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
POST A COMMENT

56 Comments

View All Comments

  • mode_13h - Monday, January 15, 2018 - link

    32 GB is plenty for a Linux install. Reply
  • Kronos288 - Saturday, January 13, 2018 - link

    Hey ganesh,

    I set three of these up recently to run permanent displays. Thanks for the review. Might be worthy to note these two things as well:

    These NUCs are very picky about the type of ram modules. I originally purchased a crucial double pack, but the bios spit out a ram density error. There's an article on Intel's website on selecting compatible ram and there's a list.

    Lastly, if you plan on using it for displays like me, you need to perform the latest bios update to add the HDMI CEC functionality... Although it only supports power on or power off and not pass through for accessories like media remotes. Does have IR built in though.

    Oh and the kits include a Vesa mounting bracket. Cheers.
    Reply
  • Badelhas - Monday, January 15, 2018 - link

    Such a coincidence, I bought the NUC6CAYS two days ago, to use it has a HTPC, but I´ve been having multiple issues. One of the reasons I bought this was because it has a SPDIF Toslink Optical port, so I though I could connect it to my Home Cinema and have 5.1 digital sound but that dosent happen, I can only get PCM (stereo) sound. I have all Intel drivers installed, does anybody have a clue why this is happening?
    I also been having much trouble updating Windows 10 to the Fall Creators Update since it says I dont have enough space, which is incredible.

    Cheers
    Reply
  • Macpoedel - Monday, January 15, 2018 - link

    Are you using software that supports audio passthrough, and are you playing videos that have Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS encoded audio tracks (probably otherwise you wouldn't be asking)?

    I have a NUC6CAYH and have no problems passing through DTS(-HD) from Kodi 17, but I do so over HDMI.
    Reply
  • Badelhas - Thursday, January 18, 2018 - link

    I am playing movies with 5.1 and it doesn't work. But the problem comes before even playing the movie. The moment I connect my Sony Home Cinema to my main PC though the Optical out port on the Asus DX Sound-card the home cinema changes from "PCM" to "DIGITAL", showing me that it is working. When I do this with the Intel NUC it doesn't, even selecting Digial Out on the Windows or Realtek Sound settings. Very disappointing, to be honest, and Intel Community administrators have been of no help on their forums... Reply
  • mode_13h - Monday, January 15, 2018 - link

    "The Celeron J3455 is a quad-core processor with a 10W TDP. It easily enabled the NUC6CAH to come out on top in all of our benchmarks when compared against other Atom-class systems."

    Actually, I imagine the combination of dual-channel memory and a desktop-class SSD might've been bigger factors.
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Monday, January 15, 2018 - link

    BTW, thanks for this review. I'm very interested in such low-power systems.

    However, I was quite disappointed to see no i3 desktop-class system used in any of the comparisons besides the first. It's relevant and important to know how much performance one is sacrificing, when going with a low power "Atom-class" CPU. It would've been appreciated and appropriate at least to include the next higher model of NUC.

    I hope that you address this if/when you review a Gemini Lake NUC.
    Reply
  • Badelhas - Thursday, January 18, 2018 - link

    This is not an Atom but a Celerom, much better. Reply
  • mode_13h - Thursday, January 18, 2018 - link

    At the end of the day, those are just brand names. Both are still in use, actually, but I was referring to its lineage.

    IMO, highlighting it as a "Celeron" muddies the waters, since Intel has shipped Celerons with mainstream (e.g. Skylake) cores, yet this uses the low-power Goldmont core.
    Reply
  • nevcairiel - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - link

    I would've liked performance comparisons to the previous generation NUC in the same price class, ie. the one this one replaces. Seeing the clear generational gain would've been sweet. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now