Intel NUC 13 (Arena Canyon) review
Intel NUC 13: An Analysis of the Redesigned Modular Computing System
The Intel NUC 13 delivers a fairly unique PC solution, deviating from standard pre-fabricated systems. The design incorporates a somewhat modular concept without mandating consumers to start entirely from the beginning. The system showcases a remodelled compact casing compatible with high-tier hardware due to Intel's optimized thermal structure. Intel's Raptor Lake processors succeed the Alder Lake series, expanding on the established hybrid computing model. Although the desktop processors only feature minor microarchitectural upgrades, the -P series gains from the refinement of the Intel 7 manufacturing process. Intel's revised voltage-frequency curves have enabled an increase in turbo clocks for both its performance and efficiency cores, improving overall system operation. The Raptor Lake-P also unveils I/O enhancements, such as extra Thunderbolt 4 ports and USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 support, albeit their availability depends on board component selections. Our submitted model has the 13th Gen Intel Core i7-1360P, the NUC features an Intel 2.5GbE, Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6E, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 rear ports (Type A). Our kit is fitted with RAM (16GB), an SSD (500GB), and is based on the Iris Xe integrated graphics unit (GPU). We're testing the unit as supplied by Geekom, who is an official distributor for this kit
Core i7-1360P: Designed for Performance in Compact Laptops
Belonging to the Raptor Lake-P (an Alder Lake-P refresh) CPU family, the Intel Core i7-1360P is engineered to typically incorporate into thin, lightweight laptops that utilize active cooling systems. This upper-tier CPU, introduced in early 2023, boasts 4 performance cores (P-cores) that employ the Golden Cove architecture, accompanied by 8 efficient cores (E-cores) grounded in the Gracemont architecture. These P-cores support Hyper-Threading, which provides 16 threads when integrated with the E-cores. The clock speeds fluctuate from a 2.2 GHz base to a 5 GHz single-core boost for the P-cores, and 1.6 GHz to 3.7 GHz for the E-cores. As such, the i7-1360P's performance is on par with the preceding Core i7-1270P, making it a viable choice for proper computing tasks.
This CPU supports just PCIe 4.0 x8 for a GPU and two PCIe 4.0 x4 for SSDs. The i7-1360P features a 28-Watt thermal design power (tDP) and is capable of a 64-Watt short burst (PL2). This CPU is fabricated utilizing Intel's refined 7-process technology, known as 10nm SuperFin. However, this model is priced at a higher bracket, reflecting its advanced features and performance capabilities. Comparing the Arena Canyon NUCs with their equivalents reveals significant similarities, ranging from I/O port placements to the internal board architecture. Intel retained minimal changes, like DDR4 SODIMM support and Type-C ports. As a result, the Arena Canyon NUCs' Thunderbolt 4 ports do not support USB 3.2 Gen 2x2. Arena Canyon NUC line displays a few key differences as certain models use specific Core i7-1370P and Core i7-1370PE processors with a 6P+ 8e configuration absent in Alder Lake-P. Some SKUs utilize processors intentionally created for the embedded market, offering a 5-year availability period instead of the standard 3-year lifecycle. Intel plans to launch approximately dozens of Arena Canyon NUC SKUs, including boards, slim and tall kits, and pre-built mini-PCs this year.