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Hands on with the Intel Hades Canyon NUC and Plugable Products

Last month Intel was kind enough to send us their latest Hades Canyon NUC system to test with our Thunderbolt™ 3 products. Intel NUC systems have been around for many years, but this new NUC model is the first to use a chip created through a partnership between Intel and AMD. A single chip combines an Intel 8th generation CPU with AMD’s powerful Vega RX M gaming-class graphics processor. We previously evaluated the Intel Skull Canyon NUC which was a solid compact-system but wasn’t without limitations. The new Hades Canyon system has significantly improved compatibility, features, and performance. Please keep in mind that ours is a pre-production unit, so things could change in the near future.

The Hades Canyon NUC was primarily designed to be an ultra-compact, high-performance desktop replacement in place of traditional full-size desktop computer. With options for the latest 8th Generation Core i7 processors with built in AMD RX Vega M graphics and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, it makes for quite a versatile system – even for some AAA games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

The NUC has a plethora of ports available: two Thunderbolt 3 enabled USB-C ports, two HDMI ports, two Mini-DisplayPort ports, 7 USB ports (one is USB-C), dual gigabit Ethernet ports, and a 3.5mm TRRS combo audio jack. As such the need for a docking station is unlikely, however as the system can support up to 6 displays natively the need for adapters to connect them is where we come in. We immediately dropped an NVMe SSD, DDR4 RAM, and installed Windows 10 then began our testing.

Verified compatible graphics products

  • MDP-HDMI (Mini DP to HDMI adapter)
    Tested on both Mini-DisplayPorts on the NUC, works at 1080P and 4K (60Hz on supported monitors).
  • USBC-DVI (USB-C to DVI adapter)
    Tested and works as expected. Note: Single-link DVI monitors only.
  • USBC-DP (USB-C to DisplayPort cable)
    Tested and works as expected at 4K@60Hz on Thunderbolt 3 port
  • USBC-HDMI-CABLE (USB-C to HDMI cable)
    Tested and works as expected at 4K@60Hz on Thunderbolt 3 port
  • USBC-HDMI (USB-C to HDMI adapter)
    Tested and works as expected at 4K@60Hz on Thunderbolt 3 port
  • USBC-VGA-CABLE (USB-C to VGA cable)
    Tested and works as expected at 1080P@60Hz on Thunderbolt 3 port
  • USBC-VGA (USB-C to VGA adapter)
    Tested and works as expected at 1080P@60Hz on Thunderbolt 3 port
  • USBC-MD101 (USB-C Mini Dock with HDMI, USB 3.0 and Pass-Through Charging)
    Tested 4K@30Hz on Thunderbolt 3 port (expected behavior for USB-C DisplayPort Alternate Mode devices with USB 3.0 connectivity)
  • TBT3-HDMI2X-83 and TBT3-DP2X-83 (Thunderbolt 3 head HDMI and DP adapters)
    Tested and works as expected. Please note, there is a maximum of two monitors total supported over Thunderbolt 3 on this system. So while there are two Thunderbolt 3 ports, if one is used with this adapter plus two displays, the other port will be for data only.

Other verified products

  • TBT3-NVME480 (Thunderbolt 3 480GB NVMe SSD Drive )
    Tested and works as expected. Full bandwidth via PCIe Gen3 x4 link.

Benchmark of the performance:

Typical use case scenarios

Our Mini-DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 Active adapters let you use the NUC’s mini-DisplayPort ports to connect HDMI displays up to 4K@60Hz, leaving both of your Thunderbolt 3 Ports free. You can also use one of our USB-C to DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, or VGA adapters to connect a display to each Thunderbolt 3 port. Alternatively, if you want to maximize the number of displays while still keeping a Thunderbolt 3 port free for another Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C device, you can even use our Thunderbolt 3 Dual 4K Graphics Adapters which we make in both HDMI and DisplayPort versions. This setup would leave room to use the second Thunderbolt 3 port for something else, like connecting our incredibly fast Thunderbolt 3 NVMe SSD with your Steam library.

We also have a full line of Plugable Performance accessories, such as our Mechanical Keyboard and Performance Mouse. If you want a streaming setup, you can also use our Plugable Cardioid Mic as well!

Incompatible products:

  • TBT3-UDV
    Not recommended at this time. Additional testing needed and we will report back later if compatibility is confirmed.

For any questions about use of our products with the Hades Canyon NUC just contact us at support@plugable.com and we’ll be happy to assist!

Also, check out our video on YouTube using the NUC!

4 comments on “Hands on with the Intel Hades Canyon NUC and Plugable Products”

  1. Shaun Croton Reply

    What is the reason for the two monitor limit thru thunderbolt. Is it a product of bandwidth meaning that three HD monitors might be OK, or is it hardwired that only two monitors of any kind is all that can be connected thru the thunderbolt interface?

    • Bob Boerner Bob Boerner Reply

      The Thunderbolt 3 specification has a limit of two displays via a single Thunderbolt 3 controller regardless of resolution.

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