Intel @ CES 2015

Intel is moving hard into small, low power devices and that was evident in what they were showing at CES this year. We started out with tablets, but the really interesting stuff started when the new Broadwell NUC came out.

First we saw a demo of it running an incredibly slick picture/video manager that used to require a quad-SLI system to produce the same responsiveness – demonstrating the GPU prowess in the updated chip. Intel has been making significant progress in this area generation-over-generation so it was great to see; definitely something to test with madVR. The new NUCs don’t just offer an updated CPU, 802.11AC wireless is now included on the board, and M.2 storage is also supported. The chassis is slimmer and offers a removable top allowing 3rd party vendors to make add-ins that attach directly to the case. HTPC use was clearly in mind, with a concept tuner (connected via the internal USB cable show in the gallery) from Hauppauge on display. Unlike last year, we should see both the 2.5” storage supporting model and the super slim model shipping around the same time (soon).

Intel also showed us their new USB powered “Compute Stick”, which looks like an oversized Chromecast but has a quad-core Bay Trail Atom inside. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are included, and should the built-in storage prove too restrictive microSD expansion is available. There will be a 16GB/1GB @ $89 and a 32GB/2GB @ $149 model targeted at Linux and Windows respectively. Personally, I can’t wait to see what it can do – looks like a fantastic OpenELEC or Super SFF HTPC.