ASUS just saved Intel NUC mini PCs from extinction, and I'm hyped

Intel NUC PC
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Intel has entered an agreement with ASUS that will see the latter company take over the sale, support, and production of current and future NUC mini PCs.
  • This news comes after Intel announced it was stepping away from the NUC business last week.
  • Given ASUS' experience manufacturing PC components, gaming devices, and systems like the compact ASUS ROG Ally, this may be an excellent opportunity for the company to create an excellent gaming NUC.

Last week, Intel disappointed fans of small form factor PCs everywhere when it announced it was stepping away from the NUC (Next Unit of Computing) business. The pivot away from mini PCs worried many, but there was reason to be hopeful: in a statement, Intel confirmed that it was working "to enable our ecosystem partners to continue NUC innovation and growth" and "ensure a smooth transition and fulfillment of all our current commitments — including ongoing support for NUC products currently in market." 

Now, those efforts have borne fruit. A new Intel press release has confirmed that the company has reached a term sheet agreement with manufacturing partner ASUS, giving the latter the keys to its NUC kingdom. Under the agreement, ASUS' new ASUS NUC BU division will be responsible for the continued sale and support of 10th to 13th Gen NUC systems, and has the ability to create new ones as well. 

“Thank you, Intel, for your confidence in us to take the NUC systems product line forward. I am confident that this collaboration will enhance and accelerate our vision for the mini PC – greatly expanding our footprint in areas such as AI and AIoT,” said ASUS COO Joe Hsieh. “We are committed to ensuring the excellent support and service that NUC systems customers expect.”

(Image credit: Intel)

It's great that Intel was able to pen a deal with one of its partners, as the market for ultraportable and affordable desktop PCs isn't going anywhere. Point of sale, home theater, digital signage, and education are just a few of the use cases that NUCs are perfect for. But as an avid PC gamer, what truly excites me about this deal is how ASUS might design a NUC for gaming.

As one of the biggest component manufacturers in the world, ASUS certainly knows a thing or two about making PC parts. What's more, the company has also proven that it's capable of building quality small form factor gaming systems with the ASUS ROG Ally, a handheld PC that's quickly become the largest Steam Deck rival.

It wouldn't be easy to pack elite desktop-class power into a toaster-sized case without the whole thing overheating like crazy, but if any group is capable of doing so, it's probably ASUS. And as long as the price is at least reasonable, I bet this system would absolutely fly off shelves. I know I'd buy one; even though I already have a powerful PC on my desk, I'd love a gaming NUC to play the best PC games from the comfort of my living room.

Good luck, ASUS. We will watch your career with great interest.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.