Crimson Canyon NUCs Bring More Radeon in September

So while everyone is waiting for the Bean Canyon NUCs (aka Coffee Lake NUCs) here’s some information regarding the Crimson Canyon NUCs. Crimson Canyon is a highly integrated NUC model where most of the necessary components are built-in already at the factory. RAM for example is soldered and cannot be replaced. However, what’s maybe most interesting about these NUCs is the choice of the Radeon 540 as a GPU.

The Crimson Canyon comes in two variants: NUC8i3CYSM and NUC8i3CYSN. The only difference between the models seems to be the amount of RAM, either 4 or 8 GB of LPDDR4-2666. Both models are powered by an i3-8121U CPU (dual-core with hyperthreading, max. 3.2 GHz, 15W TDP) and the Radeon 540 GPU. This is a Cannon Lake CPU with 10 nm lithography whereas the Bean Canyon CPUs will still be 14 nm. The GPU comes with 8 compute units, 512 stream processors and 2 gigabytes of GDDR5 VRAM of its own.

There are four USB 3.0 ports, two HDMI 2.0a ports, Gigabit Ethernet, Intel Wireless-AC 9560 wifi with Bluetooth 5 and an SD card slot.

This seems to be an exlusive model to Simply NUC who are listing the 8GB NUC8i3CYSM and the NUC8i3CYSN on their website. The 8GB unit is expected to ship in September whereas the 4GB model should follow in October.

The price of $574 for NUC8i3CYSM will include a 1TB conventional SATA hard drive that you can opt to change for an SSD and you can also install an NVMe disk in the M.2 slot. The prices for the 4GB model start at $530, but if you’re looking at this NUC, I’d say it’s better to go for 8GB as there’s no way to add RAM later.

It’s certainly interesting to see more NUCs with a Radeon GPU. While the RX 540 is not a Radeon Vega we saw in the Hades Canyon NUC, it definitely should be an upgrade from the Intel HD Graphics GPUs that we’ve traditionally seen in these NUCs…

4 Responses

  1. Peter says:

    Tho’ the 8GB version would be just fine, but also would be nicer with RAM upgrade options. This “soldering” sounds strange and rather a direct artificial limitation against the costumers.
    The AMD GPU is presuming a promising line, maybe with stronger GPU’s in the future. The 540 is near to the Vega 3, which is not that very powerful on it’s own, but maybe with the 2GB DDR5 VRAM it could be better choice for a HTPC. Still nowhere near to even a RX550, which is really the most entry level card for any -basic- MadVR stuff. So this rather seams to be some “mule” solution from the point of a budget HTPC hunter and definitely not suitable for gaming. Yea, and it’s also too pricey, due the preinstalled HDD, which is just unnecessary i.e. in the case of most HTPC users. Still some reviews covering these fields would be interesting.

    • Olli says:

      Thanks for the comment Peter! I tend to agree with you on most of the points. The soldering of the RAM might have something to do with the fact that LPDDR4 RAM was chosen instead of DDR4. As far as I know the low power LPDDR4 is mainly for mobile devices and not available as separate socketed modules.

  2. Brian says:

    The question is which has the faster iGPU for entry-level gaming? The Bean Canyon’s Intel HD Iris Pro 655 graphics or the Crimson Canyon’s Radeon 540 GPU?

  3. Tomi says:


    Iris plus 655 benchmarks are slowly coming in.

    Based on my above link, Radeon 540 beats Intel Iris plus 655 with quite a nice margin.

    In that regard having only version with i3 CPU is a pity. Model with i5 & 16GB memory and Radeon gpu would be quite good alternative for casual gamers. My guess is that Intel wanted to protect NUC8i7HVK and NUC8i7HNK markets by limiting CPU to i3 only.

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