Intel Ghost Canyon NUCs being teased at CES2020… and the Razer Tomahawk N1
2020 should be the year when we’ll see a wider range of mainstream and high-performance mini PCs and NUCs (Next Unit of Computing). It is indicated that AMD will step into this market. Intel is replacing its Hades Canyon for Ghost Canyon NUC 9. Make PC desktops greater than RGB rainbow-puke.
The Razer Tomahawk N1 is an example of the NUC 9. The upcoming Intel Hades Canyon has its upper-end variants as an SFF PC rather than a NUC in the traditional 4X4 format. Intel Ghost Canyon has a flagship unlocked Core-i9 NUCs and discrete GPU support, providing high-performance desktop gaming pc-like function in a very small factor. It also incorporated ‘Compute Element’ cartridges which has a PC’s components in a swappable module, ranging between CPU, GPU, Memory up to 64 GB, storage and other hardware.
Because of its use case and modularity design, these will be a much larger unit than a traditional NUC, but still smaller than a mini-ITX PC. Razer Tomahawk N1 is an example of Intel Ghost Canyon NUC. The gaming company showed off this unit at CES 2020 with an Intel Core-i9 CPU and GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card.
Razer Tomahawk N1 Specs
- Up to an Intel® Core i9-9980HK 8-Core Processor
- Dual-Channel DDR4 SODIMMs, 1.2V max 64GB @ 2400MHz or 32GB @ 2666MHz
- HDMI 2.0a Connector
- Supports 3x 4K Displays (Intel UHD Graphics)
- 2x M.2 Key M slots (80/110)
- 2x Thunderbolt 3 Ports
- 6x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A connectors
- 2x Intel 10/100/1000 Mbps (i219-LM and i210-AT) Ethernet ports
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 series graphics
- Small Form Factor build & Modular design
About the Tomahawk N1…
The casing is no different than an external GPU box but with two PCIe x16 slots. This is based on an all-aluminium chassis with tempered glass to show off the graphics card that’s vertically mounted. The N1 does have tool-free modular access where you can quick release the components. These are aimed at gamers, streamers and content creators (just like we’d expect).
Razer advertises Tomahawk as a gaming desktop and chassis. The NUC 9 modules are universally compatible with the evolved eGPU cases. These would house two PCIe slot modules that clip on the PCIe board. The mainboard and the GPU are slotted like a daughterboard-style installation. We might see a series of internal and external components just like traditional desktop components. The difference is, this reduces the traditional desktop system component count from six to either three or four- the mainboard module which has the CPU with built-in cooler, RAMs and SSD, a desktop-grade discrete GPU and a chassis with a built-in power supply. Naturally, NUC 9 version sellers would most just have a pre-built unit.
NUC 9’s modular design
The mainboard with the CPU, RAM and SSD acts as a daughterboard which is installed on the Tomahawk’s PCIe slot. You then install the graphics card on the second PCIe slot and connect the PCIe power connectors on the graphics card. This is an SFX power supply. Needless to say, this is a combination of Intel’s updated ATX specifications and standards It is a safe assuming since Intel sets the ATX standards- including power supplies, The CPUs are most likely soldered, but gives you the access to upgrade RAMs and storage. Looks like Intel did fulfil its desire to have BGA/ pre-soldered mainstream CPUs but with a different spin. The decision to do so back in 2013 was pulled back after the DIY enthusiast community backlash. This is a more acceptable implementation
Potential release dates
There would be two variants of the pre-built units. But the N1 will be available in the first half of 2020. Hence, the Intel NUC 9 variants from other manufacturers would be almost ready. Of course, the modularity and the branding would carry its own set of premium pricing. We will just have to see what the near-future has to show off.
— Hardware BBQ (@HardwareBBQ) January 12, 2020