As part of its CES 2021 announcements, Intel officially unveiled a number of NUCs based on their Tiger Lake SoCs. Intel's initial NUCs were all based on 100mm x 100mm (4in x 4in) boards, kickstarting the UCFF craze that contributed to revitalizing the PC market. Over the last few years, we have seen Intel expand the NUC to encompass multiple other form-factors, while keeping compactness in mind:

  • Performance: The original 4x4 UCFF units
  • Pro: 4x4 UCFF units with expansion support and vPro capabilities
  • Compute Elements: Add-in Card form factor with carrier boards for system design
  • Extreme: Compute Elements using a 45W TDP processor with a base board hosting up to three PCIe expansion slots (inclusive of a M.2 22110 NVMe slot) and a 5L chassis enabling compact gaming and workstation PCs
  • Rugged: NUCs designed for operation in industrial and factory-floor type environments, sporting processors based on the Atom microarchitecture
  • Essential: 4x4 NUCs sporting processors based on the Atom microarchitecture
  • Laptop Kit: Reference design / whitebook models for OEMs to bring notebooks to market faster
  • Enthusiast: Compact PCs with a 5.5in. x 8in. motherboard sporting a discrete GPU (either soldered or in-package)

The Panther Canyon NUCs are the Tiger Lake-based "Performance-class" units, with eleven different SKUs based on three different boards.

All the models operate the Tiger Lake processors (Core i7-1165G7, Core i5-1135G7, or the Core i3-1115G4) with a TDP of 28W. The K and H kits are the usual ones we have seen in previous generations - the latter has support for the installation of a 2.5" drive. Panther Canyon also has a Q SKU that adds a wireless charging lid (up to 15W) on top of the H chassis. The specifications are summarized in the table below.

Intel Panther Canyon NUC (Tiger Lake-U) Lineup
Model NUC11PA{K/H/Q}i3 NUC11PA{K/H/Q}i5 NUC11PA{K/H/Q}i7
CPU Intel Core i3-1115G4
2C/4T
1.7 - 4.1 GHz (3.0 GHz)
12 - 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i5-1135G7
4C/8T
0.9 - 4.2 GHz (2.4 GHz)
12 - 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i7-1165G7
4C/8T
1.2 - 4.7 GHz (2.8 GHz)
12 - 28 W (28W)
GPU Intel® UHD Graphics for 11th Gen Intel® Processors (48EU) @ 1.25 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (80EU) @ 1.3 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (96EU) @ 1.3 GHz
DRAM Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
Up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 in dual-channel mode
Motherboard 4.13" x 4.16" UCFF
Storage SSD 1x M.2-2280 (PCIe 4.0 x4 (CPU-direct) or SATA III)
DFF 1 ×  SATA III Port (for 2.5" drive)
Card Slots Full-sized SDXC UHS-II
Wireless Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
2x2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1 module
Ethernet 1 × 2.5 GbE port (Intel I225-V)
USB Front 1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
1 x Thunderbolt 3 Type-C
Rear 2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
1 × Thunderbolt 3
Display Outputs 1 × HDMI 2.0b
1 x mini-DP 1.4a
2 × DisplayPort 1.4 (using Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports)
Audio 1 × 3.5mm audio jack (Realtek)
PSU External (90W) External (120W)
Dimensions Length: 117 mm
Width: 112 mm
Height: 38mm (K), 51mm (H), 56mm (Q)
MSRP ? ? ?

Intel's technical product specifications provide additional details on the I/Os. We see the front and rear Thunderbolt ports (curiously, marketed as Thunderbolt 3 instead of Thunderbolt 4) are enabled directly from the TGL-U processor. Two display outputs (DP 1.4a) are also routed through these Thunderbolt ports within the processor itself.

Interestingly, a protocol converter is still needed on the board to convert the DP 1.4a display output to HDMI 2.0b. There is a PCIe 4.0 x4 lanes set for attaching a NVMe SSD. The high-speed I/O lanes are multiplexed with a SATA port allowing the installation of a M.2 SATA SSD in the same slot. The LAN port is enabled by the i225-V 2.5 Gbps controller, while the SDXC card slot on the side requires an additional SDXC bridge chip. The Wi-Fi 6 capabilities are enabled by the soldered Intel AX201 CNVi card.

Panther Canyon looks to be a solid upgrade over the Frost Canyon NUC despite the loss of a couple of cores (the Frost Canyon NUC was a hexa-core affair), thanks to the improved CPU microarchitecture and a host of system-level upgrades. On the latter front, we have an additional Thunderbolt port, a 2.5 Gbps LAN port (compared to the regular Gigabit port in the Frost Canyon NUC), ability to install a PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, and the ability to drive up to four 4Kp60 displays. Additionally, we also have some of the Panther Canyon SKUs sporting a 15W wireless charging lid.

Various reseller listings have come up for the Panther Canyon NUCs in Europe. However, Intel has not provided a concrete launch date or pricing details for any of the SKUs yet.

Source: Intel

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  • AdrianBc - Monday, January 18, 2021 - link

    The price in Europe for NUC11TNHv70L, i.e. the top model with 1185G7 and dual Ethernet + 6 USB Type A is announced as EUR 650.

    Normally in USA the price in USD is the same, so it should be $650, $100 less than your estimate.
    Reply
  • Fulljack - Monday, January 18, 2021 - link

    Intel already sell AX210 with Wifi 6E and BT 5.2 but why still release this with AX201? Reply
  • Deicidium369 - Monday, January 18, 2021 - link

    the 6GHz band requires an external antenna - and I have not seen a single NUC11 with external antenna jacks. Reply
  • erinadreno - Wednesday, January 20, 2021 - link

    I don't think external antenna is mandatory, there are wifi 6E flexible antenna products. My guess would be Intel being Intel and not offering the absolute best, or Windows doesn't have ax211 driver so ppl can't connect to wireless if they do fresh install Reply
  • Deicidium369 - Thursday, January 21, 2021 - link

    for 6Ghz it is. and it's the AX210 - and if it means so much to you, you can replace the AX201 - it is NOT soldered down.

    LOL - you are not interested in this product, trying to find some reason to bash Intel
    Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - link

    Some of these might be interesting, but that depends on the key information currently showing as "?" : pricing. I bought a NUC quite a while ago, and it was good value for the money. With these, Intel's apparent reluctance to say how much they want for them makes me wonder. Reply
  • KimGitz - Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - link

    I thought Tiger Lake comes with support for upto 4x Thunderbolt 4/USB4 ports integrated.

    I would rather it featured 4x Thunderbolt 4/USB4 ports for power, data and video. 2 in the front, 2 in the back. All 4 Thunderbolt supporting USB-PD which can deliver upto 100W to the host and 36W to devices.
    I can't wait for Thunderbolt to support PCIe 4.0 to facilitate eGPUs properly.
    I would have also included a SD Card Reader with support for SDUC and SD Express version 8.
    I love the idea of having 3 types of display protocols. Tiger Lake has 4 display pipes from the integrated display engine.

    Intel missed an opportunity for a Quad line:

    - Tiger Lake H 4C/8T (4 Cores)
    - 4x Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 ports based on PCIe 4.0x4
    - 4TB Rocket Q4 NVMe PCIe 4.0 M.2 2280 Internal SSD Solid State Drive (SB-RKTQ4-4TB)
    Reply
  • Deicidium369 - Thursday, January 21, 2021 - link

    Well Tiger Lake also supports LPDDR4x and DDR5 - and 8 cores Reply
  • ZoZo - Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - link

    When are Xeon versions coming for those who want ECC?
    Also I never understood the segmentation. Pentium and Core i3 have ECC, but not Core i5-i9, you need their Xeon entry-level counterparts for that. Ok, but they hardly more expensive, yet are harder to source. What's the point ?!
    Reply
  • AdrianBc - Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - link

    The 8-core Tiger Lake H expected end of March should have a Xeon version, to replace Comet Lake H (Xeon W-108xx). Also Rocket Lake should have a Xeon version, to replace Comet Lake S (Xeon W-12xx).

    Mobile workstation laptops from Dell, HP and Lenovo with the Tiger Lake Xeon should appear around April or May.
    Reply

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