Today, you can upgrade a desktop PC’s gaming performance just by plugging in a new graphics card. What if you could do the same exact thing with everything else in that computer — slotting in a cartridge with a new CPU, memory, storage, even a new motherboard and set of ports? What if that new “everything else in your computer” card meant you could build an upgradable desktop gaming PC far smaller than you’d ever built or bought before?
Last week, I visited Intel’s headquarters in Santa Clara, California so I could stop imagining and check out the NUC 9 Extreme for myself.
The linked The Verge article is a decent overview, but for more information, I’d suggest watching Gamers Nexus’ Stephen Burke’s (praise be upon Him) video, to get an even better idea of what Intel is trying to do here. It’s certainly a very fascinating product, and I’m very happy to finally see a major player trying to do something new to combine small form factors with easy expandability and upgradeability.
I still have many questions, though, most importantly about just how open this platform – if it even is a platform to begin with – really is. The bridge board that the processor PCIe card and GPU slot into looks quite basic, and there already seem to be multiple variants of said board from different manufacturers, so I hope AMD could just as easily build a competing module. If not, buying into this platform would tie you down to Intel, which, at this point in time, might not be the optimal choice.