Ruby and Topaz is the latest in SimplyNUC's custom lineup of NUC-like systems which they started to build and sell a couple of years ago. The Ruby platform is based on the AMD Ryzen 4000 Series and the Topaz platform is based on Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake Series.
Given the current global chip shortage that may last a couple more years, it may take some time before everyone can get their hands on either of these platforms, but I have slowly been seeing new inquiries about these platforms as folks are starting to receive their units. Of course, the most popular inquiry that I have received is whether these systems can be used with ESXi? 😀
Since Topaz uses the same Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPU, it works exactly the same as the Intel NUC 11 Performance (Panther Canyon) and Intel NUC 11 Pro (Tiger Canyon), which requires the Community Networking Driver for ESXi to enable both the 2.5GbE and 1GbE onboard network adapters when installing ESXi on Topaz. One really nice feature of Topaz is that all three models (i7, i5 and i3) include dual onboard network adapters, where as this option is only available on Intel NUC 11 Pro as an add-on card that must be purchased separately.
Here is screenshot of the latest ESXi 7.0 Update 2 release running on Topaz
Although there was quite a bit of community interests in running ESXi on the Ruby platform, I was not particularly optimistic mainly because both the onboard network adapters are from Realtek. Since there are no ESXi networking drivers from Realtek, ESXi would not be able to detect either of the network adapters which is the same behavior that I have seen for other AMD-NUC like kits such as the ASRock Gen 1 and Gen 2 systems.
Unfortunately, there has been no progress with Realtek joining VMware's I/O Vendor Partner (IOVP), which would enable the development of an official network driver for ESXi. Although folks can add networking to these platforms leveraging the USB Network Native Driver for ESXi, it is less than ideal. At this point in time, I can not recommend Ruby or other AMD-based NUCs that uses Realtek-based network adapters.
Here is screenshot of ESXi 7.0 with USB network adapter running on Ruby