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. This is simply a test of CPU performance. As expected, the Core i7-5557U performs much better than any other U-series CPU that we have tested so far. Thanks to its high TDP, it can sustain higher clock rates. Obviously, it is no match for the 65W TDP Core i7-4770R in the BRIX Pro.

Video Encoding - x264 5.0 - Pass 1

Video Encoding - x264 5.0 - Pass 2


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


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 Core i7-5557U in the NUC5i7RYH does have AES-NI support. TrueCrypt, a popular open-source disk encryption program 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 Intel NUC5i7RYH 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. This is again a test of the CPU capabilities, and the trend observed in the previous benchmarks in this section get repeated here. The Core i7-5557U is simply the highest-performing U-series CPU that we have evaluated so far.

Dolphin Emulator Benchmark

Performance Metrics - I Gaming Benchmarks
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  • Pork@III - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    No reason for write for discrete desktop graphics in this article.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    So, gaming on the Iris Graphics 6100 -- what gives? 48 EUs at up to 1100MHz should smoke the pants off the HD Graphics 5500 (24 EUs at up to 1000MHz), especially considering the 28W TDP vs. 15W TDP. BioShock Infinite and DiRT Showdown show at least a moderate bump in performance, but unless the chips are fully memory bandwidth bottlenecked I was expecting the Iris 6100 to be about twice as fast as the HD 5500. Disappointing to say the least. What drivers are you running?
  • ganeshts - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    Intel actually wrote about this to me right after the Broadwell-U NUC review.. maybe I should have mentioned it in this review.

    The performance scores (especially 3DMark scores) on the Gigabyte BRIX systems included in the review were higher than we expected for those processors. We can confirm that the Gigabyte BRIX systems are configured to run at a TDP of 25W. By comparison the BDW-NUC systems we sent to you are configured to run at a TDP of 20W.

    I’m sure you’re aware that the higher TDP will allow the BRIX to get higher scores on some benchmarks due to the increased thermal headroom. The difference in TDP is likely responsible for some of the unexpected scores, (e.g. the i7-4500U outperforming a i5-5250U on 3dmark ice storm, we would ordinarily expect the i5-5250U to score better in a benchmark like Ice Storm).

    Just wanted to drop you a heads up so you’re aware of the different TDPs on these systems and their impact on the performance benchmarks

    Driver version used for the Iris NUC:
  • OrphanageExplosion - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    HD 6100 perf is really poor on my 2015 rMBP 13 under Boot Camp too. Really disappointing.
  • JBVertexx - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    Why would you not include gaming performance comparisons vs. AMD Kaveri?
  • silverblue - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    I think you'd need to find Kaveri within the same (or similar) power space in the same form factor, first. I'd be intrigued, as well.
  • JBVertexx - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    Run it against an A8-7600 and A10-7800 in 45W mode. I am running an HTPC/Steam Box using an A10-7600 (45W mode) in a Streacom F1C Evo case ( That's close enough to the Nuc form factor, and at least it would see how well AMD graphics hold out against Broadwell Iris Pro.
  • JBVertexx - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    Correction - running an A8-7600.
  • Galatian - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    So is the NVMe Version of the SM951 purchasable now? Or is this just one you had laying around?
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    It is coming to the market very soon. Samsung has just now started sampling to the press.

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