Networking and Storage Performance

Networking and storage are two major aspects which influence our experience with any computing system. This section presents results from our evaluation of these aspects in the Intel NUC6i7KYK (Skull Canyon). On the storage side, one option would be repetition of our strenuous SSD review tests on the drive(s) in the PC. Fortunately, to avoid that overkill, PCMark 8 has a storage bench where certain common workloads such as loading games and document processing are replayed on the target drive. Results are presented in two forms, one being a benchmark number and the other, a bandwidth figure. We ran the PCMark 8 storage bench on selected PCs and the results are presented below.

Futuremark PCMark 8 Storage Bench - Score

Futuremark PCMark 8 Storage Bench - Bandwidth

The storage score (primary result) shows that there is not much to gain by going from the SM951 in the NUC6i5SYK to the 950 PRO in the NUC6i7KYK. It shows that workloads are more user-input and CPU-bound, rather than storage-bound. On the other hand, the storage bandwidth number (secondary result) shows a significant jump. Readers can refer to our explanation of how these numbers are calculated by PCMark 8. The secondary result is the total amount of data transferred (both reads and writes) divided by the storage I/O busy time (i.e, time duration during which the number of pending I/O operations was at least 1). The secondary result is a very important metric when idle time compression is involved, but it doesn't matter as much as the primary result when it comes to application responsiveness (as the workload might be CPU-bound, rather than storage-bound). In any case, the above result shows that a powerful CPU can drive up the secondary result very high.

On the networking side, we restricted ourselves to the evaluation of the WLAN component. Our standard test router is the Netgear R7000 Nighthawk configured with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks. The router is placed approximately 20 ft. away, separated by a drywall (as in a typical US building). A wired client (Zotac ID89-Plus) is connected to the R7000 and serves as one endpoint for iperf evaluation. The PC under test is made to connect to either the 5 GHz (preferred) or 2.4 GHz SSID and iperf tests are conducted for both TCP and UDP transfers. It is ensured that the PC under test is the only wireless client for the Netgear R7000. We evaluate total throughput for up to 32 simultaneous TCP connections using iperf and present the highest number in the graph below.

Wi-Fi TCP Throughput

In the UDP case, we try to transfer data at the highest rate possible for which we get less than 1% packet loss.

Wi-Fi UDP Throughput (< 1% Packet Loss)

The antenna placement and the system design ensure that the Intel 802.11ac AC8260 WLAN subsystem performs exceptionally well in our Wi-Fi testing and comes out at the top of the charts in both TCP and UDP tests.

Gaming Benchmarks HTPC Credentials
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  • JohnGalt1717 - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    Can someone tell me if they have been able to run 4x 4K monitors (i.e. HDMI hooked to one, mDp hooked to another and then 2 mDp hooked via adapter to the Thunderbolt 3 port)?

    Looking to replace my desktop but need 4 screens.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    Unfortunately while you'd have the connectivity to do so, I think Intel's IGP itself is still capped at 3 displays. Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - link

    @JohnGalt1717: "Can someone tell me if they have been able to run 4x 4K monitors ..."

    I just tried it with a slightly different setup, but it was still an HQ processor with Iris Pro 580 (i7-6870HQ). It looks like DanNeely is correct. The IGP is still capped at 3 displays even without considering 4K.
    Reply
  • JohnGalt1717 - Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - link

    too Bad :< Reply
  • xchaotic - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    What is the expected market for this? For both my professional and personal uses, lack of proper dGPU support is a deal breaker - for anything from games, through movie and photo enhancements to machine learning and graph stores all being accelerated by DGPUs, I suspect this will have a very limited to a very small subset of hardcore enthusiast Reply
  • blahsaysblah - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    I had the NUC5i7, the machine was just too loud when used in professional manner. And it was ridiculous, they had space to put a better cooler.

    I had my doubts when initial mockups flew around internet. This is again another useless NUC. Crazy who has final say over design on this at Intel. They just keep shooting themselves in the foot. Seriously. They are afraid of success.
    Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    Not every game requires a dGPU, as many popular MOBAs play just fine without it, and there are people who play competitively for these games on worse hardware.

    This is nice as a HTPC, a thin-client, an emulation station, or a monitor/TV mounted PC for grandma or grandpa.

    Understandably, this isn't a product you need, but do keep in mind that others on the market do want mini-PCs and can find a use for them.
    Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    Oh, also, the inclusion of Thunderbolt 3 means this could be a PC you can velcro to a external graphics card dock (like the Razer Core) to have a very portable LAN PC. Reply
  • LostWander - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    It's mentioned in the article that the external graphics dock likely won't work because the thunderbolt port isn't given enough bandwidth Reply
  • LostWander - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    won't work well*
    The link is only at a maximum PCIe 3.0 x4 under ideal conditions and it is separated from the CPU so the performance gain won't be optimal.
    Reply

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