchmark runs at 125 fps at 1080p, 91 fps at 1440p, and 47 fps at 2160p (4K).

    In Rise of the Tomb Raider, the results are 142/97/51 fps, respectively. Equipped with a powerful graphics card, the mini PC can easily handle any modern game.

    Total

    While many past Intel NUCs could have beenproblems to fit in a small bag, the new NUC 11 Extreme Kit (Beast Canyon) already resembles a full-fledged desktop PC. Fortunately, the increased size makes up for the powerful hardware, however, much depends on which components you install.

    The Beast Canyon version is slightly larger than consolesthe latest generation Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, so it makes a great alternative. True, this PC will not be cheap - for 85 or 100 thousand rubles you will get a device with a Core i7-11700B or Core i9-11900KB processor, but you will have to buy additional RAM, video card and SSD yourself.

    Should I buy

    If you need a small PC for office tasksor streaming video, you should definitely opt for a simpler NUC. Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit (Beast Canyon) is a full-fledged gaming computer in a more compact package. Due to the modularity of the Computing Element, it is easy to upgrade here, however, given the presence of powerful hardware, you are unlikely to have to do this in the near future.

    Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit Compact Gaming Computer - video

    Vasily Hi-tech Vasily - the author of the websiteTehnObzor who likes to know something new and about everything. He will write his own review and take a picture in an unusual way. A romantic at heart and a technician in life, he has a lot of experience and his own, slightly philosophical view. Largest and most powerful NUC Design and construction 95/100 Connectivity and connectivity 95/100 Features and convenience 90/100 Performance 95/100 Additional options 95/100 Total 94 PCs Intel's NUC 11 Extreme Kit packs a lot of power thanks to the innovative Compute Element and support for full-fledged GPUs, giving gamers and content developers tremendous power, the size of a shoebox. Advantages and Disadvantages Huge potential in a small package Supports full-size graphics cards Large selection of ports including dual Thunderbolt 4 Modular Compute Element simplifies future CPU upgrades Sleek RGB logo and backlighting with tons of background effects Design not for everyone More than any other NUC No preconfigured models