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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  • Zero Day Virus - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    Yep, same here! Would like to see how it compares and if it's worth it :) Reply
  • hubick - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    It would also be interesting to see how the new BRIX like the GB-BSi7T-6500 stack up. Reply
  • Barilla - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    I think it's time to drop the 1280x1024 gaming benchmarks. Virtually no one is going to play at such resolution, especially not with a 1000$ pc if a 22" 1080p monitor can be bought for a hundred bucks and change. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    If your GPU is slow you HAVE to game at such resolutions, no matter what monitor you have. Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    Then test at 720p. Nobody buys 5:4 monitors anymore. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - link

    The aspect ratio does not really matter for GPU testing, it's just the number of pixels the GPU has to compute. So performance at 720p will actually be a bit better. Reply
  • cknobman - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    Its rather lame that Anand would post up these low resolution benchmarks to try and make the iGPU not look like a total joke (which it is, at least at this price point).

    For $1000 if it can muster a playable framerate at a resolution outside of a decade old standard than this thing is overpriced.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    Lots of casual gamers do play at low resolutions because they don't have the budget to stay on the high end GPU treadmill. The real issue is that the days of doing so at 1280x1024 instead of 1366x768 are long past. This was brought up the last time gaming benchmarks were updated here; but is even more of a glaring issue as time goes on. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    1680x1050 really should be replaced with 1600x900 too. 16:9 monitors have become ubiquitous; testing at narrower aspect ratios doesn't fit real world usage anymore.

    I could see a case for going wider at the upper end and slotting an ultrawide 3440x1440 test between conventional 2560x1440 and 3840x2180 gaming. Mostly because it looks like the 1080 still falls just short of being able to play at 4k without having to turn settings down in a lot of games; making 1440p ultra widescreen the effective max single card resolution. (An increasingly important consideration with SLI/xFire becoming progressively less relevant due to temporal AA/post processing techniques that play really badly with multi-GPU setups.)
    Reply
  • Barilla - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    Yeah, I guess my point was IF you want to test at low res, then test at a more relevant low res - 1280x720, 1366x768, 1600x900 etc. But my other point would be that those graphs looke like they look now cause low resolution is paired with low settings, mid resolution with mid settings and so on. Many games these days don't really slow down that much at increased resolution, but rather at increased postprocessing effects - shadows, antialiasing, DoF, you name it. Before I had my current gaming PC I used to game on a laptop with GT555M inside, which is probably weaker than this IGP by some margin, and I ran most games in 1080p at acceptable framerates by turnig the details down. In general it yielded better fps AND better looks than running non-native res and mid graphics settings.
    But maybe it's just me, I like pixels a lot ;)
    Reply

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