Intel officially unveils Chaco Canyon, first fanless NUC in five years


The Intel NUC 8 Rugged—otherwise known as Chaco Canyon—is intended for IoT, edge analytics, and digital signage, among other use cases, and is available in kit or board-only configurations.

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Intel has published specifications for the NUC 8 Rugged, including the board-only NUC8CCHB and full kit NUC8CCHKR systems, collectively known as “Chaco Canyon,” marking the first fanless NUC offered by Intel since the Bay Trail-based Thin Canyon NUC from 2014.

Intel’s Next Unit of Computing (NUC) series, introduced in 2013, is perhaps the second most well-known brand of SFF PCs, behind Apple’s Mac Mini. In contrast, Intel typically sells NUC systems as barebones kits, requiring the user to add their own memory and drive. While the Hades Canyon NUC competes head-to-head with the Mac Mini, the Chaco Canyon NUC is focused on Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing use cases, putting it closer in competition with the Raspberry Pi.

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While third-party aftermarket cases for NUCs have existed for years from firms like Logic Supply, these typically are large aluminum cases with visible fins, as it utilizes higher-power 15W Intel Core processors, not the 6W Celeron found in the Chaco Canyon designs.

The Chaco Canyon designs use an Apollo Lake-era Intel Celeron N3350, a dual-core CPU clocked at 1.1 GHz base / 2.4 GHz turbo, with 4GB LPDDR3 soldered onto the board, and 64 GB eMMC included. The board includes a single M.2 2280 slot for NVMe or SATA SSDs. The bare board includes an M.2 2230 slot, which is populated in the kit with an Intel Wireless-AC 3168 card. 

Four USB ports are included, with one front and one rear USB 3.0 (Type A) ports, with an additional two USB 2.0 ports on the rear. Board headers include an additional USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, as well as a single RS-232 port. Gigabit Ethernet, 3.5mm line out, and one HDMI 2.0 and 1.4 port are also available.

Intel touts the system as “qualified for 24×7 operation” and is compatible with VESA mounts, with additional allowances on the case for picture-frame style hanging and securing with zip ties. Intel’s product brief recommends it for use in digital signage applications, mobile pedestal computing for medical clinics, operator consoles in manufacturing environments, and in quick service restaurants, as well as IoT and edge analytics.

The Recommended Customer Price listed by Intel for the kit is $198, with the bare board ranging from $166 to $198, depending on configuration. Both come with a three-year warranty. 

For more, check out “Intel’s NUC Compute Element vs. Raspberry Pi Compute Module” and “USB-IF to continue confusing name scheme with USB4 Gen 3×2” at TechRepublic.

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Image: Intel

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