Intel’s NUC (Next Unit of computing) modular PCs have always been intriguing. That you can upgrade a tiny machine by slotting in a new card to beef up the CPU and memory as you would a graphics card is great. Diminutive and modular, Intel’s NUC ideas have been held back by the inability to use more powerful graphics cards – keeping them out of the mindshare of more core PC gaming audiences. That’s changing. This week for CES, Intel’s unveiled its newer NUC 9 Extreme (or Ghost Canyon).
The Verge has an excellent breakdown of Intel’s implementation, which will allow for up to a mini GeForce RTX 2070 combined with a Core-i9 processor. More intriguing (for me, anyway) is Razer’s implementation, called the Tomahawk. It takes Intel’s NUC 9 Extreme platform and gives it steroids, delivering a tiny modular desktop that allows for fully PC assembly and upgrades within seconds.
“A perfect fit for the Intel NUC 9 Extreme Compute Element, the Razer Tomahawk N1 is a sleek, compact desktop chassis with an advanced modular layout, infusing Razer’s minimalistic design language into a gaming chassis to create a one-of-a-kind desktop case, capable of achieving high clock speeds and framerates without the bulk of a full-sized desktop.
The Razer Tomahawk N1’s all-aluminum body is flanked by tempered glass on both sides, highlighting the vertically mounted GPU in all its glory, with an open vent design at the top to maintain cooling performance. The rear features a lock-and-slide sled mechanism that opens with minimal effort, allowing for quick access to internal components without the need for tools,” says Razer.
With its slightly bigger chassis, Razer’s Tomahawk supports bigger graphics cards, and will happily house up to a GeForce RTX 2080 Super, combined with the Core i9, up to 64GB of RAM. The RAM and SSD modules on the system are also replaceable, making for easy upgrades.
Razer will offer their Tomahawk as both a barebones case, and a full turnkey system. That system will start at $2,300 with a Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, GeForce RTX 20-series GPU, and a 512GB SSD. That’s an awful lot of money, but as more manufacturers embrace NUC, we may see that start to come down.
Last Updated: January 8, 2020