Meet Chaco Canyon, Intel's New 6W Passively-Cooled NUC

A KoolShare forum user has dismantled and reviewed Intel's unannounced NUC 8 Rugged, which seemingly goes by the codename of Chaco Canyon.

Credit: KoolShareCredit: KoolShare

The Intel NUC 8 Rugged has a miniature housing that flaunts a 154 x 108 x 32mm footprint and weights 547.5g. KoolShare's engineering sample carries the NUC8CHK part number. The NUC board NUC8CCHB itself measures 146 x 102mm. The NUC's enclosure is made of plastic and has a couple of mounting options. There are VESA mounting holes, picture frame keyholes, zip-tie notches and spacing for third-party DIN rail brackets. The front panel has an expansion bay in the event that you want to add a daughtercard to the NUC 8 Rugged.

A Celeron N3350 (codename Apollo Lake) processor powers the NUC 8 Rugged. The dual-core, HyperThreading-less 14nm chip runs with a 1.1 GHz base clock and 2.4 GHz boost clock. Adhering to a 6W TDP (thermal design power), the Celeron N3350 is low maintenance and allows Intel to implement a fanless cooling solution.

The Celeron N3350 is paired with 4GB of dual-channel LPDDR3 memory and 64GB of eMMC (embedded MultiMediaCard) storage. Both are soldered-down, so there's no room for user upgrade. Thankfully, Intel included a M.2 2280 Key-M slot so you can expand the NUC's storage with a M.2 PCIe x4 NVMe or SATA SSD.

Credit: KoolShareCredit: KoolShare

The NUC 8 Rugged provides internet access through an Ethernet port that's based on the Intel I211-AT controller. There's also WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, thanks to the pre-installed Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168 adapter. The NUC's external USB layout is comprised three USB 3.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports. Internal headers include one USB 3.0 header, one USB 2.0 header and a RS232 serial header.

Regarding display outputs, the NUC 8 Rugged has two HDMI ports: One clings on to the aging HDMI 1.4 standard while the other complies with the HDMI 2.0 standard. In any case, you'll be depending on the Celeron N3350's integrated graphics, which in this case is the Intel HD Graphics 500. It has 12 Execution Units (EUs) with a 200 MHz base and 650 MHz burst frequencies. The Intel HD Graphics 500 is more than sufficient in a working environment, but don't expect to do get any decent gaming out of it though.

Intel hasn't officially announced the NUC 8 Rugged yet. However, the chipmaker has already put up the chipset drivers for it, so we can expect an announcement real soon. Furthermore, electronics retailer TigerDirect has the Intel NUC 8 Rugged (NUC8CCHKR) listed for $247.99.