Intel’s NUC 12 Pro: Good things come in small packages

May 15, 2023
2 mins read


Intel NUC 12 Pro REVIEW

PAT PILCHER checks out a diminutive “Next Unit of Computing” box of goodness that’s so clever he gives it Witchdoctor’s top rating.


Prefer your computery smarts in a small form factor that you can even hide away if you like? Intel has proof that good things do indeed come in small packages. This time, we’re talking about Intel’s NUC 12 Pro, which packs a huge amount of capability into an improbably small, teensy-tiny chassis.


Would you like to support our mission to bring intelligence, insight and great writing to entertainment journalism? Help to pay for the coffee that keeps our brains working and fingers typing just for you. Witchdoctor, entertainment for grownups. Riveting writing on music, tech, hi-fi, music, film, TV and other cool stuff. Your one-off (or monthly) $5 or $10 donation will support and help us keep producing quality content. It’s really easy to donate, just click the ‘Become a supporter’ button below.


You’d be forgiven for thinking that NUC referred to a bogan called Nick. In Intel parlance, NUC refers to “Next Unit of Computing”, geddit? The NUC concept consists of ultra-small PCs powered by laptop gubbins that delivers an incredible amount of computing grunt in a small, fanless mini-PC design that is just 100mm square. If I were in charge of Intel’s branding, I’d call them Tardis PCs as they seem bigger inside than they are on the outside.

Looks-wise, the NUC resembles a Mac Mini or Apple TV, except that it is powered by Intel silicon and can run Windows and Linux. Its chassis is hewn from plastic and small enough to easily be mounted on the back of a monitor, placed behind a TV or tucked away in an AV cabinet. It might be small, but it isn’t complete – You’ll need to add your own keyboard, mouse, monitor, RAM, and SSD storage. Adding these is no great chore, though. Unscrew the bottom plate for access to RAM and SSD slots. The small 100mm square design also means you’ll need to find space for an external power adaptor.

Simplicity is the key with the NUC, but you’re not left wanting. Around its front are 2x USB 3.0 ports, one of which stays powered up even if the NUC is on standby, allowing you to charge other devices. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack and power button. On its rear, you’ll find an extra USB 3.0 port and a USB 2.0 port (ideal for connecting mice and keyboards, as they don’t need a super-fast USB 3.0 port). There are also 2x HDMI ports and 2x Thunderbolt 4 ports (which for adding external storage is ideal), plus a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port. On the wireless front, you’re well-catered for. The NUC supports Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth. In short, it might be small, but it comes with plenty on the connectivity front.

The review unit packs an Intel “Wall Street Canyon,” 12th gen Core i7 CPU, which in Intel tradition is named after an obscure US place. In this case, a canyon in Barstow, California. Wall Street Canyon silicon confers the NUC 12 Pro with serious productivity chops. Where earlier NUCs have been largely limited to basic and light chores, the NUC 12 Pro is more than capable of everything from wrangling large documents to light video editing. While you won’t find a discrete GPU, its integrated Iris XE graphics handled media streaming through to basic gaming without breaking a sweat.

Because it uses a fanless design, the NUC 12 Pro is also a great multimedia box. Adding a decent media player such as KODI (and whatever add-ons take your fancy), you’ll get an extremely capable audio and video streaming widget that runs silently.

In short, the NUC 12 Pro is a great small PC when you’re looking for power with a tiny footprint. Mounting the NUC to the rear of a monitor makes for a near-invisible PC, maximising desktop real estate. While it might struggle with graphically demanding games and productivity apps, it has more than enough grunt for nearly anything else you’re likely to throw at it.

While you’ll need to supply RAM and an SSD, the NUC 12 pretty much does everything you might need, and all with a very small form factor. Which is why we gave it a well-deserved 10/10


Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Give a little to support Witchdoctor's quest to save high quality independent journalism. It's easy and painless! Just donate $5 or $10 to our PressPatron account by clicking on the button below.

Witchdoctor straight to your inbox every 2nd week


Advance Paris - Designed with French flair. Amplifiers, Streamers, CD players and more
Previous Story

Forty years ago: the slow-cooked post-punk of Unrestful Movements

Next Story

Kiwi audio ingenuity: Tex Tone’s Classic Mini Speakers

Latest from Thought Piece

Go toTop