You may by no means discover a high-end workstation or a gaming PC that is fairly as small as Intel’s authentic NUC lineup, however there are alternatives if you’d like a tiny however high-performance desktop. A kind of is Lenovo’s new ThinkStation P360 Ultra, a mini desktop that crams Intel’s Twelfth-generation Alder Lake desktop CPUs, Nvidia RTX A2000 and A5000 GPUs with as much as 16GB of RAM and a stunning quantity of expandability right into a small enclosure that is simply 3.9 liters in quantity.
The ThinkStation has plenty of ports for a system its dimension, with a complete of seven DisplayPort outputs in again (three full-size ports wired to the built-in Intel GPU, and 4 mini DisplayPorts related to the devoted GPU), one 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, one other 1Gbps Ethernet port, and 4 rear USB-A ports on the again. On the entrance you may discover a headphone jack, one other USB-A port, and a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports.
Inside expandability is sweet, too. The ThinkStation can match a complete of two M.2 SSDs and a single 2.5-inch laborious drive or SSD and as much as 4 DDR5 RAM modules. The 12GB RTX A2000 GPU possibility ought to carry out someplace in between an RTX 3050 and an RTX 3060, whereas the RTX A5000 cellular GPU ought to carry out extra just like the laptop computer model of the RTX 3080 GPU. Lenovo gives Alder Lake CPUs from the quad-core Core i3 all the best way as much as a Core i9 with a complete of 16 cores (eight P-cores and eight E-cores—our CPU reviews present the advantages of those smaller cores for workloads that distribute nicely throughout many CPU cores).
The P360 is smaller than high-performance mini PCs like Intel’s NUC 12 Extreme, which additionally makes use of Twelfth-gen Alder Lake CPUs with as much as 16 cores—the NUC measures 14.1×7.4×4.7 inches, whereas the ThinkStation is simply 8.7×7.9×3.4 inches. However the NUC does have the benefit of utilizing a normal PCI Specific slot with a GPU that may be upgraded a pair years down the road, although its small dimension will usually restrict you to bodily smaller GPUs than you need to use in a full-size desktop or a roomier mini ITX PC construct. The ThinkStation does seem to make use of detachable GPU modules, however utilizing a proprietary connector—whether or not upgrades are doable down the road will depend on whether or not Lenovo packages extra GPUs this manner sooner or later and whether or not it gives them as upgrades moderately than merely together with them in newer PCs.
Anticipate to pay some huge cash for probably the most highly effective configurations of the P360 Extremely. The PC will begin at $1,299 later this month, however that configuration will probably embody a quad-core Core i3 CPU and built-in graphics. If that is all the facility you want, the P360 Extremely is definitely a bit massive—the system’s dimension solely turns into spectacular as soon as you’ve got added devoted graphics and a beefier processor.
We additionally do not know whether or not (or how a lot) the P360 Extremely’s CPU or GPU might be constrained by energy or warmth limitations—the system tops out at a 300 W energy provide, which is much less energy than a high-end desktop GPU just like the RT 3080 or 3090 can eat all by itself. In different phrases, a bigger system will nonetheless be able to letting its parts run quicker for longer.