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Tiny NUCs get more powerful with Core Ultra 9 and heavy metal

Asus NUC 14 Pro+Image: Brad Chacos/IDG

That awesome DIMM Detection LED on Intel Z790 motherboards wasn’t the only ultra-smart iterative tweak Asus had to show at CES 2024, nor was that powerful ROG NUC the only improvement Asus unveiled after assuming control of Intel’s NUC business last year. The company also showed off a seemingly small upgrade for traditional NUCs with mammoth implications.

Faisal Habib, a former NUC enthusiast segment director at Intel who made the transition to Asus, was showing off a new form factor for the ultra-tiny PCs. The traditional 4×4-inch plastic chassis associated with NUCs will be sticking around (of course), but the company is also introducing a new 4×5-inch chassis milled out of aluminum with a new triple 6mm heat pipe dual-side exchanger with integrated airflow cutouts for a new class of machine, dubbed the Asus NUC 14 Pro+.

Brad Chacos/IDG

Again, it sounds small, but it’s a big deal: By switching to a slightly larger, all-aluminum chassis with ventilation along the sides, Asus can now equip the NUC 14 Pro+ with up to Core Ultra 9 processors running at their full 65 watt rating. Traditional NUCs can’t handle full Core Ultra 9 processors and need to dial back wattage levels (and thus performance) due to their tighter thermal constraints. The NUC 14 Pro+ can let ‘er rip.

It’s nice for other reasons too. The Asus NUC 14 Pro+ features a tool-less design for easy access to internals, while connectivity is top-notch with Wi-Fi 6E, integrated Bluetooth, a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports, dual HDMI 2.1 ports, 2.5G Internet, and five USB ports of various types (mostly USB 3.2).

Brad Chacos/IDG

The move to Core Ultra also let Asus upgrade memory support to dual-channel DDR5-5600MHz, while the M.2 slot inside can handle PCIe 5.0 SSDs if you need the bleeding-edge in raw transfer speeds.

Bottom line? Inside and out, the new Asus NUC 14 Pro+ looks to be a massive performance upgrade over traditional models, without adding much extra footprint at all. Groovy.

Stay tuned to PCWorld.com and our YouTube channel for more cutting-edge PC reveals from CES 2024 all week long!

Brad Chacos spends his days digging through desktop PCs and tweeting too much. He specializes in graphics cards and gaming, but covers everything from security to Windows tips and all manner of PC hardware.

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