Often seen as a direct competitor to the likes of Apple’s Mac Mini, Intel’s NUC (or Next Unit of Computing) are tiny PCs that measure just 10cm in each direction and yet hold all of the same components that you would expect to find in an Ultrabook. They’re fantastic little machines to use as home theatre PC (HTPC) solutions.

Every time there is a new generation of Intel’s processors, the NUC family receives an upgrade to its hardware which is why the next generation of Broadwell processors from Intel presents a potentially large move forward in the NUC’s power and performance capabilities.

According to a set of leaked slides obtained by FanlessTech Intel is currently readying a wave of new NUC products that are set to be released in the next 12 to 18 months. With everything from the lower-end Celeron chips all the way up to high-end Core i5 toting boxes that could challenge the likes of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 consoles for control of the living room.

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The hardware configurations all feature either 8GB or 16GB of RAM with a selection of smaller form factor M.2 hard drives as well as 2.5 inch SATA based drives available on some NUC units. USB 2 and USB 3.0 ports are littered throughout and Intel’s HD graphics power the visual experience with 4k output supported over both HDMI and mini DisplayPort.

Considering just how many gamers use Intel’s on-board HD graphics chips without the addition of a dedicated graphics card there is every reason to believe that the next NUC with even more powerful graphics and processors could be the perfect addition to a living room gaming setup for those not interested in having a noisy monster of a gaming rig rasping for air in the corner.

For those still looking for the graphical masterpieces that a high-end gaming rig is capable of, the NUC could be used in conjunction with a rig in a separate room to play games via Steam’s In-Home-Streaming service which would give gamers all the power with none of the noise while enjoying some down time.

[Source & Images – FanlessTech, Via – ExtremeTech]