Intel introduces ‘modular’ laptop with easy swap or upgrade of CPU and storage: NUC P14E Laptop Element will compete with Framework

Intel Mudular Laptop NUC Compute Element
Intel ‘modular’ laptop built on NUC Compute element. Pic credit: Intel

Intel has introduced the NUC P14E Laptop Element, a modular portable computer that interfaces with NUC 11 Compute Element (CE). The laptop could compete with the Framework laptop, but has some design limitations.

Intel Next Unit of Computing or NUC series has a new member and it is not a mini-PC. The company has ventured into the world of modular computers with swappable NUC elements.

What is the Intel NUC P14E ‘modular laptop’?

The Intel NUC P14E is first and foremost a laptop. It offers a range of processor options. Buyers can opt for an entry-level Celeron 6305 CPU, and go right up to the latest 11th-Gen Core i7 1185G7 processor.

Intel has clearly designed P14E primarily for businesses. Hence, the options also include vPro versions of the Core i5 and Core i7 processors for enterprise-level security and remote access capabilities.

The latest 11th-Gen Core i5 and i7 NUC Compute modules feature the latest Iris Xe integrated graphics. The Intel Core i3 and Celeron variants pack Intel’s UHD graphics.

Buyers can also choose multiple combinations of RAM, ranging from 4GB to 16GB. However, Intel’s ‘modular’ laptop has a glaring limitation.

The heart of the Intel NUC P14E Laptop Element is the NUC 11 Compute Element (CE). This is an entire PCB (Printed Circuit Board). It holds the CPU, RAM, and connectivity options too.

The Compute Element slides into the Intel NUC P14E and connects through a proprietary connector to the main motherboard. The Framework modular laptop, on the other hand, is far more flexible when it comes to upgrading select components and choosing I/O.

Swap out processor, memory, and connectivity options of an Intel laptop after buying the Intel NUC P14E:

The multiple variations of NUC 11 Compute Element (CE) mean buyers can swap out the processor, memory and opt for different connectivity options. However, a single “daughterboard” holds all these components.

Simply put, when buyers want to upgrade, they will have to go get an entirely new NUC 11 Compute Element. In other words, it is not possible to upgrade only one component.

The rest of the Intel NUC P14E consists of a 13.9-inch 1440p IPS capacitive touch display with a 3000 x 2000 resolution and 400 nits of brightness. There’s a premium, glass touchpad with Microsoft Precision Drivers and Windows Hello support.

Intel has also embedded a fingerprint and the HD IR camera for face recognition. There are two USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, one each of Thunderbolt 4 port, HDMI port, DisplayPort 1.4a, and a headphone jack.

Reports also suggest Intel NUC P14E supports a PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD up to the Gen4 PCIe standard. Wireless connectivity includes Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6, provided by Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 wireless module.

The Intel NUC P14E has a 77Wh battery inside a 1.5 KG body made out of anodized aluminum. The entire, fully-loaded laptop weighs 3.3 pounds or 1.5 Kg, which is surprisingly light.

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