Intel NUC History: Formation, Generations, Acceptance

Intel NUC History: Formation, Generations, Acceptance

May 2021

Intel NUC history formation

At Simply NUC, our dedication to providing clients with the very best Intel NUC and mini-PC options is unmatched. From completely customizable mini PCs to accessories and numerous solutions, we offer powerful small form factor computers for a variety of business and home uses.

Not only are we dedicated to finding our customers the best computer solution based on their unique needs, but we also have a great appreciation for the technical advances that have allowed our company to thrive. While the Intel NUC itself was introduced to the computing world less than a decade ago, it’s gone through several major evolutions and made strides in performance improvement. This two-part blog series will go over the general history of the Intel NUC and give you a glimpse into the background of its technology.

NUC Definition & Formation

First of all, let’s define the Intel NUC, which is short for “Next Unit of Computing”. Invented and designed by Intel, the NUC began conceptualization in late 2011 (more on this in a moment). The barebone Intel NUC kits consist of a 4”x4” motherboard, in a plastic case with a heatsink and fan, an external power supply, and a VESA mounting plate.

The Intel NUC has been through numerous iterations since the first generation came out in the first quarter of 2013. The following sections will go over these broadly and discuss how the Intel NUC has become a viable segment of the mini PC industry.

First Generation: Ice Canyon

The first generation of Intel NUC was launched in 2013, but it’s important to note that this was actually the culmination of many years of research and observation within the computer industry. Simply put, Intel realized that the variety of portable computing devices at that point in time was not diverse enough – and performance of products like netbooks was simply not enough.  Furthermore, laptop PC technology advancements were driving scalable performance in an ultracompact and low profile footprint.  Examples include BGA processors, SO-DIMM memory, and M.2 SSDs.

Based on these factors, Intel decided to come up with something new. Its first generation NUC, Ice Canyon powered by a Core i3 Ivy Bridge processor, was launched in the first quarter of 2013 with a UCFF motherboard and system kit. UCFF stands for “ultra-compact form factor”, which was an idea that originated at Intel but now has been cloned by many other hardware vendors. Ice Canyon and other initial NUC versions used varying processors, from Core to Celeron and Atom. From the start it was clear that compact small form factor computers would have a future in many market segments, and over the years they’ve only grown in popularity and success. 

Becoming a Family of PCs

With time, the NUC and related mini PC products have become their own family within the computing world. They’ve been upgraded in features and performance, going through about ten different distinct stages. In part two of our series, we’ll go over a few of the specifics of NUC generations and how they’ve evolved to their current state.

For more on the history of the Intel NUC, or to learn about any of our mini PCs, speak to sales at Simply NUC today. 

Simply NUC, Inc. is a systems integrator specializing in mini computers. Simply NUC provides fully configured, warranted, and supported mini PC systems to businesses and consumers, as well as end-to-end NUC project development, custom operating system installations, and NUC accessories. For more information visit Intel Partner Alliance.

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Benefits of Fanless Mini PCs Pt. 3

Benefits of Fanless Mini PCs: Compact, Location, Mobility

April 2021

fanless mini PCs compact location

In parts one and two of this multi-part blog series, we highlighted numerous benefits of the fanless mini PC. The lack of a fan is just one of several positive qualities of these modern computing devices, and they’ve grown in popularity in a number of fields and industries over recent years. 

At Simply NUC, we’re happy to offer a wide range of mini PCs, kits, accessories and solutions. With such a broad range of products, we’re able to power our clients’ computing and processing needs in numerous market segments around the world. 

What are some of the other reasons fanless mini PCs have skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years, and why might you consider it over a standard PC option for your business needs? Here are a few more benefits to keep in mind.

Compact Design

One of the key issues with fans in standard computers is the space they require. To operate properly, there needs to be space not only for the fan itself, but also for air circulation. With a fanless mini PC, this is not a concern thus allowing for a more compact design. The components of the fanless PC take up minimal space and the parts fit tightly together in the enclosed chassis. With this ergonomic design, fanless mini PCs can be stored easily in a wide variety of settings.

Location Flexibility

Another major benefit of fanless mini PCs is their ability to be moved around and used in different areas. Not only are they extremely portable, but they can be easily mounted on virtually any surface or moving arm. Without concern for fragile fans or air circulation, fanless mini PCs can be utilized in even the harshest conditions.

Mobility Factors

Beyond the simple portability and flexibility of fanless mini PCs, another benefit is their versatile power input technology. When used in the medical field, some fanless mini PCs support hot-swappable batteries and related technology allowing for autonomous control over the PC and other peripherals such as a printer, keyboard, or barcode reader. Hot-swappable batteries remove dependence on electrical outlets or battery-powered carts to power medical equipment enabling 24/7 computing power from anywhere in the facility.

For more on the benefits of a fanless mini PC or to learn about any of our other mini PC offerings, speak to sales at Simply NUC today. 

Simply NUC, Inc. is a systems integrator specializing in mini computers. Simply NUC provides fully configured, warranted, and supported mini PC systems to businesses and consumers, as well as end-to-end NUC project development, custom operating system installations, and NUC accessories. For more information visit Intel Partner Alliance.

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Benefits of Fanless Mini PCs: Sterility, Noise, Shock Resistance

Benefits of Fanless Mini PCs: Sterility, Noise, Shock Resistance

March 2021

benefits fanless mini PCs sterility

In part one of this multi-part blog series, we went over some of the primary benefits of fanless mini PCs for a variety of industries. From their compact nature to several performance qualities that separate them from conventional PC options built with fans, these fanless mini PCs are a major asset in several different types of settings.

At Simply NUC, we’re proud to offer a huge selection of Intel® NUC and other mini computer systems, from mini PC kits to fully customized mini PC systems and much more. We’ve assisted a variety of clients with different small form factor compute needs, including fanless selections for those who require more rugged and industrial solutions. Today’s part two of our series will go over a few additional benefits that come with fanless mini PC options, plus some reasons why they’re required in certain specific industries.

Shock and Vibration Resistance

As we noted in part one of this series, the removal of the fan has several major impacts on the performance of fanless mini PCs compared to conventional types of computers. One significant impact: highly improved shock and vibration resistance.

Across a number of settings, including industrial usage, this quality is extremely important. There are many situations where you’ll see fanless mini PCs combined with military grade components to reach a high level of performance – situations where traditional fanned computing options will create too much vibration or will not resist shock well enough, leading to potential damage to the interior of the device.

Sterile Environment Safety

Whether we’re talking about food processing, a hospital emergency room or even pharmaceutical manufacturing, there are numerous settings where environments must be kept sterile. And for these types of settings, the fanless mini computer is an excellent option.

This is because you can easily combine these mini computers with an antimicrobial casing, in addition to the lack of dust circulation due to no fan-induced air flow. When properly enforced and sealed, this type of computer can even be cleaned and disinfected with liquid chemical solutions per CDC guidelines – again, another benefit you won’t get from most other traditional computing options. Finally, the simple lack of dust in these environments is a major plus on its own, as dust getting into the computer could  limit performance or even risk short-circuiting the computer.

Noise Limitation

Another major benefit of fanless computers is their virtually silent operation. There are certain settings where quiet is vital, such as operating rooms, intensive care units or even sound recording studios – and many of these environments require computers running. For these scenarios, the fanless mini PC is a great choice.

For more on the benefits of the fanless mini PC, or to learn about any of our other systems, solutions, or services, contact us today.

Simply NUC, Inc. is a systems integrator specializing in mini computers. Simply NUC provides fully configured, warranted, and supported mini PC systems to businesses and consumers, as well as end-to-end NUC project development, custom operating system installations, and NUC accessories. For more information visit Intel Partner Alliance.

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Benefits of Fanless Mini PCs: Efficiency, Durability, Risk Blockage

Benefits of Fanless Mini PCs: Efficiency, Durability, Risk Blockage

February 2021

benefits fanless mini PCs efficiency

Technology is improving rapidly around us, and the world of computing is a perfect example. There are numerous older technology concepts that are being either phased out or replaced by newer ones, and one of these is known as the fanless PC design. 

At Simply NUC, we’re proud to offer a comprehensive range of Intel® NUC and other mini computer solutions, from mini PC kits to build-your-own mini-PC services and much more. We’ve helped numerous clients power their businesses with our mini PCs to save space and improve efficiency, including those who are looking for fanless options. 

What are some of the versatile benefits of fanless mini PCs, and what are some of the industries they’re commonly found in? This multi-part blog series will go over several areas to look at. 

Energy Efficiency

For many, the primary benefit of a fanless mini PC is their great energy efficiency. These computers come with processors that create far less heat than conventional computers – this is why more conventional types of computers tend to require fans.

Fanless computers generate less heat and consume less power while still providing fantastic processing performance to the device. This is one of the key reasons why fanless computers are often found in important industries like the medical world or various areas of industrial manufacturing: Better processing and energy efficiency means both improved speed of computing and lower costs.

Durability

Another major benefit of fanless computers is their durability and reliability, even in fairly harsh conditions that might otherwise cause computers to wear down quickly. The simple lack of a fan is one of the biggest components at play here – fans tend to build up dust and other debris over time, and may seize up as a result, plus often lead to vibration risks. 

Fanless computers, however, come with no such risks. Not only are there no fans, there are no moving parts whatsoever that experience these kinds of failures. The system removes heat from processors and other components passively, rather than requiring a fan for this. This means there’s no need for maintenance cooling either, which increases the long-term lifespan of the computer. 

Blockage of Internal Risks

In addition, fanless computers contain no risk of debris or other items being blown into sensitive components. With fanned computers, this can be a risk – some fans blow inward, sometimes bringing in dust and dirt particles that will build up over time. 

On top of eliminating moving components, the fanless computer simply removes the chances of any such debris entering in this manner. There is no fan opening for debris and dust to blow into, no matter which way air flows.

For more on the benefits of fanless mini PCs, or to learn about any of our computers or solutions, contact us today.

Simply NUC, Inc. is a systems integrator specializing in mini computers. Simply NUC provides fully configured, warranted, and supported mini PC systems to businesses and consumers, as well as end-to-end NUC project development, custom operating system installations, and NUC accessories. For more information visit Intel Partner Alliance.

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Basics on Edge Computing & Comparisons to Cloud

Basics on Edge Computing and Comparisons to Cloud

January 2021

edge computing comparisons cloud

The world of computing involves a number of remarkable processes that devices drive, and a great example here is known as edge computing. Originated from content delivery networks in the late 90s, edge computing involves both computing and data storage within close proximity to the locations where these facets are needed, with the goal of improving both response time and bandwidth usage.

At Simply NUC, we’re happy to feature a wide variety of advanced computing solutions, like our Beechwoods Edge Server and more. What exactly is edge computing and how does it compare to other storage solutions like the cloud? Here’s a primer. 

Edge Computing Basics

It’s important, first and foremost, to understand that edge computing doesn’t only refer to traditional computers. Numerous devices that need to collect and process data will use the concept of edge computing to do so, including your Apple watch. 

This is because edge computing actually refers broadly to the ability of a given device to collect, process and share both data and insights derived from that data. The goal is for the data and the computing device to be close together, with some of the analysis taking place within the actual device itself and in real-time.

Edge Vs. Cloud

Another simple way of understanding edge computing is by comparing it to cloud storage and computing. In some ways, edge computing is an extension of the cloud that allows the cloud to be unlocked – data from devices within an edge system are collected on the device itself, then analyzed at the network level before being sent to the cloud. 

But before it’s sent there, some of this data is already processed at the edge. This means that instead of needing to send 100% of the data intake information to the cloud, less data needs to be sent – reducing processing latency for real-time decisions and diverting the more compute-intensive computations to more powerful cloud computers. For this reason, while cloud storage and edge computing are very different, the highest-level solutions actually combine them. 

Closer to Location

Another key difference between edge computing and the cloud is proximity to the actual device location. As those who have used the cloud are well aware, it’s not physically connected to any of your devices – meaning data must be sent to and from it, which requires bandwidth plus data and computing power.

Edge computing, however, is localized data intake and analysis. As we noted above, this saves significant bandwidth time, especially in situations where rapid decisions need to be made across multiple devices,

For more on edge computing and why it’s valuable, or to learn about our broad choice of mini PCs and solutions, contact us today. 

Simply NUC, Inc. is a systems integrator specializing in mini computers. Simply NUC provides fully configured, warranted, and supported mini PC systems to businesses and consumers, as well as end-to-end NUC project development, custom operating system installations, and NUC accessories. For more information visit Intel Partner Alliance.

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Why Mini PCs are Ideal for Home Entertainment Systems

Why Mini PCs Are Ideal for Home Entertainment Systems

November 2020

Mini PC ideal home entertainment

A home entertainment system is often a major priority for many homeowners, and for many such processes, the right equipment involves a central computing device that allows for control and tweaking of the setup. And whether you’re designing a home theater, a gaming setup, or any other kind of entertainment center, there are several reasons you should strongly consider a mini computer for your controlling needs. 

At Simply NUC, we’re proud to offer numerous NUC and mini computer options, including laptops, fully configured solutions, and much more. Why should a mini PC option be among your first considerations for the controlling device for any home entertainment system you’re considering installing? There are several reasons, which we’ll go over here.

Maximizing Space

Within many home entertainment systems, space comes at a premium. Between wires, boxes and other large items, those creating an expansive home entertainment system will regularly be looking for ways to save space while still including all the components and controls they need.

A mini computer is a great tool here, functioning as a small, but powerful option.  Both smaller and lighter than traditional laptop or desktop setups, mini PCs are easier to move around or hide away in situations where you don’t want them to be visible. This helps with everything from aesthetics to convenience for your setup, allowing for perfect control without the ugliness and inconvenience of a bulkier computer.

High Performance, Limited Power Needs

As we noted above, despite their size, mini PCs are incredibly powerful devices. Each of our mini computers can pack a huge amount of power into a small space, but do so while also limiting the amount of electricity that’s used up during their operation – which, in turn, saves you money on your utility bill at the end of each month. 

For those who game often or use their entertainment center a ton, you’ll know how quickly electrical costs can add up. Not only will our products save you money, they’re easy to install and will provide the kind of speed and power you need to coordinate several entertainment elements at once.

Customization Capabilities

Every homeowner wants their entertainment system to be unique, and with the ability to fully customize your mini PC on our site, you’re able to pick the exact features you want. From allowing you to pre-load your desired operating system to various configurations in terms of accessories, storage, and RAM. This makes customizing any element of the entertainment system even simpler in several ways.

If you’re looking for a fully configured media server to compliment your home entertainment system, check out our HomeBase Media Server powered by Plex. With the ability to access your media safely and securely while anywhere, the HomeBase Media Server helps you combine your digital world into place.

For more on why a mini computer is often your best choice for helping control a home entertainment system, or to learn about any of our products, please contact us today.

Simply NUC, Inc. is a systems integrator specializing in mini computers. Simply NUC provides fully configured, warranted, and supported mini PC systems to businesses and consumers, as well as end-to-end NUC project development, custom operating system installations, and NUC accessories. For more information visit Intel Partner Alliance.

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Advantages of Mini PCs Over Laptops in Business

Advantages of Mini PCs Over Laptops in Business

December 2020

Advantages mini PCs laptops business

Computing needs are a constant for many in the business world, and for those regularly on the go, modern technology offers several great choices. In particular, those who travel often will require a portable computing option, and will commonly find themselves choosing between a laptop and a mini PC.

At Simply NUC, we’re proud to provide numerous mini PCs that are completely customizable for business, embedded, educational, and gaming needs; and we do carry some laptop options for those who require them. How do mini PCs compare to laptops for those in the business world, and which should you choose based on your needs? 

Here’s a quick primer on each of these, plus some areas where mini PCs tend to hold advantages over traditional laptops.

Defining Laptops and Mini PCs

We’re all generally familiar with the standard laptop, which is a category outside tablets for the purposes of this conversation – largely because, while they’re growing in popularity, such devices don’t really match laptops or mini PCs in terms of power and hardware. Laptops have grown much more powerful in the last decade-plus, now much more so than desktops used to be, but they retain their portable nature as well.

Mini PCs are a smaller form factor computer designed to bring the same level of computing in an even smaller package. Mini PCs are available in numerous different configurations and with various additional components, packing huge amounts of power into a small unit that’s easy to pick up and move wherever. These products are very popular in industrial and other commercial areas, but are also growing across larger consumer areas due to their convenience. 

Up next are a few advantages of mini PCs for many in the business world.

Portability 

To be clear, both laptops and mini PCs are highly portable. In most cases, though, mini PCs hold an edge here. Mini PCs don’t have their own screen and keyboard – they just require unplugging the box, and you can immediately be ready to move. For those who work in multiple areas and require a smaller package to carry, a mini PC is the easy choice, especially if monitors are readily available in all locations.

Additional Costs

Laptops tend to be more expensive to maintain and support. The cost of accessories such as docking stations, laptop cases, and laptop bags can quickly add up. Laptops can require costly maintenance like periodic battery replacements. Additionally, there can be damage due to regular transportation of your laptop like a cracked screen, damaged port, or broken keys. Laptops tend to also have a higher risk of being stolen.

Hardware Limits

One small downside of some laptops is the way they set hardware limits on their systems. Mini PCs, on the other hand, offer a more modular experience that allows for much more variation in devices used, meaning you can upgrade monitors or other input devices much more easily.

Power

Finally, the two products are relatively even when it comes to power capabilities today. Our mini PCs use processors that are of incredibly high quality, and allow for power levels that match the best laptops out there.

For more on the differences between laptops and mini PCs for those in business, or to learn about any of our computers, contact us today.

Simply NUC, Inc. is a systems integrator specializing in mini computers. Simply NUC provides fully configured, warranted, and supported mini PC systems to businesses and consumers, as well as end-to-end NUC project development, custom operating system installations, and NUC accessories. For more information visit Intel Partner Alliance.

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