Intel’s Hades Canyon NUC is deceptively powerful given its diminutive size. It’s quite capable of 1080p/60FPS gaming (and typically on Medium to High quality settings) thanks to Intel’s Kaby Lake G processor which bakes in AMD’s Radeon Vega M GH graphics. I can tell you from experience it makes a fantastic Steam Big Picture console on Windows 10. But Windows and I recently broke up. I’d love to use Hades Canyon as a semi-portable Linux music studio or Steam Play console. On Ubuntu 18.04, that goal wasn’t attainable for the average user, but Ubuntu 18.10 and Hades Canyon are practically best friends.
How did this all come together? NUC resellers contacted Canonical (Ubuntu’s parent company) about having “out of the box” support for Hades Canyon, so Canonical employee (and Ubuntu Podcast host) Martin Wimpress ordered one, figured out what was required to make Ubuntu and Hades Canyon play nice together, and rallied for the necessary updates to be included in Ubuntu 18.10.
For months, Linux users struggled with Hades Canyon, reporting things like power management issues and problems with graphics drivers among other minor snags which would be large hurdles for the average user. So today I eagerly slapped Ubuntu 18.10 on a USB stick today and installed it on my own Hades Canyon NUC, and I can report that it runs flawlessly out of the box.
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In my case, flawlessly means a carefree install, great gaming performance without any post-install updates or command line tweaking, perfect HDMI audio (plus my wireless LucidSound LS30 headphones were detected and sounded awesome), and generally stable, expected operation.
To clarify, all flavors of Ubuntu (such as Ubuntu Studio, Kubuntu and Ubuntu Budgie) offer this same level of compatibility with Hades Canyon since they’re built on the same base and Linux kernel. Additionally, Wimpress says that Ubuntu 18.04.2 — scheduled for release February 2019 — will also support Hades Canyon, as well as laptops coming to market that feature Intel’s powerful Kaby Lake G processor and Radeon Vega M graphics.
In general, Linux kernel 4.18 seems to offer vast improvements for Hades Canyon NUC and specifically AMD’s Radeon Vega M graphics hardware. I’ve seen reports of success from Arch and Fedora users who’ve upgraded, so it’s wonderful news that slick devices like the Hades Canyon NUC — and by extension future products featuring Radeon Vega M graphics — should be well supported going forward.
And of course I’m going to let Ubuntu 18.10 stick around on my Hades Canyon NUC for a bit. I’m currently benchmarking some games using the Phoronix Test Suite and will be posting those results shortly so stay tuned!