Performance Metrics - II

In this section, we mainly look at 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, and there is no hit from the Meltdown and Spectre patches. As expected, within the same number of threads, the higher TDP desktop CPU-based systems perform better. Recent releases of the x264 benchmark can show even more impressive gains, as they make use of the latest and greatest features of the modern Intel processors.

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.

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 become more widespread over the last few years. TrueCrypt, a popular open-source disk encryption program can take advantage of the AES-NI capabilities. In the graph below, we can get an idea of how fast a TrueCrypt volume would behave in the Zotac ZBOX MAGNUS EK71080* and how it would compare with other select PCs. This is a purely CPU feature / clock speed based test.

TrueCrypt Benchmark

Agisoft Photoscan

Agisoft PhotoScan is a commercial program that converts 2D images into 3D point maps, meshes and textures. The program designers sent us a command line version in order to evaluate the efficiency of various systems that go under our review scanner. The command line version has two benchmark modes, one using the CPU and the other using both the CPU and GPU (via OpenCL). We have been using an old version of the program with 50 photogaphs in our reviews till now. The updated benchmark (v1.3) now takes around 84 photographs and does four stages of computation:

  • Stage 1: Align Photographs (capable of OpenCL acceleration)
  • Stage 2: Build Point Cloud (capable of OpenCL acceleration)
  • Stage 3: Build Mesh
  • Stage 4: Build Textures

We record the time taken for each stage. Since various elements of the software are single threaded, others multithreaded, and some use GPUs, it is interesting to record the effects of CPU generations, speeds, number of cores, DRAM parameters and the GPU using this software.

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 1

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 2

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 3

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 4

Dolphin Emulator

Wrapping up our application benchmark numbers is the new Dolphin Emulator (v5) benchmark mode results. This is again a test of the CPU capabilities, and the 65W TDP CPU-equipped EN1080K performs better than the EK71080.

Dolphin Emulator Benchmark

Performance Metrics - I Gaming Benchmarks
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  • The_Assimilator - Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - link

    Would be nice to see pictures of the graphics card and how it connects to the motherboard, HINT HINT.

    And... am I the only one who thinks this unit is oriented the wrong way up? That exploded diagram Zotac provided show the CPU and graphics card drawing cool air in from the top of the case - but as we know, hot air rises, so what's gonna happen (to my thinking at least) is that the hot exhaust air is going to rise and get pulled back into the system, and go round and round and round...

    Surely the cooling would work better if the unit was upside down, allowing the CPU and GPU to pull in cool air from the bottom and exhaust it higher up so it can rise? I'm assuming Zotac tested this, but it would be fun for AnandTech to confirm whether I'm crazy or not.
    Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - link

    Natural convection is such a weak force that it only matters for completely passively cooled systems. Forcibly exhausting warm air outside the case is a vastly stronger option for removing heat and the orientation of where it's directing heat (up, side, down, or whatever) has no bearing on the effective heat dissipation, regardless of whether it's in line with natural convection or the opposite direction, so long as the exhaust isn't being pointed in a direction that blocks the air (ex: single exhaust fan pointing downward on a midtower sitting 1" off the carpet floor, the exhaust won't be able to remove air since there is a barrier on the other side)

    Simply put, convection doesn't matter in PC systems with fan intakes/exhausts.
    Reply
  • vailr - Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - link

    Is that GTX 1080 a mobile or desktop GPU? How is it cooled?
    From the photos, it looks like some kind of custom desktop GPU type of card, with 1x DVI, 1x HDMI & 3x DP ports, with the GPU chip on the under side of the card (?). Which would be less effective as a cooling solution, compared with the GPU and it's cooling fan on the top side: heat rises.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - link

    It is a desktop GPU configured with a 175W TDP (as evident from the power component in the thermal stress section).

    I don't believe this is a custom card, just the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Mini with a different fan configuration. The display outputs at the back match exactly with the card used in the EK71080.
    Reply
  • npz - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    > While we do have the option to enable SGX support, there are no control knbos for the integrated GPU in the Core i7-7700HQ. The integrated GPU is better at decoding videos encoded in codecs such as VP9 Profile 2 compared to the GTX 1080. It can offer the PAVP (protected audio video path) for certain DRM requirements that is also not present in the GTX 1080. Unfortunately, the integrated GPU is completely disabled in the EK71080 (this is no different from the previous ZBOX MAGNUS PCs, though).

    > We see that the system can't play back Ultra HD Blu-rays even if a UHD Blu-ray drive were to be attached to it. The main reasons are the absence of SGX support software, updated ME firmware, and the inability to make use of the Intel GPU's protected audio-video path for processing the Blu-ray streams.

    WHY ZOTAC? WHY U DO DIS? You have a perfectly fine piece of hardware in the iGPU that provides functionlity that is _not_ in the GTX 1080 and you just blanket disable it for no reason. Even if the DRM requires a single hardware path, then just provide a seperate hdmi or DP for the 630 igpu then. Or given the high cost, you should've just taken the laptop route and multiplexed the two gpus to shared ports.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    You are going to be even more flabbergasted later today :| Reply
  • guidryp - Saturday, March 31, 2018 - link

    Do you guys not have a PC with desktop GPU to provide at least one such comparison.

    It would be useful to know, how much performance you are giving for the tiny form factor.
    Reply
  • Hixbot - Wednesday, April 04, 2018 - link

    I really think noise levels should be compared in all these SFF reviews. Reply
  • modport - Friday, April 06, 2018 - link

    I'm looking into pre-built more minimal looking (to put it nicely) gaming mini PCs. Noise level is definitely a factor. It'd be nice to compare actual dBA levels. Reply
  • rima1 - Friday, April 06, 2018 - link

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    Reply

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