Intel has just presented its NUC X15 laptop kits, which reveal what the gaming laptops for enthusiasts that we are going to see in the coming months must be like. What are the particularities of these kits and what differentiates them from a conventional gaming laptop?
When Intel or AMD create a new processor, what they do is to create reference platforms so that the different manufacturers know under what conditions they have to assemble them in their equipment. Let’s not forget that a CPU does not work on its own, but is part of a system. That is why reference equipment is created in the form of complete desktops or laptops to test the functionality of the processor and its intercommunication with the different platforms with which it is compatible.
In notebooks, PCBs are usually created with all the elements that are usually soldered to it, such as the CPU, GPU, VRAM, etc. These are then sold to notebook manufacturers or assemblers.
What are, Intel NUC X15 kits?
Intel has just introduced five new notebook kits, under the common nomenclature of NUC X15. The specs include the use of an Intel Core i5-11400H or i7-11800H CPU with Tiger Lake-H architecture in conjunction with an NVIDIA RTX 3060 or RTX 3070 GPU. Three distinct IPS screens are included in the kit: Full HD at 144 Hz, Full HD at 240 Hz, and 165 Hz QHD.
Mechanical keyboards with RGB lighting, wifi 6, Thunderbolt 4, compatibility for NVMe M.2 PCIe 4.0 storage, 2.5 Gbps Ethernet, HDMI 2.1, 3 USB 3.2 type A ports, and a 94 Wh battery round out the general specs of the various kits. As a standard feature, the kit does not include RAM or storage, leaving this option to the assembler or laptop manufacturer. In any case, while these kits cannot be utilized right away, they employ SO-DIMM memory slots, so connecting the necessary RAM and storage is simple.
It is striking that the specifications do not include a single SATA port for communication with an optical drive or a conventional hard disk. And the transition to the use of NVMe SSD in gaming PCs as a standard storage unit continues unchallenged.
Where can we buy it?
Unfortunately, Intel does not sell these kits directly to the general public, but rather to notebook assemblers such as ASUS, GIGABYTE, Lenovo, MSI, and any other brand of gaming notebook. This does not imply that they will simply put the RAM and storage in their own cases and sell it under their own brand, as multiple assemblers will use their own cases and substitute specific components of the Intel kit with proprietary equivalents.
In any case, it gives us a sense of what gaming laptops we may expect in the future months, with CPUs based on the Tiger Lake-H architecture paired with NVIDIA RTX 30 Mobile GPUs from NVIDIA. However, it is possible that the NUC X15 will be the last gaming notebook kit offered by the brand with an external GPU, as we expect notebook kits of this type with an Alder Lake CPU and an ARC Alchemist GPU next year, not to mention the NUC 12 desktop kit, which will have a purely Intel CPU and GPU configuration.