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Intel Officially Launches Baby Canyon NUCs with Kaby Lake: Thunderbolt Makes a Re-entry

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The Baby Canyon NUCs were leaked in July 2016, and Intel officially launched the units at CES 2017. The first-generation NUCs based on Ivy Bridge had a SKU with Thunderbolt support. However, Thunderbolt went missing till it came back in the Skull Canyon NUC (NUC6i7KYK) last year. The Alpine Ridge controller for Thunderbolt 3 also integrates a USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller, making the Type-C Thunderbolt 3 port quite versatile. The Baby Canyon NUCs bring Thunderbolt back into the UCFF NUC form-factor. All the Baby Canyon NUCs have the Alpine Ridge controller. However, the i3 model is limited by firmware, allowing the Type-C port to support only USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Display Port 1.2. The i7 and i5 models have full Thunderbolt 3 support.

The leaked specifications we wrote about in July were more or less accurate, and the official specifications allow us to fill in some of the missing blanks. The updated table is presented below. SKUs ending with K are units that do not support a 2.5″ drive (only M.2 SSDs are supported).

Intel Baby Canyon NUC PCs
NUC7i7BNHNUC7i5BNHNUC7i5BNKNUC7i3BNHNUC7i3BNK
CPUCore i7-7567U
2C/4T
28 W TDP
Core i5-7260U
2C/4T
15 W TDP
Core i3-7100U
2C/4T
15 W TDP
GraphicsIntel Iris Plus Graphics 650Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640Intel HD Graphics 620
PCHIntel Sunrise Point-LP for Kaby Lake-U
MemoryTwo SO-DIMM slots, up to 32 GB of DDR4-2133
2.5″ bay1×2.5″/9.5mm bay, SATA3None1×2.5″/9.5 mm bay, SATA3None
M.2 SlotUp to M.2-2280 SSD with SATA3 or PCIe 3.0 x4 interface
Wi-Fi/BTSoldered-down Intel Wireless-AC 8265 (802.11ac 2×2 + BT 4.2) with WiDi support
EthernetIntel I219V Gigabit Ethernet controller
Display OutputsDisplayPort 1.2 via USB-C connector
HDMI 2.0
Audio3.5 mm TRRS audio jack
7.1 channel audio output via HDMI or DP
Thunderbolt
& USB-C
1x Thunderbolt 3 Type-C (40 Gbps) (USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Display Port functionality included)1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (with Display Port functionality included)
USB4 USB 3.0 Type-A (5 Gbps), one with charging
Other I/OMicroSDXC card reader with UHS-I support
One infrared receiver
Size (mm)115 × 111 × 51115 × 111 × 31115 × 111 × 51115 × 111 × 31
PSUExternal, 65 W
OSCompatible with Windows 7/8.1/10
Product PageNUC7i7BNH SpecificationsNUC7i5BNH SpecificationsNUC7i5BNK SpecificationsNUC7i3BNH SpecificationsNUC7i3BNK Specifications

In terms of appearance, the chassis sides now have a shade of gray to provide a better look when seen along with the black lid. We have a micro-SDXC slot on the side (a full-sized SDXC slot couldn’t apparently work with their thermal design). In terms of performance, Kaby Lake should provide the claimed 7 – 11% improvement over the corresponding Skylake products. The new NUCs are also Optane-ready – allowing Optane M.2 SSDs to work seamlessly in conjunction with 2.5″ hard drives in the future (when the Optane SSDs come into the market). One important thing to note here is that the i7 model uses a 28W TDP SKU (the Core i7-7567U), compared to the 15W TDP SKUs used in the i3 and i5 models. The i7 and i5 models have Iris Plus graphics with 64MB of eDRAM. None of the Baby Canyon NUCs support vPro. HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 is supported, thanks to the inclusion of a LSPCon in the BOM. This should make the units into perfect HTPCs with Netflix 4K capability. Compared to the NUCs from the last few generations, these units are not a big upgrade in terms of unique features for other use-cases. Generally speaking, we are not convinced that the Optane-ready feature is a big enough reason to upgrade to the Baby Canyon NUCs. That said, the i7 model should prove pretty interesting to compare against the Broadwell-U Iris NUC.

The NUC7i3BNH with the neutered Alpine Ridge Controller
(Note that the Type-C port only carries the SS10 / DP logos)

Intel indicated that the kits are slated to come into the market over the next few months at price points similar to the current Skylake versions. While official MSRPs were not provided, we see the NUC7i7BNH for pre-order at $700, the NUC7i5BNH at $610, and the NUC7i3BNH at $496.

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