Released: Hades Canyon NUC is the Most Powerful NUC Ever

Intel has released the Hades Canyon NUC in the CES 2018 event in Las Vegas. The Hades Canyon NUC will come in two variants: the NUC8i7HNK and the NUC8i7HVK. The difference is in the CPU. The former will sport a 65-watt Intel Core i7-8705G CPU and the latter a 100-watt Intel Core i7-8809G. Intel calls the unit their “VR Machine”.

However, what’s really something different here is the fact that Intel has chosen to integrate AMD GPUs on the Hades Canyon NUCs. The NUC8i7HNK will come with an AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL and the NUC8i7HVK with an Radeon RX Vega M GH GPU. Who would have thought that we’ll see the day when Intel produces a system with an AMD GPU?

The case has grown to 1.2 liters and is 39 mm in height (1.5 inch), 221 mm wide (8.7 inch) and 142 mm deep (5.6 inch). The top of the case looks matte black, but when the LEDs under the hood are lit, you can see the familiar skull logo Intel used already for their Skull Canyon model before. You can configure the colour of the LEDs in the BIOS or switch them off.

Intel really went ballistic with the connectivity options on the Hades Canyon NUC! There are 2 HDMI 2.0a ports, 2 mini DisplayPort connectors, 7 USB 3 ports, 2 ThunderBolt 3 connectors, dual gigabit Ethernet ports, front and rear audio connectors. Inside the box there are 2 M.2 slots for NVMe or SATA SSDs, 802.11ac WiFi with bluetooth and 2xDDR4-2400 slots for up to 32 gigabytes of RAM. They’ve literally filled the unit with various connectors. In addition there’s a quad-microphone array and a consumer infrared receiver in the thing. All this connectivity means that the NUC is able to support up to 6 displays.

The NUC will be sold as a barebone kit and you will need to install the SSD and the memory chips yourself. The NUC8i7HNK model will initially retail for $799 and the more powerful NUC8i7HVK goes for $999. They’re both expected to reach consumers late March.


  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8809G, base freq. 3.1 GHz, boost up to 4.2 GHz, quad-core, TDP 100 W, unlocked (NUC8i7HVK)
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8705G, base freq. 3.1 GHz, boost up to 4.1 GHz, quad-core, TDP 65 W (NUC8i7HNK)
  • GPU: Radeon RX Vega M GH Graphics, 1063 MHz-1190 MHz, 24 CUs, 4GB HBM2 memory (NUC8i7HVK)
  • GPU: Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics, 931 MHz-1011 MHz, 20 CUs, 4GB HBM2 memory (NUC8i7HNK)
  • RAM: 2x DDR4-2400 SO-DIMM, 1.2 volt, 32 GB max.
  • SSD: 2x 22×80 (22×42 also supported) M.2 SSD slots for SATA or NVMe SSD
  • Front and rear HDMI 2.0a ports
  • 2 rear Mini DisplayPort ports
  • 2 rear Thunderbolt 3 ports (40 Gpbs)
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 (10 Gbps) port (front)
  • 6 USB 2.0 ports (2 front, 4 rear)
  • 2 Intel gigabit Ethernet ports (i219-LM and i210-AT)
  • Intel Wireless-AC 8265 WiFi adapter with Bluetooth 4.2
  • 3.5 mm front audio jack, 3.5 mm rear audio connector with TOSLINK optical audio out
  • Consumer infrared receiver
  • Quad microphone array
  • SDXC card reader
  • Dimensions: 221 mm x 142 mm x 39 mm (8.7″ x 5.6″ x 1.5″)
  • 230W power adapter

So that’s the Skull Canyon replacement that comes out in a couple of months. What do you guys think? Pretty good connectivity for a mini PC, but we shall see how well the heat sink (that’s as wide as the whole case) and the two fans inside are able to cool it down. Pretty sure the performance will be pretty good and Intel is saying the performance of the 100-watt version will be on par with GTX 1060. In any case, certainly one of the more interesting NUC releases for a while!

35 Responses

  1. hans says:

    Sounds like a nice desktop replacement. But as an owner of the 5th and 7th generation NUC the part which interests me most is the acoustics. I love the 5th generation as it is quiet. I am always disappointed of the noise of the 7th generation. And the skull canyon was said to be noisy – I hardly doubt that they made any improvements on that part. That is why for me the NUC line got uninteresting – unfortunately. Hopefully AMD produces something similar in the near future. I would buy a new mini PC like a NUC as soon as something nice and quiet is available.

    • Bruce Patterson says:

      Hans – i think you will be pleasantly surprised with Hades Canyon acoustics. The engineering team has done a new approach to cooling the device which is producing great results so far.

      Disclaimer: I work for Intel on the Intel NUC team.

      • Ben says:

        Bruce, you’re the first to tell that the cooling solution has been reworked. That’s great news. I own the skull canyon NUC and the only complaint I have is the noise. Otherwise it’s a gorgeous machine and I’m planning to buy the Hades Canyon NUC as well.

      • Ben says:

        Forgot to mention: and I’m very excited about the VEGA Graphics! ;-)

      • Wow, as a first-time owner of a skull canyon, I am excited to hear about the Hades Canyon. The new cooling system is great news, thanks for sharing. For my skull canyon, I had to replace the previous thermal paste to get acceptable noise. I think you’ll find the stock paste job interesting, take a look at this image…

        It is in my opinion one of the worst ever seen, really a bad detail on such a greatly build system.


  2. Bob says:

    So sad. No HDMI 2.1 implemented. Would be cool for Dynamic HDR, HFR = [email protected], Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Quick Media Switching (QMS) or Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). But hey, we´re still waiting for a “real” Linux driver. **ARRRG*

  3. Eric B says:

    I have the current skullcanyon. Generally it’s been good to me, with three issues — 4k @ 60hz, tight network bandwidth, and the fan noise as @hans mentioned. The new box seems to address 4k @ 60hz with the HDMI 2.0a ports. I’m guessing fan noise is similar, although the larger case volume may allow lower fan speed. One the network bandwidth, dual gigabit NIC gets there to some extent — SMB multi channel allows the bonding. I’m guessing it isn’t there, but RDMA would be nice in the NICs. What I do wish, however, is they included the 10GB copper ports like they did on the xeon-D hardware.

  4. Wes says:

    Amazing little machine but overkill for most of us. Bring on the Bean!

  5. Vlad T says:

    Intel, please fix the following NUC shortcomings:
    1. Noise pollution is a major issue. Please replace the current fans with larger fans, like the ones used in a NAS. That way the coolers can run at a lower speed while providing a far lower level of noise. Nobody will care about 1cm extra in height and every user will be grateful with the quiet operation.
    2. Please release a version with 2x m.2 NVME instead of m.2 NVME + HDD Sata ports and allow RAID 0 and RAID 1 support. There are plenty of great offers on 2x 256 GB or 2x 512 GB NVME SSDs, rather than 1x 1TB / 2TB sticks.
    3. lastly, please add an optical out audio port. that way home users can connect their hi-fi systems, especially for media center usage. Most hi-fi systems have an optical jack and the lack of one is a big drawback.

    Thanks !

    • Fred says:

      Most hi-fi systems nowadays support HDMI audio, which has many benefits over optical audio (multichannel PCM for example and more advanced audio formats, such as DTS-HD or Dolby Atmos). Intel won’t include an optical audio interface for legacy systems. If you want to keep your current amp you can alway get either a USB sound card or a splitter box which extracts the audio from HDMI and converts it to Toslink.

    • Ben says:

      Hi, did you even read the article? Hades Canyon NUC has 2x M.2 NVME and an TOSLINK optical output. Even the predecessor Skull Canyon has both, I own one.

      • Vlad T says:

        @Ben – I was referring to the NUC7CJYH (the small NUCs). Those are really missing 2x M.2 NVME (RAID) and an TOSLINK optical output along with a larger, lower rep and more quiet fan

      • Vlad T says:

        @Ben – well, whatever the version is … the 8th gen equivalent of the NUC7i3DNHE

  6. peter says:

    I wonder why the shape, design of the case is so “gaming” like. I hate it. I prefer simple box like lower NUC models. Why the flagship, most powerful NUC is looking like a stupid toy for a teenager with a stupid skull on top I don’t understand. Why Intel is so stupid that they are positioning their most powerful computer as toy for kids? It is a WORKSTATION replacement and they SHOULD make it obvious for professionals by desing language. Boy, I really think Intel designers are lame.

    • Pac says:

      I agree. The skull symbol on top of the case is a deal killer. I’m not going to spend this kind of money for a PC that looks like it was sold at Hot Topic.

      • Olli says:

        While I haven’t seen the finished product yet, my understanding is that the top cover is actually full matte black. There’s a LED under the cover that lights up the skull logo. Some areas on the cover (the skull logo) are a bit transparent so the LED lights up the skull. I’m quite certain that you can switch off the LED in the BIOS settings and if you decide to do that, there’s no visible skull logo.

  7. Johnny says:

    I still can’t get it, which one have better GPU ? Will AMD Ryzen\Vega desktop APU be with faster for games/vr ? Or if CPU and GPU is joined by usual process instead of Intel new interconnect and HBM2 memory will be better ? Or these two lines are not comparable, because one will be available as FBGA and other as usual CPU ?

    But I am sure what i need, small box capable of running VR and at least 1440 gaming, it could be intel NUC form, it could be CPU on ITX mb 17×17 cm, or something similar as mobile solutions etc.
    Btw, anybody knows where to get these new fbga solutions ? Motherboards with soldered Kaby Lake G or new AMD APU ?

  8. Joe Duarte says:

    Vlad and Fred: The article says that this NUC has an optical Toslink port in the back. The way it’s written suggests that it’s integrated into the 3.5 mm audio port. The way that works is that you use a special connector that is longer than the standard 3.5 mm phone plug, which has the optical interface at the tip, which will contact the Toslink interface deep in the port.

    Apple did the same thing for a few years in the 3.5 mm audio ports on their MacBooks (not sure if they still do). You can buy the special connector/cable on Amazon.

    I may be in the minority, but desktops that don’t have optical drives annoy me. DVD and Blu-ray are the best archival, long-term storage formats we have, especially when using the super durable versions like M-Disc. And there are still lots of discs floating around out there with people’s photos, docs, etc. And optical discs are far more secure than USB sticks for sharing data and running separate live OSes like Tails, Alpine, etc.

    A nice slot-loading DVD drive would add very little volume to a NUC.

    • Vlad says:

      Why not get an external optical drive that’s USB connected? Those drives work great and I have 2 of them for documents backed up on blurays for long term storage backups.

    • Nathaniel says:

      I agree. Right now I have a nuc5i3ryk and an Akasa Max S which is bulkier than necessary but suits me best. The nuc6i5 might work in the case with the backplate from the Max MT6 but I can’t find one.

      I will buy the lower performance model of this and make a custom case on a cnc machine as long as there is a reasonable way to connect a bluray writer. If not then I hope in the future there is a coffee lake stx board. If I’m going to have to carry a bulky external drive around I might as well just go stx.

  9. kix says:

    i have been using nucs for the past 4 years, unfortunately the noise has gotten even worse with performance increases.
    maybe this one won’t be as bad as previous ones, but definitely not as silent as we desire.

    zotac zbox E(slim, e.g. en1060k) are tiny silent beasts – barely audible under full load.
    they even have new ryzen/polaris models now.

    besides that there are various models from gigabyte and asrock, but they are told to be as noisy.

  10. Ben says:

    What’s your problem with [email protected] exactly? I too own the Skull Canyon NUC and use a Dell 4k screen with it. You can attach 3 4k displays with 60Hz on the Skull Canyon NUC, one on the HDMI 2.0 port, one on the MiniDisplayPort and one on the DisplayPort 1.2 Type-C port.

  11. pat says:

    Love it, I’ll get the bigger brother. Hope they don’t screw up on the cooling.

  12. John Evans says:

    I’m quite excited about the prospective 2018 NUC with i7, AMD graphics and 32GB RAM. As an IT Manager in an architectural practice, I would like to know whether I might want to consider replacing my desktops and possibly my laptops with NUCs. My question to this community is therefore, has anyone any experience of running Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk Revit and Autodesk 3D Studio Max on any of the existing range of NUCs? If so what are the pros and cons?

    • Vlad says:

      Photoshop works fine on the larger Skull canyon nuc, but as you start loading and processing photos the whole thing heats up and the noise level goes up as well. Sadly, after 1 year of use the thing gets louder and louder. Too bad they don’t add a larger fan that can run quiet at lower rpm.

      I replaced 70% of my business’s laptops with NUCs and 30% of them with Asrock Beebox-S. The Asrock mini PCs are substantially quieter than the small nucs, though sadly Asrock have not released a version that’s equivalent to the Skull Canyon (2x m.2 NVME in Raid and an optical out port, which helps a lot with video processing and a higher quality sound system). If they did that I would swap out all NUCs for the Asrock beebox-S. The low power usage works great in the office, but a quiet system is way more important as it does not disturb everyone else.

  13. Jerry Suppan says:

    Per the listed specs in the article, are you sure it is USB 2.0 ports x 6? Why would Intel go backwards with USB 2.0 and yet incorporate a pair of thunderbolt 3 ports in the same device? I presume USB 3.0 was intended.

    • Nathaniel says:

      They are listed as usb 3.1 gen 1 in other sources with one of the two front facing ports being a charging port.

      • Jerry Suppan says:

        I thought so as I have a friend of mine at Intel who informed me as such. Thanks. Perhaps the misinformation in the article specifications should be corrected then.

  14. Rich W says:

    Now we just need a fanless giant case for it or install giant fanless heatsink to the core/gpu.

  15. Hey I just saw a benchmark from a Korean website (03/01/2018) for this new NUC. Does anyone know if it going to be released soon stateside?

  16. theo says:

    i saw a video on youtube in which i noticed a sata header. what about that, will it be feasible to connect a sata hdd or ssd??
    P.S. If so, i hope that the new hades canyon xpansion lid will be cheaper than the skull canyon’s..

  17. Pavel says:

    NUC8i7HVK with non-skull version top lid.
    This product looks advanced technically, I am keen to bay it and use for my office productivity work, CAD etc. but I am sure I never bay it, till Intel scrap death symbol on it; or offer non-skull version top lid.

  18. John V says:

    I have one of the more expensive version ones running now. Just installed more drivers and now have 3d graphics and sound working better.

    I’m still trying to figure out how to configure raid-0. Currently have two Samsung 970 installed. I looked in Bios settings and didn’t find a raid option. Any ideas where it is? Some other software to download?

    Pavel: there is a utility program that lets you configure the skull LEDs. One option is off, the logo would then just be barely visibly. Could always put a sticker on it. (but, yes, I get your point – probably $20 worth of multicolor LEDs there. I would rather have a less expensive box)

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