Power Consumption and Thermal Performance

The power consumption at the wall was measured with a 1080p display being driven through the HDMI port. In the graphs below, we compare the idle and load power of the GIGABYTE GB-BXi7H-5500 with other low power PCs evaluated before. For load power consumption, we ran Furmark 1.15.0 and Prime95 v28.5 together. The numbers are not beyond the realm of reason for the combination of hardware components in the machine.

Idle Power Consumption

Load Power Consumption (Prime95 + FurMark)

The slightly higher base clocks in the Core i7-5500U (compared to the Core i7-4500U) are probably the reason for the Haswell-based unit appearing more power efficient than the Broadwell counterpart - but, make no mistake here - the Broadwell unit wins the performance per watt test quite easily.

The evaluation of the thermal performance was performed by monitoring the various clocks in the system as well as the temperatures with the unit when subject to the following workload. We start with the system at idle, followed by 30 minutes of pure CPU loading. This is followed by another 30 minutes of both CPU and GPU being loaded simultaneously. After this, the CPU load was removed, allowing the GPU to be loaded alone for another 30 minutes.

In the pure CPU loading scenario, the cpre frequencies stay well above the suggested base value of 2.4 GHz (indicating that GIGABYTE's trust in their cooling solution). The core temperature doesn't cross 90 C during this time (the junction temperature is 105 C). On the other hand, when the CPU and GPU are both loaded, the frequencies drop down to around 1.6 GHz for the cores. The GPU is advertised to run at a base clock of 300 MHz, with a turbo mode of 950 MHz. The actual frequency stays above 800 MHz comfortably throughout our stress test. In the absence of any CPU load, the cores drop down to 800 MHz. The temperatures are also below 80 C throughout the time that the GPU is loaded up.

All in all, the thermal solution is very effective. Given that the acoustic side-effects were not irksome (subjectively), we wonder if GIGABYTE has missed a trick by dialing down the overclocking and not allowing the full performance potential of the system to come through.

HTPC Credentials Final Words
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  • toshz - Friday, January 30, 2015 - link

    Does anyone know what's the difference between the AC7260 and AC7265 wireless adapters?
    I was looking into purchasing the AC7260 to update my ultrabook (currently using AC3160) and then I saw the AC7265. Couldn't find any difference between them on Intel's site.

    Thanks.
    Reply
  • kevith - Friday, January 30, 2015 - link

    Nice review, but why have you stopped opening the cases? I would be interested in one of these, but changing/adding cooling is a must. Reply
  • jrs77 - Friday, January 30, 2015 - link

    Allthough I very much like the idea of the smallest PC possible, the NUC or the BRIX (or anything else in this formfactor) is still too expensive compared to a more powerful and better customizable mITX-system.
    I can build a low-powered mITX-system for $600 (i5-4590T, H97 board, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 20x20x8cm case incl 90W PSU), which leaves me with money for the Win8.1 license (the one you didn't include in your price there!). Such a system, has much more value and can be strapped to the back of your screen not using anymore space than the NUC or BRIX.
    Reply
  • zodiacfml - Friday, January 30, 2015 - link

    I agree. That's what I thought of this review. The processor is just too pricey.
    Someone could buy a notebook with an i5-Haswell with a AMD/Nvidia GPU near that price.
    Reply
  • piasabird - Friday, January 30, 2015 - link

    If most of what you plan on doing viewing video an i3 with 4 megs of cache will work just fine. Reply
  • deathwombat - Friday, January 30, 2015 - link

    Does the top of the box actually say "Supports 2.5" Hard Drivers"? At least have someone proofread your packaging! Reply
  • eanazag - Friday, January 30, 2015 - link

    I agree on the networking. 2x2 Wifi would be better and Intel NIC. I dislike the Realtek NICs. With an Intel NIC there are more options from the software side, like a tiny VM server. Reply
  • vision33r - Saturday, January 31, 2015 - link

    Intel has no pressure to improve performance. Reply
  • Mikad - Tuesday, February 03, 2015 - link

    This is just a small thing, but it has bothered me much lately: Many of the new articles have a quite bad "featured image". For example this one: Just a picture of the box with a bad lightning. The product itself is interesting but the picture is a turn off. IMHO it would be great if you could put more effort into these pictures. Reply
  • Teknobug - Wednesday, February 04, 2015 - link

    Looks like gaming is out of the question, at least at 1920x1080. May as well go with an i3 or N2940 and play via Steam stream from a gaming PC.

    Otherwise everything else about this is awesome.
    Reply

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