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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  • Macpoedel - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - link

    The previous generation low-end NUCs had mobile Braswell CPU's (NUC5CPYH had a Celeron N3050 and NUC5PPYH had a Pentium N3700). It's not exactly the same, but the AsRock Beebox N3000 is a pretty good approximate for the N3050 NUC, it's also a dual core and the burst clock speed isn't that much lower.

    The NUC6CAYH is more of a successor to the NUC5CPYH in pricing, but the Celeron J3455 in this NUC performs more like the Pentium based predecessor, so the gains are pretty big. You can see that it's twice as fast in a lot of benchmarks, mostly because the amount of cores doubled. Power consumption has gone up as well, but that's also because the newer NUC's CPU has a greater power envelop, so it'll spend more time at boost speeds.

    But, having a NUC6CAYH myself, I was a bit disappointed with the performance. It's totally adequate for use as a HTPC or as a low power desktop (if you only edit documents or surf some webpages, but don't multitask too much), but the Core based NUCs are a lot faster (the i3 version costs twice as much though, I would be interested in a Kaby Lake Celeron based NUC like the original Sandy Bridge NUC).
    Reply
  • mikato - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - link

    Now we really need an AMD Zen APU UCFF to compare. Is Zotac making a Zbox with one when they come out maybe? Reply
  • DSGT_Crockett - Thursday, January 18, 2018 - link

    Interesting to me that one of the ~"usable" PCI-E lanes is 'taken up' by a Realtek NIC on an Intel ~AIO board ass'y. Realtek must really be giving those SOBs away for Intel not to have gone with their own branded NICs; but I realise as I type this that I may be playing the fool a couple ways, not least of which is a dire disconnection from mini/micro/whatever-computer equipment, and by no means do I mean to bang on your expert staff's doors with this ~obvious observation. Hell, it may have even been covered in the parts of the article I skimmed (:< I'm drunk, okay?) but I felt compelled to hit up the first page of the article with this because I'm used to Intel pushing their own network stuff _really_ hard. What gives? Reply
  • mode_13h - Saturday, January 20, 2018 - link

    Yeah, it does seem weird, but does Intel even still make single-port Gig-E chips? It seems like their dedicated Ethernet silicon is probably focused on higher speeds & port-counts, while the low-end is probably integrated into their South Bridge chips (which this doesn't have, since it's an integrated SoC - mainly targeted at devices that lack Ethernet).

    Anyway, don't drunkpost. Go drink some coffee, tea, or go sleep it off.
    Reply
  • sf101 - Monday, January 22, 2018 - link

    wow this has a VGA out.
    That's surprising
    Intel has really flip flopped on a standard Video output on these thats for sure.
    sometimes HDMI sometimes only MINI - sometimes Displayport or only mini .. very surprised they added a VGA tbh.
    Most wont understand this but upgrading a unit for older POS systems is a pain sometimes but adding a VGA adapter makes that far easier.
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Friday, February 2, 2018 - link

    For a lot of industrial and infrastructure applications, VGA is still in use. Not that this is exactly an industrial PC... Reply

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