Power Consumption and Thermal Performance

The power consumption at the wall was measured with a 4K display being driven through the HDMI 2.0 port. In the graphs below, we compare the idle and load power of the Intel NUC6CAYH with other low power PCs evaluated before. For load power consumption, we ran the AIDA64 System Stability Test with various stress components, as well as our power virus test, and noted the maximum sustained power consumption at the wall.

Idle Power Consumption

Load Power Consumption (AIDA64 SST)

The Intel NUC6CAYH has a powerful CPU that wins in a majority of the presented benchmarks. But, it comes with a significant power penalty, both at idle and full loading.

Our thermal stress routine starts with the system at idle, followed by four stages of different system loading profiles using the AIDA64 System Stability Test (each of 30 minutes duration). In the first stage, we stress the CPU, caches and RAM. In the second stage, we add the GPU to the above list. In the third stage, we stress the GPU standalone. In the final stage, we stress all the system components (including the disks). Beyond this, we leave the unit idle in order to determine how quickly the various temperatures in the system can come back to normal idling range. The various clocks, temperatures and power consumption numbers for the system during the above routine are presented in the graphs below.

Intel NUC6CAYH - AIDA64 System Stability Test

According to the official specifications of the Intel Celeron J3455, the junction temperature of the SoC is 105C. We do not see the numbers go anywhere that in the AIDA64 SST processing of the system. Interestingly, the package power seems to be configured for around 12.5W instead of 10W (as dictated by the TDP).

The AIDA64 system stability test uses real-world workloads to stress the system components. However, power virus tests such as the Prime 95 torture test and Furmark stability test can subject the system to greater stress. We repeated our thermal stress routine with 30 minutes of Prime 95 (v29.1), followed by 30 minutes of Prime 95 and Furmark (1.19.1). The Prime 95 load was then removed, and the GPU stressing Furmark test was allowed too run for another 30 minutes. The various clocks, temperatures and power consumption numbers for the system during the above routine are presented in the graphs below.

Intel NUC6CAYH - Custom System Stability Test

Here, we see the temperatures going up to 100C, but there is no throttling involved. Peak sustained power consumption numbers are also higher than what we encountered in the AIDA64 system stability test.

 

4K HTPC Credentials Final Words
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  • mode_13h - Monday, January 15, 2018 - link

    Still, I appreciate these benchmarks, since it should help show how much Gemini Lake (Goldmont +) actually improved. Reply
  • ilt24 - Friday, January 12, 2018 - link

    Am I missing something? The $470 price with No OS seems quite high if the NUC starts at $130 and your just adding a pair of 4GB Memory modules and a 500GB SSD. Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, January 12, 2018 - link

    Have you looked at the prices of RAM and flash lately? The Corsair kit was $90 when I was writing this review a week or so back (looks like it is $80 today), and the MX200 is relatively rare to find now (it was $250 when I was writing this). I think the cheapest equivalent today would be the BX300 480GB @ $145. So, the $470 price at the time of writing is probably closer to $355 now.

    That said, RAM and flash prices are fluctuating wildly due to the recent shortage. Things ought to become stable and a bit cheaper soon.
    Reply
  • powellandy - Friday, January 12, 2018 - link

    Do you have any comment on the ability to play 3D - looks like it's an ongoing saga with Intel chips -
    https://communities.intel.com/thread/112109
    Reply
  • bill44 - Saturday, January 13, 2018 - link

    Been following that thread, which is now dead. Intel won't/can't fix it. If they could, they've done it by now. Not enough customer complained (not to mention, 3D for the industry is dead), as such it just gets dragged out until everyone gives up.

    Going into the future, native HDMI 2.x may fix the issue, but going by past experience, there will always be problems with a HTPC setup (check out MadVR Madshi forums regarding constant driver issues).
    Reply
  • powellandy - Monday, January 15, 2018 - link

    I agree, but I was hoping if they mention it in the review and perhaps ask Intel it would put a bit of pressure on them to fix it! Reply
  • bji - Friday, January 12, 2018 - link

    Do the benchmarks include Meltdown and Spectre fixes? If they don't, then the numbers are not accurate. Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, January 12, 2018 - link

    The benchmark numbers were processed before the security fixes started coming in. The relative numbers are still accurate when you compare one unit against the other (all of them in the comparison graphs are Intel-based systems).

    We are waiting for the dust to settle on all security fixes before embarking on any benchmark numbers regeneration procedures.
    Reply
  • satai - Friday, January 12, 2018 - link

    Some comparison to Core Ms would be nice. Reply
  • fuzzymath10 - Friday, January 12, 2018 - link

    It's just "feel" based, but I bought my NUC (the same one + old Intel 320 160GB + 8GB ram + W10 Pro) to play videos on my 4k TV. Before, I temporarily used my Venue 7140 Pro with the 5Y10. The 5Y10 is faster for pretty much any "normal" task such as internet browsing which shouldn't be a surprise. Raw multithreaded might be more similar but the Core M is a smoother overall experience.

    However, the NUC supports 4k @ 60Hz while the HDMI from my Venue is only good to 30Hz. The NUC IGP can also decode HEVC while the HD 5300 in the Venue cannot, and the 5Y10 is not fast enough to software-decode most HEVC content (neither can the J3455). The Core M is also passively cooled while the NUC is semi-passive (fan can shut off).

    Unfortunately, Core M is also very expensive. However, I would say the jump in user experience from the NUC to Core M is greater than from Core M to my desktop (i7 3770).
    Reply

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