Networking and Storage Performance

Networking and storage are two major aspects which influence our experience with any computing system. This section presents results from our evaluation of these aspects in the Intel NUC6i7KYK (Skull Canyon). On the storage side, one option would be repetition of our strenuous SSD review tests on the drive(s) in the PC. Fortunately, to avoid that overkill, PCMark 8 has a storage bench where certain common workloads such as loading games and document processing are replayed on the target drive. Results are presented in two forms, one being a benchmark number and the other, a bandwidth figure. We ran the PCMark 8 storage bench on selected PCs and the results are presented below.

Futuremark PCMark 8 Storage Bench - Score

Futuremark PCMark 8 Storage Bench - Bandwidth

The storage score (primary result) shows that there is not much to gain by going from the SM951 in the NUC6i5SYK to the 950 PRO in the NUC6i7KYK. It shows that workloads are more user-input and CPU-bound, rather than storage-bound. On the other hand, the storage bandwidth number (secondary result) shows a significant jump. Readers can refer to our explanation of how these numbers are calculated by PCMark 8. The secondary result is the total amount of data transferred (both reads and writes) divided by the storage I/O busy time (i.e, time duration during which the number of pending I/O operations was at least 1). The secondary result is a very important metric when idle time compression is involved, but it doesn't matter as much as the primary result when it comes to application responsiveness (as the workload might be CPU-bound, rather than storage-bound). In any case, the above result shows that a powerful CPU can drive up the secondary result very high.

On the networking side, we restricted ourselves to the evaluation of the WLAN component. Our standard test router is the Netgear R7000 Nighthawk configured with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks. The router is placed approximately 20 ft. away, separated by a drywall (as in a typical US building). A wired client (Zotac ID89-Plus) is connected to the R7000 and serves as one endpoint for iperf evaluation. The PC under test is made to connect to either the 5 GHz (preferred) or 2.4 GHz SSID and iperf tests are conducted for both TCP and UDP transfers. It is ensured that the PC under test is the only wireless client for the Netgear R7000. We evaluate total throughput for up to 32 simultaneous TCP connections using iperf and present the highest number in the graph below.

Wi-Fi TCP Throughput

In the UDP case, we try to transfer data at the highest rate possible for which we get less than 1% packet loss.

Wi-Fi UDP Throughput (< 1% Packet Loss)

The antenna placement and the system design ensure that the Intel 802.11ac AC8260 WLAN subsystem performs exceptionally well in our Wi-Fi testing and comes out at the top of the charts in both TCP and UDP tests.

Gaming Benchmarks HTPC Credentials
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  • utferris - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    This can be better with ECC memory support. I just can not use any machine without ECC for work. Reply
  • ShieTar - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    But a low-frequency consumer quad-core is fine? What exactly do you do at work? Reply
  • Gigaplex - Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - link

    Sometimes reliability is more important than performance. Reply
  • close - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    Guess ECC is not high on the list for potential NUC buyers, even if it's a Skull Canyon NUC. I think most people would rather go for better graphics than ECC. Reply
  • kgardas - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    Indeed, the picture shows SO-DIMM ECC, but I highly doubt this is even supported since otherwise it's not Xeon nor Cxxx chipset... Reply
  • close - Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - link

    http://ark.intel.com/search/advanced?ECCMemory=tru... Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    What work do you want to do on a 45W mobile quad with (albeit high end) integrated graphics, that needs ECC?

    I wonder how that would work with the eDRAM anyways, the main memory being ECC, but not the eDRAM.
    Reply
  • Samus - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    All of the cache in Intel CPU's is ECC anyway. Chances of errors not being corrected by bad information pulled from system RAM is rare (16e^64) in consumer applications.

    ECC was more important when there was a small amount of system RAM, but these days with the amount of RAM available, ECC is not only less effective but less necessary.

    I'm all for ECC memory in the server/mainframe space but for this application it is certainly an odd request. This is, for the most part, a laptop without a screen.
    Reply
  • TeXWiller - Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - link

    >ECC was more important when there was a small amount of system RAM,
    The larger the array the larger target it is for the radiation to hit. Laptops are often being used in high altitude environments with generally less shielding than the typical desktop or even a server so from that perspective ECC would seem beneficial basic feature. Then there are the supercomputers, a fun read: http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/hardware/how-to...
    Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - link

    @TeXWiller: "The larger the array the larger target it is for the radiation to hit."

    While this is true, transistor density has improved to the point that, despite having magnitudes more capacity, the physical array size is actually smaller. Of course the transistors are also more susceptible given the radiant energy is, relatively speaking, much greater compared to the energy in the transistor than it was when transistors were larger. There is also the consideration that as transistor density increases, it becomes less likely that radiation will strike the silicon (or other substrate), but miss the transistor. So we've marginally decreased the chance that radiation will hit the substrate, but significantly increased the change that any hit that does occur will be meaningful.
    Reply

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