UL Benchmarks - PCMark, 3DMark, and VRMark

This section deals with a selection of the UL Futuremark benchmarks - PCMark 10, PCMark 8, 3DMark, and VRMark. While the first two evaluate the system as a whole, 3DMark and VRMark focus on the graphics capabilities.

PCMark 10

UL's PCMark 10 evaluates computing systems for various usage scenarios (generic / essential tasks such as web browsing and starting up applications, productivity tasks such as editing spreadsheets and documents, gaming, and digital content creation). We benchmarked select PCs with the PCMark 10 Extended profile and recorded the scores for various scenarios. These scores are heavily influenced by the CPU and GPU in the system, though the RAM and storage device also play a part. The power plan was set to Balanced for all the PCs while processing the PCMark 10 benchmark.​

Futuremark PCMark 10 - Essentials

Futuremark PCMark 10 - Productivity

Futuremark PCMark 10 - Gaming

Futuremark PCMark 10 - Digital Content Creation

Futuremark PCMark 10 - Extended

PCMark 8

We continue to present PCMark 8 benchmark results (as those have more comparison points) while our PCMark 10 scores database for systems grows in size. 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. These scores are heavily influenced by the CPU in the system.

Futuremark PCMark 8 - Home OpenCL

Futuremark PCMark 8 - Creative OpenCL

Futuremark PCMark 8 - Work OpenCL

3DMark

UL's 3DMark comes with a diverse set of graphics workloads that target different Direct3D feature levels. Correspondingly, the rendering resolutions are also different. We use 3DMark 2.4.4264 to get an idea of the graphics capabilities of the system. In this section, we take a look at the performance of the Intel NUC8i7BEH (Bean Canyon) across the different 3DMark workloads.

3DMark Ice Storm

This workload has three levels of varying complexity - the vanilla Ice Storm, Ice Storm Unlimited, and Ice Storm Extreme. It is a cross-platform benchmark (which means that the scores can be compared across different tablets and smartphones as well). All three use DirectX 11 (feature level 9) / OpenGL ES 2.0. While the Extreme renders at 1920 x 1080, the other two render at 1280 x 720. The graphs below present the various Ice Storm workloads' numbers for different systems that we have evaluated.

UL 3DMark - Ice Storm Workloads

3DMark Cloud Gate

The Cloud Gate workload is meant for notebooks and typical home PCs, and uses DirectX 11 (feature level 10) to render frames at 1280 x 720. The graph below presents the overall score for the workload across all the systems that are being compared.

UL 3DMark Cloud Gate Score

3DMark Sky Diver

The Sky Diver workload is meant for gaming notebooks and mid-range PCs, and uses DirectX 11 (feature level 11) to render frames at 1920 x 1080. The graph below presents the overall score for the workload across all the systems that are being compared.

UL 3DMark Sky Diver Score

3DMark Fire Strike Extreme

The Fire Strike benchmark has three workloads. The base version is meant for high-performance gaming PCs. Similar to Sky Diver, it uses DirectX 11 (feature level 11) to render frames at 1920 x 1080. The Ultra version targets 4K gaming system, and renders at 3840 x 2160. However, we only deal with the Extreme version in our benchmarking - It renders at 2560 x 1440, and targets multi-GPU systems and overclocked PCs. The graph below presents the overall score for the Fire Strike Extreme benchmark across all the systems that are being compared.

UL 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score

3DMark Time Spy

The Time Spy workload has two levels with different complexities. Both use DirectX 12 (feature level 11). However, the plain version targets high-performance gaming PCs with a 2560 x 1440 render resolution, while the Extreme version renders at 3840 x 2160 resolution. The graphs below present both numbers for all the systems that are being compared in this review.

UL 3DMark - Time Spy Workloads

3DMark Night Raid

The Night Raid workload is a DirectX 12 benchmark test. It is less demanding than Time Spy, and is optimized for integrated graphics. The graph below presents the overall score in this workload for different system configurations.

UL 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score

The VRMark Professional Edition v1.2.1701 comes with three rooms. Each room can be run either in desktop or HMD mode, with varying minimum requirements for the same workload. The benchmark results include the average FPS achieved, and a score based on the FPS. A pass or fail indicator is also provided based on whether the average FPS exceeds the required FPS. In this section, we take a look at the performance of the Intel NUC8i7BEH (Bean Canyon) on a comparative basis across the three workloads in desktop mode.

VRMark Orange Room

The Orange Room is meant to test the effectiveness of a system for handling the requirements of the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. The recommended hardware for both VR HMDs should be able to easily achieve the desired target FPS (88.9 fps). However, in the desktop mode, the target performance is 109 fps without any frame drops. Systems benching with an average FPS lesser than that are deemed to have failed the VRMark Orange Room benchmark. The graphs below present the average FPS and score for the different systems being considered today.

UL VRMark - Orange Room

VRMark Cyan Room

The Cyan Room sits between the Orange and Blue rooms in complexity. It is a DirectX 12 benchmark. Similar to the Orange room, the target metrics are 88.9 fps on HMDs and 109 fps on the desktop monitor. The graphs below present the average FPS and score for the different systems being considered today.

UL VRMark - Cyan Room

VRMark Blue Room

The Blue Room is the most demanding of the three workloads. At the time of introduction of VRMark in October 2016, no publicly available system running as sold was able to pass the test. The performance of a system in this benchmark is an indicator of its VR-readiness for future generation of HMDs. Similar to the other workloads, the passing performance metrics are 88.9 fps on HMDs and 109 fps on desktop monitors. The complexity of the workload is due to the higher resolution (5012 x 2880) and additional geometry making it necessary to increase the number of Direct3D API calls. The graphs below present the average FPS and score for the different systems being considered today.

UL VRMark - Blue Room

As expected, the integrated GPU is not VR-capable. However, the Thunderbolt 3 port can be used to hook up a VR-capable eGPU in an eGFX enclosure, if needed.

BAPCo SYSmark 2018 Miscellaneous Performance Metrics
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  • dontlistentome - Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - link

    A few niggles still on my NUC7 -

    1. Firmware upgrades locked you out if you used Bitlocker (as in no rescue key, bye bye everything). At least it now warns you to suspend Bitlocker, but if lenovo can manage these upgrades seamlessly, why can't Intel?
    2. Thunderbolt implementation - seems incomplete as it won't play nice with a lenovo TB3 dock (multiple other machines do) and can't be powered from it (an edge case, I know)
    3. DP/HDMI implementation. Won't sleep my screen correctly so the keep coming on every few minutes. Have to turn them off at the switch.

    Other than that, it does the job but will be waiting a few generations before I upgrade (or will get a Zotac Zen box instead...)
    Reply
  • Badelhas - Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - link

    I also have a Intel Nuc. How can I do a firmware upgrade?
    Cheers
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - link

    If everything is working... do not update.

    Other than that go to intel.co.uk, support, auto driver update or something like that.
    Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Thursday, April 4, 2019 - link

    I can only second that! Updating a NUC without need can result in a "home theater" experience of the unwanted kind. Reply
  • MrCommunistGen - Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - link

    Intel has a download center for drivers and whatnot. You can find it by doing an internet search for Intel Download Center or by just going to downloadcenter dot intel dot com (I'm not sure what the policies are here for posting URLs).

    The simplest way to get all the driver and BIOS updates is likely to run their latest generation update detection tool by clicking "Get started" next to where it says "Automatically update your drivers". This should be visible on the main landing page for the Downloadcenter.

    If you want to do the updates manually, or you feel like the Automatic detection tool missed something you can download and apply the updates manually. To do this you'll need your NUC's model number. For example, I have a 7th Gen i5 NUC, so my model number is: NUC7i5BNH.
    Reply
  • Ratman6161 - Thursday, April 4, 2019 - link

    dontlistentome is talking about a system where the drive has been encrypted with bitlocker. The NUC is no different than any other system in this regard. Reply
  • niva - Friday, April 5, 2019 - link

    Actually it is different, he specifically stated that other systems can handle firmware upgrades while the NUCs can't. Reply
  • Axltech - Wednesday, April 10, 2019 - link

    fairly swift and easy to auto intel driver update app : https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/28425/In... Reply
  • acme64 - Thursday, April 11, 2019 - link

    f7 on the bios Reply
  • mikato - Thursday, April 4, 2019 - link

    Yeah I was waiting for the Zotac ZBox MA551 with Ryzen 5 2400G but that never showed. Reply

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