Intel’s New NUC Laptop Kit: Whitebook Tiger Lake For Allby Dr. Ian Cutress on November 19, 2020 1:21 PM EST
The Next Unit of Computing branding, known as NUC (pronounced nu-ck), has long been associated with Intel’s small form factor desktop designs featuring mobile-class processors. Last year Intel broke that design philosophy with the introduction of the NUC 9 Pro, known as Quartz Canyon, which allowed for a PCIe graphics card in a unified box. Intel today is announcing the next step on the NUC journey, with a pre-built laptop featuring 10nm Quad-Core Tiger Lake Processors.
The new NUC M15 Laptop Kit (codename Bishop County) is a pre-built notebook/laptop isn’t going to be something that an end-user can purchase outright. Rather than directly compete with its laptop partners, the unit is going to be offered to Intel’s laptop partners and channel customers for them to re-brand, potentially build upon, and then resell. This is why it is called the whitebook market, and why I used whitebook in the title of this article.
The NUC M15 design uses Tiger Lake (Intel Core 11th Gen) with Xe graphics in a platform designed to meet Intel Evo requirements for premium laptop design. This means meeting minimum specifications on wake-up time, charging, Thunderbolt, Wi-Fi, and screen power consumption. Evo still needs to be applied for by each brand that takes the M15 on for itself to modify and re-sell, but Intel states that offering this whitebook model will help a lot of regional retailers offer something a bit beyond the normal range of designs with their own unique modifications.
One of the first channel partners that emailed us about their implementation of the M15 was Schenker, a Germany-based retailer that sells across Europe and other locations. Normally we see the company implement Clevo whitebook designs, and so this is something a bit different – the Schenker Vision 15 is a 15.6-inch implementation in an aluminium unibody design with a touch display, 450 nit brightness, Thunderbolt 4, a PCIe 4.0-enabled SSD, and charging options enabled through Type-C on both sides.
Inside is the quad-core Tiger Lake Core i7-1165G7 with Xe graphics, and with the 73 Wh quick-charging battery the company claims it enables 14 hours of Wi-Fi or 10 hours of H.264 local video playback (measured at 150 nits). Schenker is claiming CBR23 scores of 1537 for ST and 5990 for MT, and will offer performance profiles for regular use or peak performance (the latter peaking at 84ºC and 40.8 dB(A) according to the company). The keyboard is listed as having LED-backlighting, and Schenker will support 25 country-specific keyboard layouts.
On storage and memory, Schenker will offer a variety of PCIe 4.0 storage options, as well as LPDDR4X-4267 memory options. Both Thunderbolt 4 ports will support charging, and an additional USB 3.2 Gen 2 port is available. A Linux version will be offered by Schenker’s sister company, TUXEDO Computers.
Shipping will start in January, with the base model offering a Shadow Grey design with the Core i7-1165G7, 16 GB LPDDR4X-4267, and a 250 GB Samsung 970 EVO Plus storage drive, which will retail in Europe for €1499 ($1531 USD equivalent pre-tax). Users after PCIe 4.0 storage will be able to select various capacities of Samsung 980 Pro. Standard warranty is 36 months. Schenker hasn’t yet applied for Intel Evo certification, but has stated that it meets the standards.
We are expecting other companies to offer similar versions of the NUC M15 design, however one of the issues with the whitebook market is differentiation. With the majority of the hardware in this unit going to be the same from other Intel channel partners, the margins might be very tight. Schenker states that they are a lead partner in this collaborative design.
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XMG Support - Thursday, November 19, 2020 - linkUsing 2 Thunderbolt ports is not so unlikely. Use one for your Docking Station or USB-C Power Supply and the other one for some very fancy Thunderbolt Device (DAW or eGPU) that you wouldn't want to daisy chain behind your dock.
SSD can be upgraded on bestware. Keyboards without number pads are a valid choise to center the touchpad in the middle and give the hands more room to navigate. We have numpads on most of our 15" devices but that doesn't mean that everyone likes them. Also, the smaller keyboard helps with items like battery size and speaker placement.
For more Q&A, check out our "[Launch] SCHENKER VISION 15 with Intel for 2021" thread on Reddit.
Duncan Macdonald - Friday, November 20, 2020 - linkThe SSD can be upgraded - but for the price of the laptop a larger SSD should have been included.
The keyboard could have been full size while leaving the touchpad in its current position.
Probably fewer than one in 10 purchasers of this laptop will even use one of the Thunderbolt ports (except possibly as a way to charge the laptop to free up a USB port). The number that will use 2 Thunderbolt devices at the same time is very small. (In general Thunderbolt devices and cables cost more than their USB equivalents - there are only a few devices that are only available on Thunderbolt.)
Quoting the battery life at a dim 150 nits may make the spec look better but will not do anything to improve the real life video viewing time at an acceptable 300 nit brightness.
ABR - Saturday, November 21, 2020 - linkAren't the two thunderbolt ports also USB-C / 3? I'm happy to let USB-A die at this point. Good if laptops stop including them, so device manufacturers start coming along.
PeachNCream - Thursday, November 19, 2020 - linkSo it seems like Intel is just directly contracting a 3rd party to produce a to-spec laptop that they intend to sell for rebranding and subsequent resale to consumers. How is that much different than an OEM simply selling a laptop to a consumer without the markup of an additional set of profit-seeking participants in the middle? Is it that Intel's leadership believes that applying the NUC branding will drive interest and sales because that's really what it looks like at surface level.
oRAirwolf - Friday, November 20, 2020 - linkLack of a 16:10 or 3:2 screen = No thanks
Laptop makers need to come to terms with the fact that 16:9 is not a good screen ratio for laptops.
zodiacfml - Friday, November 20, 2020 - linkIntel, you can't do this. Apple M1 and AMD Ryzen selling for less than this
Spunjji - Friday, November 20, 2020 - link€1499 seems like an awful not for a moderately decent notebook with an also-ran CPU and 256GB of storage. That's higher than MacBook prices, and the MacBook Pro 13 based on the M1 is an all-around better proposition for someone who's prepared to go with macOS. For everyone else, even here in the UK you can get a mid-tier Zephyrus G14 with a more capable 4800HS CPU, twice the storage, a better display and a genuinely gaming-capable 1660Ti GPU for £1399. I know where I'd put my money.
All due credit to Schenker - they offer a compelling package overall, especially accounting for the warranty - but I can't help but feel Intel are bringing very little of value to the table.
TheinsanegamerN - Friday, November 20, 2020 - linkThis type of thing is what AMD needs to be doing as well with ryzen mobile. Intel has done it for years with fantastic results. I've been saying that since the days of Llano, that AMD needs to partner with clevo, MSI, or tongfang and show the rest of the market what a proper APU laptop should be.
lmcd - Friday, November 20, 2020 - linkThe problem is that you listed MSI -- MSI has reliably delivered designs that lack proper cooling and demonstrate what a proper APU laptop is not. This is why AMD needed design wins like the Asus G14 Zephyrus. Clevo and MSI don't make proper laptops for the mainstream to buy, and will never convince the rest of the market to do much of anything except add more cooling.
UNCjigga - Friday, November 20, 2020 - linkCurious if Micro-Center, Newegg or even Amazon would consider jumping in on this (an AmazonBasics laptop anyone?) Might be the kind of non-gaming laptop that the desktop HW enthusiast might cross-shop?