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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  • augman2384 - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    Are you going to review the Kangaroo PC? It's also Cherry Trail and has other similarities but priced much cheaper at $99. It would be interesting to see it compared in the benchmarks. Reply
  • Wombat2013 - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    Yes, a Kangaroo PC review would be interesting/useful. Reply
  • KenA - Friday, January 15, 2016 - link

    I picked up a Kanagroo PC at newegg for $99. It's great. And it has 4K Hdmi! I use it on my Vizio 4K 43" TV. Reply
  • ToTTenTranz - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    Well a high-pitch fan in a product like this is really a huge turn-off...

    One question and one request that may be of interest to many users:

    1 - It won't pass-through DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD, but does the HDMI sound codec support a linear-PCM output up to 7.1, and if so can it decode the compressed lossless formats and send through 24bit PCM?

    2 - Please, if not for this review then at least for the next ones, could you include a test with Steam In-Home Streaming in your suite?
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    Yes, it supports Linear PCM, Dolby Digital, DTS and Dolby Digital Plus up to 5.1 for sure. I will check and report on 7.1 later tonight.

    I have to check on the Steam In-Home Streaming - if there is a typical benchmark that can quickly assess the capabilities. If I need to have another PC running Steam and actually need to launch a game and play, then I fear it might be too much overhead to our benchmarking routine.
    Reply
  • ToTTenTranz - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    Thanks for the clarification! Then it's probably a matter of licensing alone.

    As for In-Home Streaming, you can just start a timedemo from any game from the client PC and watch the network statistics in it (it's an option in the In-Home Streaming settings).
    Since IHS supports the execution of pretty much any executable from the host PC, you can probably just run your already existing batch file from there.
    Reply
  • jasonelmore - Friday, January 15, 2016 - link

    its a simple streaming test. What quality setting can it do? You can measure FPS. Use a game that gets good frame-rates like Portal 2 or TF2. As long as the Steam PC can do 60 FPS, then all of the other variables are moot.

    Use a usb ethernet adapter
    Reply
  • BillyONeal - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    Typo:
    maintaining a similar power envelop
    ->
    maintaining a similar power envelope.
    Reply
  • bill.rookard - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    Very cool little devices, and while I can appreciate the tiny form factor, it still doesn't seem to be as good as my Raspberry Pi quad core running OpenELEC, especially when factoring in the price. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    At any given moment, there are a dozen Z8300 equivalent tablets on sale for less than $200. As messed up as it is, I doubt we will ever see prices on these compute sticks go lower than the sale prices of atom tablets. Reply

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