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 NUC8i7HVK (Hades 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. Since our review configuration came with two different drives in the M.2 slots, we processed the storage benchmark on both of them. The 800p performs as good as the OCZ RD400 despite its PCIe 3.0 x2 connection (compared to the RD400's PCIe 3.0 x4). However, it is not as good as the Samsung 960 PRO in the Skull Canyon NUC (though it must be remembered that the Skull Canyon number below has not been updated for the Meltdown / Spectre patch's effects, while the Optane drive is being benched in a fully patched system).

Futuremark PCMark 8 Storage Bench - Score

Futuremark PCMark 8 Storage Bench - Bandwidth

The travails of the 3D TLC-based 545s are evident in the storage bandwidth number above.

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 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. It must be noted that all PCs other than the ZBOX EN1080K, EK71080, and the NUC8i7HVK were tested in an older lab environment with a different orientation for the client and the router.

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)

Despite its 2x2 nature, the performance of the WLAN card is only slightly better than the 1x1 AC3165 in the ZOX MAGNUS EK71080. The absence of external antennae could be a possible reason.

Gaming Notebooks Compared 4K HTPC Credentials
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  • vanilla_gorilla - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    > The NUC8i7HVK hits the ball out of the park on a number of fronts.

    I'm confused. I was just recently informed you were clearly a shill for AMD. What's going on here?

    Kidding! Kidding! Another great review.
    Reply
  • peevee - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    Why 230W powerbrick if the CPU+GPU are only 100W?
    Can it power an external thunderbolt display by USB power?
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    We see the system reach 230W under Prime95 + FurMark. I am checking with Intel on the exact reason for that, given no USB peripherals were connected.

    Each Thunderbolt 3 port can provide 15W. The rest depends on the specifications of the Thunderbolt display you are talking about - to the best of my knowledge no USB-powered *Thunderbolt* display exists.
    Reply
  • Hixbot - Saturday, March 31, 2018 - link

    Wow, they got some splaining to do. Reply
  • The_Assimilator - Monday, April 2, 2018 - link

    Not much to explain - everyone knows Vega is a power hog. Reply
  • GreenReaper - Sunday, April 1, 2018 - link

    Most CPUs and GPUs are specced for instantaneous and even reasonably long-term power draw in excess of their TDP, which is more of a long-term cooling target (hence the *thermal* design part of the acronym). Then you have to supply power to ports, RAM, SSDs, etc. It all adds up fast. This is also one reason laptop tend to lack large numbers of high-powered USB/Thunderbolt ports. Reply
  • Samastrike - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    So routing display outputs through the AMD graphics was a choice by Intel for this specific machine? Hopefully Dell and other manufacturers won't do the same in laptops like the XPS 15 2-in-1, it would be crazy to cut off access to Intel's decode blocks for things like Youtube in a laptop. Reply
  • sharath.naik - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    This is too expensive. The Dell 7000 gaming laptop is closer to 1000$ (gtx1060) and will do better in all the games. I cannot think of one reason to by this NUC over the laptop. This NUC should have been priced at ~600$ barebones Reply
  • Crazyeyeskillah - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    This review is for the $1700 NUC. Clearly not designed for the gaming market whatsoever. a 700 laptop could rip this to pieces. Reply
  • Cooe - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    The only reason this particular SKU is so expensive is the Optane SSD + a NAND SSD too. Normally, this would be around $1200-1300 fully kitted. Reply

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