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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  • ganeshts - Saturday, March 31, 2018 - link

    All those references to VLC are pre-3.0 release. With 3.0, VLC had a major overhaul. That is the reason why I never touched VLC in my earlier systems reviews, but started doing so with the ones from this month.

    https://www.videolan.org/vlc/releases/3.0.0.html

    The new release is very power efficient - as good as a lean MPC-HC + LAV Filters configuration. I believe they have done an excellent job, and will be using VLC moving forward (in addition to Kodi and MPC-HC / madVR).

    Like it or not, it is the geeks and the nerds who use MPC-HC. The mass market still uses Kodi and VLC (despite the latter's inefficiencies pre-3.0).
    Reply
  • Hifihedgehog - Saturday, March 31, 2018 - link

    “The mass market still uses Kodi and VLC.”

    I respectfully disagree. Many home theater users I know use Kodi in combination with MPC-HC or MPC-BE, due to MadVR highly superior scaling abilities. Check the Kodi forums. This is a very popular configuration:

    forum (dot) kodi (dot) tv/showthread.php?tid=209596

    Check out this thread. Many reference it. Perhaps you should as welll in going forward:

    forum (dot) doom9 (dot) org/showthread.php?t=171787

    I have tried VLC 3.0 and CPU usage and image quality are still inferior to MPC-HC and MPC-BE. For these reasons, it is still not worth recommending.
    Reply
  • Hifihedgehog - Saturday, March 31, 2018 - link

    PS:

    hardforum (dot) com/threads/vlc-3-0-released-with-hdr-chromecast-support.1954247/#post-1043479175
    Reply
  • Trixanity - Saturday, March 31, 2018 - link

    Try the latest 3.0.2 nightly. It should work there unless Hades have special drivers. Reply
  • mode_13h - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    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
  • cfenton - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    The claim was about codec support. Just by looking at the DXVA charts it's pretty clear the Intel IGP has better codec support. Hardware decode is pretty important for most people looking for a box to sit near their TV.

    Of course, you may be right that the Ryzen 5 is a better solution overall if you're willing to sacrifice UHD Blu-ray and some hardware decode ability.
    Reply
  • eva02langley - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    Who the hell is using Blu-Ray anymore? Reply
  • mooninite - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    People use Blu-Ray when they want to view the best possible video AND audio quality on something other than their laptop with a 1280x768 17" screen that's on shared wi-fi. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    Do you mean 1366x768? 1280x800 used to be pretty popular when screens went to 16:10. Reply
  • cfenton - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    Anyone who cares about image and audio quality, which is precisely the market for an HTPC. Reply

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