Performance Metrics

Many of our mini-PC benchmark programs are available only on 64-bit systems. Since the Intel PPSTK1SW32SC ships with a 32-bit version of Windows 10, many of the benchmarks in our standard test suite for low power desktops / industrial PCs could not be processed on the Compute Stick. As a result, these benchmarks were either removed or adjusted, and this is noted where necessary.

Futuremark PCMark 8

PCMark 8 provides various usage scenarios (home, creative and work) and offers ways to benchmark both baseline (CPU-only) as well as OpenCL accelerated (CPU + GPU) performance. We benchmarked select PCs for the OpenCL accelerated performance in all three usage scenarios. They key takeaway from these graphs is that the red scores (Cherry Trail) are quite a bit better than the blue scores (Bay Trail) when considering the fact that they are both systems with a similar form factor and power consumption profiles. Obviously, the more powerful / higher TDP Braswell systems such as the Beebox come out on top when compared to the Cherry Trail Compute Stick.

Futuremark PCMark 8 - Home OpenCL

Futuremark PCMark 8 - Creative OpenCL

Futuremark PCMark 8 - Work OpenCL

Miscellaneous Futuremark Benchmarks

Futuremark PCMark 7 - PCMark Suite Score

Futuremark 3DMark 11 - Entry Score

Futuremark 3DMark 2013 - Cloud Gate Score

The lead in the GPU section is much more for Cherry Trail compared to the benchmarks where both CPU and GPU both matter.

We now move on to look at the 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. We should be expecting Cherry Trail to win easily, but repeated benchmark trials always placed it a bit below the Bay Trail Compute Stick in the first pass (the second pass is as expected). Though we didn't track how long the Cherry Trail unit spent at the maximum burst frequency (1.84 GHz in theory, but only 1.6 GHz in practice, as we will see later), we believe that the Bay Trail unit is able to spend more time in that mode (max. burst of 1.83 GHz) compared to the Cherry Trail unit. It should also be noted here that the Bay Trail SoC has a SDP of 2.2W compared to the Cherry Trail's 2W. It is possible that the change in OS might also have played a role. Everything other than the Cherry Trail Compute Stick in the graph below was evaluated with Windows 8.1 Professional x64.

Video Encoding - x264 5.0 - Pass 1

Video Encoding - x264 5.0 - Pass 2

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. The observed results are similar to what we obtained for the x264 benchmark.

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 Atom x5-Z8300 in the Cherry Trail Compute Stick 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 PPSTK1AW32SC and how it would compare with other select PCs. This is a purely CPU feature / clock speed based test and Cherry Trail comes out on top easily.

TrueCrypt Benchmark

Introduction and Setup Impressions Networking and Storage Performance
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  • mabsark - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    I'm got a Brix 1900 mini PC which I use as a HTPC / Plex Media Server. It's got 4 GB of RAM and a 30 GB SSD. It runs Windows 10, Kodi and Plex Media Server. There's still about 6 GB free. All the media is stored on my NAS so the HTPC doesn't need more storage.

    Compute Sticks are basically streaming devices. You're not going to be installing a load of apps or media on them so they don't really need much storage space.
    Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, January 15, 2016 - link

    You do have a good argument, but my days of running in home servers and/or NAS units are long over. I don't want to deal with the hassle of being a systems administrator for my spouse and kids when all I really want my computers to do are provide connectivity, data processing, and entertainment at minimal operating overhead (power, space, heat & cooling, and time invested). That means ANY computer coming in the door needs to meet a certain set of criteria in painlessness of operation. 32GB of storage on a Windows box creates more problems than it solves and makes the Compute Stick a poor general purpose computing device. In my case, I don't deal with streaming media much except for the occasional YouTube clip or an Amazon video rental so the "everything else" a Compute Stick can do (or any other computer for that matter) is far more important than video playback and those other purposes do require a little more flash and, ideally, a couple more gigabytes of RAM. Reply
  • mabsark - Friday, January 15, 2016 - link

    Beyond media and web browsing, what else would you be doing on such a weak system? If you need the functionality of a proper PC then you buy a proper PC, not something like a compute stick.

    The same applies to your HP Stream 11 which is clearly billed as a "cloud computer". Basically, you're looking at the wrong type of products for your needs and then complaining that they're not good enough. You may as well be complaining that it's unable to run the latest AA games at 4K.
    Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, January 15, 2016 - link

    My TRS-80 packing a 1.7MHz Zilog Z80 could play games and run a word processor without storage capacity problems. I don't see why 35 years later, a budget PC with a general purpose x86 processor shouldn't be expected to do much, much better. Besides that, the price difference between 32 and 64GB of solid state memory is insignificant, even given the relative cost of the rest of the platform. It's a perfectly valid complaint. Reply
  • Reflex - Friday, January 15, 2016 - link

    A budget PC nowadays does much, much more than your TRS-80 ever did. Granted, more is better, but the comparison you are making is ridiculous. Reply
  • Lord of the Bored - Saturday, January 16, 2016 - link

    Man, I'm still fighting to get the "instant-on" of my old 99/4a on a modern system. But at least boot times are starting to come back down. That's progress! Reply
  • doggface - Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - link

    this argument is the worst. You could probably still play those games, and they would work a lot better. but not new games. and i bet your TRS-80 cost a bit more than $200 too.

    Completely different device. If you are looking to do anything more strenuous than basic internet or streaming.. you are barking up the wrong tree.
    Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, January 21, 2016 - link

    "Completely different device. If you are looking to do anything more strenuous than basic internet or streaming.. you are barking up the wrong tree"

    That makes no sense at all to me. Cherry Trail systems have vastly more compute power than systems of not so long ago that were fully functional computers (ala 100MHz Pentiums, and TRS-80s). Given their immense computational capacity, there's no reason at all to intentionally limit the usage of such hardware to only a small subset of tasks billions of computers that came before it did perfectly fine with far more limited resources. It's a desktop PC in a small case and therefore it should be accordingly expected to handle any and all desktop PC chores a user requires so they don't need to waste money/time/space/effort buying a Compute Stick only to have to purchase an additional computer in one of many absurdly large, obsolete ATX-derived form factors.
    Reply
  • Gunbuster - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    Does this work on a 4K TV at 4K resolution? Pretty much useless if it doesn't IMHO... Reply
  • dsraa - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    That's not what it's designed for..... Reply

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