One of the prolific HW leakers 9550pro posted an image of a potential NUC 12 Extreme Edition variant with an LGA socket. If it passes through and is available on retail, this will be the first NUC provided with an LGA socket. Typically, NUC PCs have BGA processors which are soldered on the motherboard PCB. The introduction of an LGA in NUC Extreme gives the ability to select the type of CPUs you would need.
Since its an LGA 1700 socket, this process support Alder Lake CPUs and Arc Alchemist discrete GPUs. Ofcourse, nothing is fixed. But the inclusion of LGA sockets over BGA processors implies more PCIe lanes, providing much higher bandwidth required for graphics cards. We’ll just have to wait if CES 2022 gives more information. With the inclusion of LGA sockets, one may see this device supporting a range of Core i5, Core i7 and Core i9 range of CPUs. It is unclear if these units will also include support for the future 13th generation Raptor Lake CPUs. Naturally, there would be limited compatible CPUs due to the accompanying power supply. Most likely LGA sockets will only be on the NUC 12 Extreme Edition variants. But its highly likely NUC 12 Extreme Edition will also have some BGA variants.
What we can see from this PCB shot is there are 2x DDR4 SO-DIMM slots and a PCIe 4.0 NVMe slot. Most likely there might be DDR5 slot variants at some point in the future.
Doing it after its cool
While having LGA in NUC 12 Extreme Edition would tempt a certain audience to purchase the unit, having mini PCs with LGA sockets is nothing new. ZOTAC has been doing it for many years, though many of such mini PCs do not provide a PCIe socket for graphics cards. Minisforum has been doing this for a while, starting with AMD CPUs.