Intel is withdrawing from the production of its own mini PCs. The semiconductor giant has confirmed to BuyTechBlog that it will be discontinuing its “direct investment” in its Next Unit of Compute (NUC) operations. In a shift of strategy, the firm will now focus on assisting its partners in developing the NUC PC market. The company is committed to fulfilling its existing obligations, which includes support for NUC systems already owned by customers.
Intel did not provide explicit reasons for ceasing the production of its in-house NUC devices. It is clear, however, that the company is grappling with a tough computer market, which has been impacted by a challenging economy and a spike in sales during the early stages of the pandemic. In recent months, Intel’s revenue has dropped by more than a third, with its PC-centric Client Computing Group being particularly affected. As highlighted by ServeTheHome, this strategic shift enables Intel to divest a non-core business segment and concentrate on its chip manufacturing operations. Earlier this year, Intel sold its server business to MiTAC.
Intel introduced the inaugural NUC in 2013, offering it as a compact, stripped-down PC kit designed to demonstrate the latest processors and the potential for small-scale desktops. Over the years, these evolved into fully-fledged systems boasting impressive performance and, in more recent models, dedicated GPUs. While they could be used in a domestic setting, they also found favor in the business world, proving useful in compute clusters and other scenarios where a compact and simple solution was advantageous.
Nevertheless, the NUC faced several obstacles. Despite some models being well-equipped for gaming and other high-performance applications, it proved challenging to accommodate increasingly power-intensive CPUs and GPUs into the compact form factor. Intel also encountered intensified competition, with the Mac mini dominating the home market as the most recognized mini computer. In the workplace, brands like Dell and Lenovo offered more customizable options and superior corporate support. In essence, the niche that the NUC once filled has shrunk significantly over the last decade.