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Asus keeps Intel’s dream alive with the ROG NUC gaming desktop

asus ROG Nuc HTPCImage: Asus

For years Intel tried to make tiny, semi-modular, shockingly powerful desktop computers work, which were called NUCs, the “Next Unit of Computing.” Sadly, Intel had to wake up last year and abandon the NUC division, but Asus offered to take it off their hands. The ROG NUC, launching at CES 2024, appears to be the very first fruit of that labor, a reinterpretation of the high-end NUC Extreme line aimed squarely at gamers.

The ROG NUC (“ROG” is the Asus Republic of Gamers sub-brand, if you didn’t know) is the spitting image of one of Intel’s earlier designs, complete with a skinny box and an illuminated logo — this time the ROG eye instead of a skull. Inside its 2.5-liter case is the latest Core Ultra 7 or Core Ultra 9 CPU operating at a max of 65 watts, an Nvidia RTX 4060 or 4070 graphics card (140w max), a maximum of 32GB of DDR5 RAM (using laptop SO-DIMMs), and three, count em, three M.2 Gen4 2280 slots for storage.


The box’s front gets a full-size SD card reader in addition to double USB-A and audio jacks. Around back you get a full-power Thunderbolt 4 port (which can handle DP2.1), four USB-A ports (only two of which are full speed 3.2 Gen 2 spec), HDMI, double DisplayPort, and 2.5-gig Ethernet. By using all three video ports and Thunderbolt, Asus says it’s possible to run four 4K displays at once off of this thing. Naturally, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 are integrated.

While Asus says that the body is “toolless” and it’s even possible to customize the integrated logo, it’s not clear how much of the hardware is actually accessible to the end user. While the GPU is “discrete,” it simply has to be a mobile card, likely soldered to the motherboard. The RAM and storage appear to be the biggest points of customization.

A bigger question for users might be how much this kit will cost, presumably without memory or storage. At this point, we don’t know. Presumably it’s set to launch sometime this calendar year, but the Asus promotional page is light on release details.

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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