Get 'em while you can: Intel begins purging NUCs from inventory
Is that a firesale we smell?
Intel has begun purging its Next Unit of Computing (NUC) lineup, issuing a slew of product discontinuation notices just weeks after abandoning its mini-PC division and handing the reins to Asus.
As of August 18, Intel's NUC 12 Enthusiast kits, X15 and P14E reference laptops — yes, Intel made notebooks — will officially be discontinued, with the last call for interested parties to get their hands of remaining stock being September 8.
Intel's NUC 12 Enthusiast kit was particularly notable as it served as a showcase for the chipmaker's ARC A770M GPU. This particular NUC, code named Serpent Canyon, was discontinued less than a year after hitting the shelves in September 2022. Based on the performance we saw from the chipmaker's desktop chips, we can't say we're all that surprised.
From the product change notifications, it’s not exactly clear how long Intel will continue providing support for these products. This responsibility may actually end up falling on Asus, which has reportedly agreed to manufacture, sell, and support 10th to 13th-gen NUC hardware.
However, for the time being, Intel tells us that “existing support processes continue to apply,” and that “when this changes, Intel will notify its customers and distributors.”
The latest bout of product discontinuations comes just weeks after the chipmaker killed off its PC division as part of a widely publicized cost-saving measure intended to curb Intel's annual spending to the tune of $8 billion to $10 billion a year by 2025. We expect these discontinuations to be the first of many to come over the next few weeks as the chipmaker clears inventories. As we've previously reported, the last NUC hardware is expected to leave Intel's warehouse by September 30.
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The good news for fans of Intel's quirky little, and sometimes no so little, PCs is you can expect to see these parts on warehouse shelves and at your local e-tailor for a while longer, potentially at a steep discount if the fire sale on Intel's Optane SSDs following their cancellation last summer is anything to go by.
Intel, like some other chip giants, has faced financial headwinds over the past several quarters as demand for PC hardware has plummeted. Intel's fortunes appear to be improving with the x86 titan posting a profit of $1.5 billion in Q2, up from a $2.8 billion loss the prior quarter.
Ironically, much of this recovery was attributed to better than expected PC demand for desktops. However this trend wasn't enough to save the NUC division from CEO Pat Gelsinger's ax. After all, Intel still needs to cut $3 billion from its annual spend this year, and the NUC division doesn't exactly have the best sales record. Last year we learned the x86 giant only shipped 10 million NUC units over a decade, a fact that earned the division a place on our Intel-cost cutting Bingo card.
Those still mourning the end of the NUC family should find solace in the fact that the NUC concept will live on under Asus' stewardship. Last week, the manufacturer's Tinker Board division showed off a new single board computer available in a NUC form factor. ®