Performance Metrics - II

In this section, we mainly look at benchmark modes in programs used on a day-to-day basis, i.e, application performance and not synthetic workloads.

x264 Benchmark

First off, we have some video encoding benchmarks courtesy of x264 HD Benchmark v5.0.

Video Encoding - x264 5.0

Video Encoding - x264 5.0

7-Zip

7-Zip is a very effective and efficient compression program, often beating out OpenCL accelerated commercial programs in benchmarks even while using just the CPU power. 7-Zip has a benchmarking program that provides tons of details regarding the underlying CPU's efficiency. In this subsection, we are interested in the compression and decompression MIPS ratings when utilizing all the available threads.

7-Zip LZMA Compression Benchmark

7-Zip LZMA Decompression Benchmark

TrueCrypt

As businesses (and even home consumers) become more security conscious, the importance of encryption can't be overstated. CPUs supporting the AES-NI instruction for accelerating the encryption and decryption processes have, till now, been the higher end SKUs. However, with Bay Trail, even the lowly Atom series has gained support for AES-NI. The i5-4200U in the ZBOX OI520 has AES-NI support. TrueCrypt is a popular open-source disk encryption program which can take advantage of the AES-NI capabilities. The TrueCrypt internal benchmark provides some interesting cryptography-related numbers to ponder. In the graph below, we can get an idea of how fast a TrueCrypt volume would behave in the ZBOX OI520 and how it would compare with other select PCs. This is a purely CPU feature / clock speed based test.

TrueCrypt Benchmark

Agisoft Photoscan

Agisoft PhotoScan is a commercial program that converts 2D images into 3D point maps, meshes and textures. The program designers sent us a command line version in order to evaluate the efficiency of various systems that go under our review scanner. The command line version has two benchmark modes, one using the CPU and the other using both the CPU and GPU (via OpenCL). The benchmark takes around 50 photographs and does four stages of computation:

  • Stage 1: Align Photographs
  • Stage 2: Build Point Cloud (capable of OpenCL acceleration)
  • Stage 3: Build Mesh
  • Stage 4: Build Textures

We record the time taken for each stage. Since various elements of the software are single threaded, others multithreaded, and some use GPUs, it is interesting to record the effects of CPU generations, speeds, number of cores, DRAM parameters and the GPU using this software.

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 1

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 2

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 3

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 4

Dolphin Emulator

Wrapping up our application benchmark numbers is the Dolphin Emulator benchmark mode results.

Dolphin Emulator Benchmark

Performance Metrics - I Storage and Wireless Networking Credentials
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  • wintermute000 - Saturday, August 2, 2014 - link

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9S...

    Do you call 729.95 the same price as 499?

    To paraphrase a genius as yourself, IMHO I'd still opt for anything without the apple tax kthxbye
    Reply
  • tim851 - Saturday, August 2, 2014 - link

    599 at Apple.
    http://store.apple.com/us/buy-mac/mac-mini?product...

    Has a better CPU and an internal PSU, which makes the form factor more convenient.
    Reply
  • Glaurung - Saturday, August 2, 2014 - link

    Huh. Newegg must be smoking something. The exact same machine goes for $599 on the Apple.com site: http://store.apple.com/us/buy-mac/mac-mini. And when they're in stock, you can get a refurbished one (identical to new except it comes in a plain white box) for $509: http://store.apple.com/ca/product/FD387LL/A/refurb... Reply
  • M/2 - Sunday, August 10, 2014 - link

    I used to use the AppleTax word myself. I used to build my own machines. Having two minis running 24x7 , the new one for 3 years straight, the old one 4 years. Thus, I'm over both of those habits. If you compare them side by side, spec by spec, you may see the so-called AppleTax is minimal at best. ....OBTW, it's just a machine, not a religion. Both of mine are buried in the behind all my other AV gear. I rarely touch them, they just work. Reply
  • know of fence - Saturday, August 2, 2014 - link

    You are absolutely right. The mac mini was the first to create this form factor in 2005, It was Apple's strategy to sell frequency constrained mobile parts as silent and eco-friendly. From tablets, ultrabooks to NUCs it's all just uninspired imitation.
    Buying a laptop is also always the better choice (same parts after all), which is why the minis aren't all that popular in the apple camp either.
    Reply
  • Glaurung - Saturday, August 2, 2014 - link

    "Buying a laptop is also always the better choice"

    Unless you're using it as a desktop or server and don't need or want to pay for the screen/keyboard/trackpad/battery.
    Reply
  • know of fence - Sunday, August 3, 2014 - link

    Thing is laptops can make great desktops or servers, but not vice versa. They don't look to shabby on the desk, the shelf or the living room either, and they come with an uninterruptable power supply build in.
    When everyone is on an electronic bugdet with almost omnipotent devices like smartphones, PCs, consoles all of which require replacement in perpetuity, is there room for a limited purpose blue skull, with a 281 $ Intel dual core?

    There is a sensible TDP limit for eco-friendly PCs, but it ain't 15 W. There is also no pupose to cramming a stationarry PC into a little box, beyond "neat". "Neat" doesn't sell, either, or help anyone to improve their social status.
    Reply
  • wireframed - Monday, August 4, 2014 - link

    Laptops aren't designed for 24/7 usage, so no, they aren't great servers. Neither are they particularly expandable. Getting a few TB of storage into a laptop isn't cheap or easy. Neither is getting lots of RAM.
    As for desktops, sure, if you don't mind the premium. If you think the formfactor and screen come without a price, well...
    Lastly, laptops typically make more noise running full-tilt, or else they throttle. While this system probably doesn't run completely silent either, at least you don't pay the full laptop premium. The footprint is also smaller than a laptop (because laptops are low and wide, even when the volume is identical).
    Reply
  • bobbozzo - Saturday, August 2, 2014 - link

    Hi,

    1. How's the thermal performance?
    We'd probably leave it running 24/7 with a larger-capacity HDD installed

    2. I don't think 'Credentials' is the best word, in the title of page 4

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • ozzuneoj86 - Saturday, August 2, 2014 - link

    They need to stop calling these things boxes if they're going to continue to make them spherical.

    Just sayin...
    Reply

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