Gaming Benchmarks

Intel's integrated GPUs don't have a big name in the gaming community. Once in a while, Intel throws in a surprise. In the Haswell family, CPUs with Iris Pro graphics gave a pleasant surprise to casual gamers. In this section, we will identify whether the Intel Iris Graphics 6100 in the Core i7-5557U can provide an acceptable gaming experience. It will also be interesting to find out how it compares against the HD 6000 in the Core i5-5250U and the HD 5500 inthe Core i7-5500U (BRIX s).

For the purpose of benchmarking, we chose four different games (Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite and DiRT Showdown) at three different quality levels. As someone focusing on HTPCs and multimedia aspects, I rarely get to process gaming benchmarks, even while evaluating GPUs. One of the aspects that I feared was spending lot of time in installing the same games again and again on different PCs under the review scanner. The solution was to go the Steam route. Unfortunately, Steam also likes to keep the game files updated. A quick online search revealed that Steam could make use of an external drive for storing the game executables and downloadable content. With the Steam drive on-the-go use-case being read-heavy, the Corsair Flash Voyager GS USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive (with read speeds of up to 275 MBps) was ideal for use as a portable Steam drive.

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs - Performance Score

Sleeping Dogs - Quality Score

Sleeping Dogs - Extreme Score

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider - Performance Score

Tomb Raider - Quality Score

Tomb Raider - Extreme Score

Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite - Performance Score

Bioshock Infinite - Quality Score

Bioshock Infinite - Extreme Score

DiRT Showdown

DiRT Showdown - Performance Score

DiRT Showdown - Quality Score

DiRT Showdown - Extreme Score

At lower quality levels, the HD 5500 in the Core i7-5500U can sometimes provide marginally better frame rates, but the Iris Graphics 6100 trumps other UCFF PCs in almost all other situations. The only exception is the Core i7-4770R-equipped BRIX Pro that is also equipped with Iris Pro Graphics. Despite belonging to the previous generation, the higher TDP (65W vs. 28W) allows for better GPU performance.However, at the 20W and lower TDP-point / acoustic profile / chassis size, it goes without saying that Iris Graphics 6100 possesses the best gaming credentials.

Performance Metrics - II Networking and Storage Performance
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  • nathanddrews - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    Ticks generally also bring a thorough lineup of SKUs and better performance. No matter, Skylake will be here soon enough.
  • chizow - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    Overall I've been happy with my Haswell-NUC, but all the recent deals for the Alienware Alpha at $399 completely obliterate the NUC, imo. Unfortunately the Alpha was not an option when I built my NUC this time last year, but it is a far better option mainly due to the far superior onboard dGPU (GTX 860m+) option.
  • kmmatney - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    Wow - I've never heard of the Alienware Alpha, but it does look like a better deal, which a much better GPU, and comes with an OS. I couldn't find the $399 deal, though. The coupon code had expired for the one I did come across.
  • ezridah - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    Microcenter has them for $299 right now if you're lucky enough to be near one that has them in stock still. Mine didn't :(
  • jabber - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    Oh that's a much more sensible sized device too. These things don't have to be micro tiny. The size of a hard-backed book is fine.
  • deruberhanyok - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    What's the quality of noise on that "slightly audible" under heavy load? Is it just a whoosh of air, which is fairly easy to ignore, or is it a sort of whining sound from the fan spinning at high speed, which is much harder to dismiss?
  • ganeshts - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    It is not a whining sound - that is more a characteristic of small diameter fans at high speed.

    This is a sustained 'whoosh of air' - it is not easy to ignore IMO, but that is subjective. All I can compare it to is against the Broadwell-U NUC - in that case, the whoosh could be ignored (again, subjective)
  • deruberhanyok - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    thanks Ganesh!
  • Uplink10 - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    My thoughts:
    1. There should be a second GbE port which would make this PC a lot more versatile. Plus this PC supports Virtualization and even VT-d (although VT-d in Mini-PCs is underused than it would be in PCs with free PCIExpress slots) and often it comes handy if you have at least two GbE ports.
    2. You should use external SSD for more consistent and bottleneck proof speeds.
    3. External Antenna would improve signal strength.
    4. If we are talking about full sized HDMI I would also expect full sized DP and since DP is the future, if I had to choose one, I would choose full sized DP.
  • dmdeemer - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    "Over the last couple of years, mini-PCs in the ultra-compact form factor (UCFF) have emerged as one of the bright spots in the troubled PC market."

    Please stop using this line at the top of every UCFF article. copy-paste is unprofessional, and reflects badly on the rest of the article's content before I even read it.

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