Power Consumption and Thermal Performance

The power consumption at the wall was measured with a 1080p display being driven through the HDMI port. In the graphs below, we compare the idle and load power of the GIGABYTE GB-BKi7HA-7500 with other low power PCs evaluated before. For load power consumption, we ran the AIDA64 System Stability Test with various stress components, as well as our custom power virus test (a combination of Prime95 and Furmark) and noted the maximum sustained power consumption at the wall.

Idle Power Consumption

Load Power Consumption (AIDA64 SST)

The idle power numbers are typical of a UCFF PC configured with a NVMe SSD. The sustained load power consumption is also similar to the Core i7-based units that we have evaluated before.

Our thermal stress routine starts with the system at idle, followed by four stages of different system loading profiles using the AIDA64 System Stability Test (each of 30 minutes duration). In the first stage, we stress the CPU, caches and RAM. In the second stage, we add the GPU to the above list. In the third stage, we stress the GPU standalone. In the final stage, we stress all the system components (including the disks). Beyond this, we leave the unit idle in order to determine how quickly the various temperatures in the system can come back to normal idling range. The various clocks, temperatures and power consumption numbers for the system during the above routine are presented in the graphs below. The important things to note include the core temperature steering well below the maximum junction temperature, and the chassis / thermal design being able to easily handle the specified 15W package power without throttling.

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We repeated the same observations with our legacy stress test using the latest versions of Prime95 and Furmark - Prime95 v28.10 for 30 minutes (after launching with the max. stress option), followed by Furmark v1.18.20 for 30 minutes. The Prime95 load is then removed, allowing just the GPU alone to be stressed for 30 minutes. The system is then left idle.

According to the official specifications, the junction temperature of the Core i7-7500U is 100 C. Despite our power virus test being quite stressful, the thermal solution is able to keep the core temperature below 90C. We see that the system is basically limited by the package power. A sustained 15W load is easily handled by the cooling solution. We can see that the BIOS is set up to allow 25W for up to 5 seconds, and 18 W for up to 45 seconds before settling down to the 15W level.

HTPC Credentials Final Words
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  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    interesting idea, but for the cash I'd rather get the intel box with iris graphics. $500 is too much for a box o badly hamstrung in the GPU department, especially if the iris kaby lake intel NUCs are around the $500 price. Reply
  • niva - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    Can you please point out where one can find a Kaby Lake Intel NUC with Iris for the same price, or less? We will be eternally grateful! Reply
  • gigahertz20 - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    @niva The new Intel NUC Kaby Lake i7 version will be out end of this month. Right now you can preorder it on several websites. The website below has it for preorder for $521 and on their website it says they are expecting to receive 190 units on March 31st. Here is a link to the page on shopblt.com, http://www.shopblt.com/item/intel-boxnuc7i7bnh-box... Reply
  • gigahertz20 - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    I'm waiting for the new Kaby Lake Intel NUCs. Specifically the NUC7i7BNH model, it's got 2x2 802.11ac WLAN unlike this Gigabyte BRIX and hopefully the fan isn't as loud as this one either. The UEFI Bios is always pretty comprehensive on the Intel NUCs as well. Amazon is selling the i3 version but not the Kaby Lake i7 version yet, I heard sometime from March through May is when the i7 NUC should show up on Amazon/Newegg. If you are looking to buy a UCFF PC, there is no reason I can think of to get this BRIX when the Intel NUC will have it beat plus you get Iris Graphics. It will be a no brainer. Reply
  • CSMR - Saturday, March 18, 2017 - link

    The NUC7i7BNH does look good.

    I think with any powerful machine in such a small form factor you have to mod it if you want it to be quiet.

    The last Iris Pro/Plus device in a similar form factor is the Brix BXi7-5775. I using this, and cut open the top to put a larger quiet fan in. It's great, fast and quiet.
    Reply
  • bill44 - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    "However, GIGABYTE has integrated a LSPCon and ensured that the lack of native support is not a problem for the GB-BKi7HA-7500."

    Unfortunately, LSPCon is a big problem. It's not capable of playing 3D FramePacked material with latest Kodi when HDMI 2.0 is used as output. Requires native HDMI 1.4.
    http://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=266316
    Reply
  • mooninite - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    This won't be a problem much longer. 3D TVs are going away. Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    I'd argue that televisions in general are on a slow decline as well. Certainly 3D TV was something of a niche/fad that didn't gain the widespread sales it needed to take off in the late 2000's after making its return from the grave. At this point, since TVs are waning anyway as a entertainment source (current models sold are larger, but there are fewer of them per household and the trend seems to point generally downward for the future), 3D variants don't seem like they have a chance of surviving. Though I think it's likely 3D projection will be resurrected yet again in the future and maybe next time around the technology will make it practical, I can't see that happening soon while many of us remember the last flop and would be cynical about another attempt. It is also unlikely to take the form of a conventional consumption device like a television since, by the time it's forgotten and brought back as a new idea, we'll be consuming content differently. Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    I have a Samsung 3D tv from 2011, it's gimmicky but still fun for certain movies. At least it has the active shutter glasses (that I feel work better than the filter glasses at theaters that give me a headache) Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, March 17, 2017 - link

    Oh yeah, its cool tech for sure! It just didn't take off like it would have needed to for it to get the broad support it required to survive past more than an iteration or two of hardware from most companies. In fact, with as hard as it fell, I was surprised there were a few products that continued to support some form of 3D like Nintendo's New 3DS even well after it was clear 3D wasn't a thing anymore. Reply

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