Intel introduced the Compute Element concept in 2019 as a replacement for its Compute Card. The idea is a modular hardware unit that combines the processor with connectivity and other components to make it easy to swap out of a PC for an upgraded version. It’s been central to more recent versions of the company’s Next Unit of Computing (NUC) bare-bones desktop designs, but it’s only now that Intel has been able to produce an NUC laptop that could accept a mobile version of the Compute Element.
The NUC P14E Laptop Element is compatible with the U-Series version of the NUC 11 Compute Element, allowing you to switch between units that house an Intel processor, storage, and built-in operating system. The NUC 11 Compute Element comes in a range of processor options, everything from a Celeron CPU to the latest Core i7 chips. As the P14E is designed with businesses in mind, the options also include vPro versions of the Core i5 and Core i7 processors for enterprise-levels security and remote access capabilities. Core i5 and i7 modules feature the latest Iris Xe integrated graphics, while Core i3 and Celeron editions rely on Intel’s UHD graphics.
In another nod to corporate tastes, the P14E features a sleek anodized aluminum chassis and was tested for ruggedness using MIL-STD-801H durability standards. It includes a 13.9-inch touchscreen display with 3,000×2,000 resolution and 400 nits of brightness. Specs like RAM and storage capacity will depend on the compute module used (though ranging from 4GB to 16GB of memory), but connectivity includes a Thunderbolt 4 port, a pair of USB 3.2 connections, Wi-Fi 6, and wired Gigabit Ethernet support. The 3.3-pound P14E also comes with a fingerprint reader, Kensington NanoSaver lock and a 77Whr battery with fast-charge capability.
Pricing and availability for the P14E has not been announced, but as a reference design, it will probably wind up as the basis for systems that will be sold directly to companies and government clients. Whereas desktop NUC PCs are sometimes available as bares-bones kits that consumers can purchase and upgrade on their own, it’s unclear whether this approach will be extended to NUC laptops like the P14E.