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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  • 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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