Intel's ultra small form factor design the NUC was announced earlier this year as an embedded and digital signage solution. All that is about to change though as the hardware manufacturer has announced it will introduce two barebones solutions of the device which will hit retail next month for consumers, but such a small size comes at a not so small price.

There will be two bundles on offer, the DC3217IYE and DC3217BY both of which will be based around an Intel Core i3-3217U CPU, which features a 1.8GHz, 3MB cache, 17W TDP and Intel HD Graphics 4000 graphics and QS77 core-logic.

Other features include:
   • Two DDR3 SO-DIMMs
   • mSATA solid-state drive
   • Mini PCIe Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module
   • 4.59”×4.41”×1.55” dimensions.

DC3217IYE will also feature a pair of HDMI outputs and 1Gb Ethernet, whereas the DC3217BY will only feature one HDMI and a Thunderbolt port. Both will feature digital audio out-put but not analogue.

Sure these systems may not be cheap at $300-500 but they are impressive in terms of performance. For a system this small, being able to punch out to a multi-monitor setup, a robust CPU and plenty of storage and RAM capabilities, these are a war horse in terms of performance given their scale.

It's said that the 8GB DDR3 memory, 120GB mSATA SSD and a Wi-Fi PCIe card adds another $160 or more to the overall price of the system, which is why you could expect to pay as much as $500. It may not be a practical solution for most consumers, but it is nice to have the option for a compact solution and I'm sure there are a million and one clever applications for such a powerful micro system.

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