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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  • PeachNCream - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    The price really is way too high right now compared to a laptop if your focus is gaming. If you need a LAN party portable box, a laptop is usually a better option anyway since the screen and keyboard aren't additional components you'll have to take with you. Because the NUC is so small, it lacks the upgrade advantages offered by a desktop form factor so you're basically dealing with an overpriced, screenless laptop. I'm all for the technology at the heart of the new NUC, but you're absolutely right that it needs to start at $600. Reply
  • bill44 - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    I was hoping so much from this machine, ready to buy, only to be disappointed.

    No Titan Ridge TB3 (DP 1.4)
    No UHD-BD playback
    TB3 not connected to CPU
    UHS-1 only card reader, no UHS-II
    Issues with storage bandwidth since Spectre/Meltdown issues, no in-silicon fix (I know, 2nd half 2018).
    Disappointing WiFi speed, no BT 5, even if M.2 changed no aerial.
    Hardware decoding/codec issues
    etc.

    When can we expect the next (fixed version) :)
    Reply
  • cacnoff - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    Titan Ridge - not out yet.
    UHD-BD playback - doesn't work on nvidia either.
    Point to ANY designs with TB3 connected to CPU.
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    Apple does this pretty regularly. But last I knew, everyone else had to go through the PCH due to Windows / UEFI limitations. Which is a bummer because of the additional latency and clear potential for bandwidth contention. Reply
  • npz - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    That's true uhd-bd can't purely work on nvidia gpus but they have two freaking separate independent gpus here, so surely they could've left the hd 630 enabled. Reply
  • Hifihedgehog - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    “We can actually see that the codec support from the Intel side is miles ahead of the Radeon's capabilities.”

    This is misinformed at best, and categorically false at worse. I have been using a Ryzen 5 2400G, on an ASRock AB350 Gaming-ITX/ac motherboard to drive an HDMI 2.0 4K display at 12-bit (yes, despite lacking formal certification, HDMI 2.0 works flawlessly on 300-series motherboards). I successfully can play back various hefty video material, including HEVC in the form of lossless MKV rips of my UHD Blu-rays, and VP9. Moreover, the color, deblocking, and scaling is far superior in terms of pure optical fidelity to the Intel Skull Canyon NUC’s hazy, unrefined hardware decoding solution. Also, I could go at length about the dropout and timing issues of Intel’s HD Graphics with various high-end AV receivers (Marantz, Denon, and Yamaha) that I have had (e.g. timing issues from their onboard DP-to-HDMI converters causing DAC and sound processing to operate in a compatibility mode with 16-bit sound depth). Suffice it to say, from an objective standpoint, Intel’s NUCs are utter trash, littered with issues, that fall far short from being serious home theater solutions.
    Reply
  • garbagedisposal - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    " misinformed at best, and categorically false at worse"
    Yes, you are.

    "HDMI 2.0 works flawlessly on 300-series motherboards"
    Congrats on discovering the obvious. Nobody claimed otherwise

    "successfully can play back various hefty video material, including HEVC"
    So can intel, better and at lower power. Isn't it sad that the radeon can't do VP9 or netflix?

    "color, deblocking, and scaling is far superior"
    Sure. Everything just looks so wrong on intel. Certainly takes a special snowflake like you to notice, good job.

    "Marantz, Denon, and Yamaha"
    Nobody cares.

    Rabid angry people like you are funny, do you really think anyone is going to read or care about your comment? Go away LOL
    Reply
  • Hifihedgehog - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    Please be polite and less “rabid.” Thanks. Reply
  • Hifihedgehog - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    For anyone reading the post above, Vega can correctly decode VP9, hybrid or otherwise. What was posted above is incorrect. Reply
  • Hifihedgehog - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    “Congrats on discovering the obvious. Nobody claimed otherwise”

    This is also false. Many reviews online of the Ryzen Raven Ridge APUs claimed that HDMI 2.0 support was yet non-existent given that most motherboard manufacturers state only HDMI 1.4 for their 300-series AM4 boards. This concerned many users, but after thorough research and testing (see here: smallformfactor (dot) net /forum/threads/raven-ridge-hdmi-2-0-compatibility-1st-gen-am4-motherboard-test-request-megathread.6709/ ; I am the one who started the thread and led its discussion), it was concluded that all current motherboards work without limitations or issue regardless of the published specifications. I will also ignore the passive-aggressive sarcasm and sentiment laced in-between the lines from the “Congrats” to the “LOL.” Please be less rabid and angry, and more people will take your seriously.
    Reply

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