Monthly Archives: May 2016

  • Intel scores own goal as 6th gen board-only NUC dropped from roadmap

    Updated 26/05/2016

    It is with much disappointment that we have discovered that Intel will not be manufacturing board-only versions of their 6th generation NUC.  Little has been communicated by Intel, the variant mysteriously dropping off the roadmap for the product.  Despite attempts to qualify with Intel why this decision has been reached, we are yet to receive any good reason for the decision.

    As the leading innovator in the field of NUC, G2 broke new ground when we manufactured the world’s first rack-mount NUC in 2014.  Since then, we have continued to develop what has been a highly successful product for us, which provides a solution to many real-world deployment scenarios.

    Unfortunately, the ramifications of Intel’s decision will be some level of feature loss between 5th and 6th generation products.  Whilst not vast, the primary difference is the ability to use higher performance, more efficient DDR4 memory and the inclusion of Intel Iris graphics which was not present in the previous generation.  Whilst small differences now, if this decision from Intel sticks and board-only NUC options are dropped permanently then the gulf in features will become larger over time.  Inevitably, this will impact many customers who want to use NUC in non-standard configurations and outside of Intel’s preferred NUC kit alternative. It’s especially frustrating when removing boards from NUC kits to potentially achieve a board-only result actually invalidates the warranty as well.  In the meantime, OEMs like G2 will be forced to continue using 4th and 5th generation board-only options to provide innovation outside of the NUC kits Intel is now focussing its efforts on.

    It’s a real shame, but rest assured we will continue to put pressure on Intel in every way we can to hopefully overturn this decision.

    If you’d like to know more about our family of NUC products, why not take a further look here?  Alternatively, contact us to speak further with one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News

  • Arrival of Skylake spells demise of Haswell and DDR3

    Updated 09/05/2016

    The delays Intel experienced getting Haswell to market and subsequent availability issues has inevitably led many PC manufacturers to stick with the microarchitecture once it ‘arrived’ and skip Broadwell – it’s more powerful and efficient sibling.  Now, most PC manufacturers (ourselves included) are eagerly anticipating the arrival of Skylake and the significant jumps this promises – claimed by Intel to be the most significant processor upgrade for a decade.  Importantly, we hope Intel has learnt some lessons from Haswell as Skylake holds much promise and it would be a shame for adoption to suffer at the hands of early availability issues like its forefather.

    Life after Haswell…

    What the arrival of Skylake does spell however, is troubled times ahead for users of Haswell.  We are already finding it difficult to source Haswell motherboards and whilst we will be able to offer legacy support for some time yet on Haswell, G2 is still at the mercy of component availability and motherboards are becoming like proverbial hen’s teeth.  Disappointingly, this will have a knock-on effect for customers whose software is dependent on this architecture.  We’d therefore urge any organisations who expect to be tied into Haswell for some time to consider roadmaps and options for their software as early as possible.

    Hello DDR4…

    It’s not all bad news though!  6th generation Skylake is built to use DDR4 RAM and until its advent, this next-gen memory was both expensive and challenging to get hold of.  The Skylake-effect is driving down prices and significantly improving availability as adoption gathers momentum.  The result means changing to the latest systems and running DDR4 RAM can now be achieved with only a modest increase over DDR3.  For the geeks out there, what DDR4 brings is greater chip density thanks to larger DIMM capacities, so more memory can be attached to a single motherboard (theoretically 512GB or four times DDR3) improved data transfer rates (no ceiling has been found on this yet!) and significantly lower power consumption, which is important if the machine is part of a larger deployment when power savings start to mount up and memory stability is critical.  In layman’s terms this means greater data capacity and higher data transfer rates, all at lower voltage and therefore greatly reducing the chances of memory failure, particularly caused by taxing applications.

    If you’re interested in exploring the possibilities of Skylake and DDR4 memory further or want some advice on life after Haswell, please get in touch and speak to one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News