New Intel NUC 9 Pro gives Mac Pro mini a run for its money

The new Intel Xeon NUC 9 Pro is getting a feature not available on any Apple Mac Pro mini: PCI-e support.

The compact computer market is getting a new upgrade in the form of the Xeon NUC 9 Pro. Intel is bringing PCI-e into the compact computer landscape. This feature alone is enough to shift the course of compact computing within the foreseeable future.

In terms of compact computers, the Apple Mac Pro mini is an obvious choice for many. It has powerful hardware and a complete suite of software for both entertainment and productivity. However, Apple’s hardware has one glaring weakness: it does not allow users to add PCI-e components.

NUC 9 Pro’s game-changing feature

Intel reveals its NUC 9 Pro lineup during the CES 2020 expo. The kit features the new Ghost Canyon architecture and also supports Xeon processors for its Pro version. Most importantly, the compact computer now allows further hardware customization through PCI-e support.

Although some might dismiss this new PCI-e support as a mere marketing strategy, it is extremely important for some users. The feature opens up a lot of expandability and upgradability to the rather limited hardware.

With the PCI-e support, users can add additional components like a graphics card to the NUC 9 Pro. This is a great upgrade since onboard graphics are notoriously weak when it comes to performance.

Although the Mac Pro mini does support PCI-e for its flash storage, it does not allow other hardware expansion. Crucially, Apple’s compact computer does not even have a PCI-e slot on its board.

The new king of compact computers

PCI-e support and Xeon processors are enough for some users to label Intel NUC 9 Pro as the new king. The Intel Xeon processor has eight cores with Turbo Boost speed of up to 5GHz. It is extremely powerful compared to the Intel Core i7 processor of the Mac Pro mini.

The compact computer from Intel sports some pretty common features as well. For networking, it supports WiFi, Bluetooth, and Gigabit Ethernet. For connectivity, it supports Thunderbolt 3, USB 3, USB 2, and it also has an SDXC card reader.

In terms of form factor, the new Intel NUC is bigger than the Apple Mac Pro mini. Nevertheless, it still compensates for its robust hardware offerings.

Although the Intel NUC 9 Pro is powerful, it does come at a quite steep price point. It costs $2800, while the Intel Mac Pro mini just costs $1899.

Image courtesy of Slejven Djurakovic/Unsplash


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