Performance Metrics - II

In this section, we mainly look at benchmark modes in programs used on a day-to-day basis, i.e, application performance and not synthetic workloads.

x264 Benchmark

First off, we have some video encoding benchmarks courtesy of x264 HD Benchmark v5.0. This is simply a test of CPU performance. The Core m3-6Y30 in the Compute Stick form factor is given a bit of a challenge by the Core i5-4210Y in the Zotac ZBOX CI540 nano, a NUC-form factor machine.

Video Encoding - x264 5.0 - Pass 1

Video Encoding - x264 5.0 - Pass 2

7-Zip

7-Zip is a very effective and efficient compression program, often beating out OpenCL accelerated commercial programs in benchmarks even while using just the CPU power. 7-Zip has a benchmarking program that provides tons of details regarding the underlying CPU's efficiency. In this subsection, we are interested in the compression and decompression MIPS ratings when utilizing all the available threads.

In these multi-threaded benchmarks, the quad-core processors (4C/4T) are able to score better than the 2C/4T configuration of the Core m3-6Y30.

7-Zip LZMA Compression Benchmark

7-Zip LZMA Decompression Benchmark

TrueCrypt

As businesses (and even home consumers) become more security conscious, the importance of encryption can't be overstated. The Core m3-6Y30 supports the AES-NI instruction for accelerating the encryption and decryption processes. TrueCrypt, a popular open-source disk encryption program can take advantage of the AES-NI capabilities. The TrueCrypt internal benchmark provides some interesting cryptography-related numbers to ponder. In the graph below, we can get an idea of how fast a TrueCrypt volume would behave in the Intel Core m3-6Y30 Compute Stick and how it would compare with other select PCs. This is a purely CPU feature / clock speed based test.

TrueCrypt Benchmark

Agisoft Photoscan

Agisoft PhotoScan is a commercial program that converts 2D images into 3D point maps, meshes and textures. The program designers sent us a command line version in order to evaluate the efficiency of various systems that go under our review scanner. The command line version has two benchmark modes, one using the CPU and the other using both the CPU and GPU (via OpenCL). The benchmark takes around 50 photographs and does four stages of computation:

  • Stage 1: Align Photographs
  • Stage 2: Build Point Cloud (capable of OpenCL acceleration)
  • Stage 3: Build Mesh
  • Stage 4: Build Textures

We record the time taken for each stage. Since various elements of the software are single threaded, others multithreaded, and some use GPUs, it is interesting to record the effects of CPU generations, speeds, number of cores, DRAM parameters and the GPU using this software.

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 1

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 2

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 3

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 4

Dolphin Emulator

Wrapping up our application benchmark numbers is the Dolphin Emulator benchmark mode results. This is again a test of the CPU capabilities, and the pure single-threaed performance advantage of the Core m3-6Y30 is evident here.

Dolphin Emulator Benchmark

Performance Metrics - I Networking and Storage Performance
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  • damianrobertjones - Monday, June 27, 2016 - link

    A combination of a very slow SSD and 2Gb is never a good thing no matter what CPU. Reply
  • Arbie - Monday, June 27, 2016 - link

    I use Process Lasso on low-end machines like this and it helps a lot. Even a 2010 netbook became reasonably useable with Office etc. Try the free version. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 27, 2016 - link

    2 GB was generally enough. Even when there was plenty of free RAM, though, the Atom processor was barely able to load heavy web pages. Chrome in particular seemed to run sluggish (especially on infinitely scrolling pages, like Tumblr). Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - link

    Chrome is burdened more than other web browsers because the system is not only busy logging and reporting user activity to Microsoft, but also doing the same with browser activity to Google plus the site you're surfing is usually keeping an eye on your usage too. The double/triple data mining penalty is pretty hard on a low-power chip like the Atom. Firefox with a noscript (as long as you don't mind breaking a lot of website functionality and then having to pick through individual blocked script sources to find the right ones to restore those functions) usually will vastly improve web performance on an Atom CPU. Reply
  • silverblue - Monday, June 27, 2016 - link

    We're using a few of the Cherry Trail sticks (STK1AW32SC) for simple slideshow-style screens at work; their footprint is miniscule compared to the laptops we used to have, meaning we can hide them away. The m3 would be overkill in this case, plus I can get three of the Atom models for the same price which work just fine. Reply
  • Pissedoffyouth - Monday, June 27, 2016 - link

    How is the Linux support for these sticks? Reply
  • nfriedly - Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - link

    Excellent in my experience. Ubuntu 16.04 works perfectly out of the box, and 14.04 mostly works (no wifi drivers, though).

    Intel sells a m5 version with no OS, although it's more expensive honestly not much faster than the m3 version with windows.
    Reply
  • Pissedoffyouth - Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - link

    Cheers Reply
  • CaedenV - Monday, June 27, 2016 - link

    I am pretty excited that these are getting better... but who are these supposed to be marketed to exactly? The specs aren't quite there for an office or school machine (but close! just ditch the fan and give a bit more onboard storage). For the HTPC market (is that really a market outside of a few video enthusiasts?) it is just about right on specs, but for the price there are far better options if you don't mind a slightly larger form factor.

    If intel wants to sell gobs and gobs of computers then they really need to do the following:
    Quad Core CPU (or dual with HT), m series is actuially fine, but an i3 would be better
    8GB of RAM
    128GB solid state storage (SSD or even eMMC)
    GPU (and ports) capable of 2 1080p displays, and hardware acceleration for newest video codecs (HEVC and VP9/AV1)
    Fanless
    Headphone jack (seriously, have a bunch of NUCs without a jack... such a pain!)
    Secure-able (so they don't walk off when plugged into the back of a monitor)
    Win10 Pro preloaded
    Compute Stick or NUC form factor
    3 year warranty
    $400 or less

    Schools and businesses would buy these up in droves! NUCs are almost there, but they tend to have fans, and system builders typically exceed the $400 price point once configured with RAM and SSD; business could build it themselves for less, but they are in the business of doing business instead of building their own custom PCs. Maybe another year or two and we will see this happen?
    Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, June 27, 2016 - link

    In Core Ms ~5W power envelope, I suspect most people would be better on a dual, even if they think they want a quad.

    In such low power spaces a quad just means each core is running at a significantly reduced clock over a dual. It's the same reason why there was that 28W quad which no manufacturer picked, as the dual cores were faster 90% of the time. Especially for, you know, most people getting a 28W CPU, let alone those getting a 5W one.
    Reply

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