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Intel Adds Optane Memory to Kaby Lake NUCs

Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) desktop PCs are now a well-known option for anyone wanting a tiny PC they can sit on the back of a monitor. Typically, they come in barebones form, requiring the user to add storage, RAM, and an operating system. Intel regularly refreshes the NUC line-up as its new processors hit the market, but the latest NUC models focus on another upgrade: super-fast hybrid storage.

Three new NUC models have been introduced including a 16GB stick of Intel's Optane memory. Described as part storage drive, part system accelerator, Optane occupies an M.2 slot and acts as a very fast cache sitting between whatever main storage you have (HDD or SSD) and RAM.

Intel Optane Memory

Intel claims a performance gain of up to 28 percent, which is why MSI decided to bundle a 16GB stick with some of its motherboards. Now you can enjoy the same performance boost in a NUC!

The three NUC models shipping with Optane as standard cover Intel's Core chip range. There's a Core i3-7100U model (NUC7i3BNHX1) for $339, Core i5-7260U model (NUC7i5BNHX1) for $421, and a Core i7-7567U model (NUC7i7BNHX1) for $535, with the performance and price going up depending on which chip you choose. In all cases you'll still need to purchase RAM, storage, and an operating system.

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NUCs are not the cheapest small PCs out there, but these Optane models certainly have the potential to be the fastest if combined with a good SSD and DDR4 memory modules.

As Liliputing points out, it's possible to purchase a NUC that's Optane-compatible, but doesn't ship with a stick. Then you can buy a 16GB Optane module for $49 or even a 32GB module for $80. If you can find an Optane-compatible NUC at a discount, that 32GB module would be tempting.

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