Storage and Networking Performance

Storage and networking are two major aspects which influence our experience with any computing system. This section presents results from our evaluation of these aspects in the ASRock 4X4 BOX-4800U. 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 1TB Crucial P5 SSD in the Frost Canyon NUC manages to provide higher storage bandwidth compared to the 512GB DRAM-less Patriot P300 in the 4X4 BOX-4800U, but the storage subsystem scores are fairly close to each other.

On the networking side, we restricted ourselves to the evaluation of the WLAN component. Our standard test router is the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 RAX120 configured with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks. The router is placed approximately 11 ft. away with a direct line-of-sight to the PC under test. A wired client (Zotac MI553, with an Akitio T3-10G NBASE-T Thunderbolt 3 adapter) is connected to the 5GbE port of the RAX120 and serves as one endpoint for iperf evaluation.

We first left the 5GHz network at default (meaning, no DFS), and the 4X4 BOX-4800U connected with the following parameters,

A script to run iPerf3 with 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 parallel streams between the 4X4 BOX-4800U and the Zotac ZBOX MI553 was processed - the first set for TX alone, followed by another set for RX, and finally a third set with bidirectional traffic.

The RAX120 can be explicitly configured to connect over a DFS channel. This works in the absence of any radar presence in the vicinity. In such a scenario, the 4X4 BOX-4800U connected with the following parameters,

The iPerf3 script was processed again and delivered the following result.

With DFS support, we can expected around 1.28 Gbps of best-case throughput via the AX200 in the 4X4 BOX-4800U. The table below presents the iPerf3 benchmark results obtained in the above testing scenario.

Wireless Bandwidth - TCP Traffic
(iPerf3 Throughput in Gbps)
Stream
Count
80 MHz Wi-Fi 6 (Non-DFS) 160 MHz Wi-Fi 6 (DFS)
TX RX TX RX
1 0.897 - 1.259 -
2 0.893 - 1.242 -
4 0.868 - 1.286 -
8 0.862 - 1.299 -
16 0.876 - 1.294 -
1 - 0.695 - 0.908
2 - 0.697 - 1.027
4 - 0.698 - 1.154
8 - 0.701 - 1.211
16 - 0.701 - 1.262
1 0.652 0.153 1.183 0.045
2 0.612 0.208 1.020 0.185
4 0.451 0.342 1.089 0.152
8 0.207 0.541 0.940 0.298
16 0.403 0.383 0.815 0.421

The numbers presented above are slightly lesser than the average segment bandwidths noted, as the data in the graph is computed from the network interface's counters, while iPerf reports results based only on the traffic sent by it alone.

Miscellaneous Performance Metrics HTPC Credentials - I
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  • philehidiot - Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - link

    I've been drinking, it's 1900 and I've only eaten breakfast today so bear with me.

    I'm just astonished that we're now using 64GB DDR4 to eliminate any chance bottlenecking. My last system had 24GB DDR3 and I'm now on 16GB DDR4 with no memory concerns.

    As for *hic* SFF HTPC use, AMD has driver issues. I once said to a guy who deals in GPGPU stuff that "I don't have enough experience in drivers or coding to be able to say whether AMD's drivers are good or bad" and his response was "that's the same problem AMD have". If I'm using a PC for relaxing, having to debug or troubleshoot is not ideal. It's a shame, as noted in the conclusion here, that QA is often done on Intel systems and AMD don't get a look-in. Hopefully, as AMD become profitable and more performant they'll be able to convince people to QA on their hardware as well.

    They definitely need to sort out their drivers and assess the OEM support for other hardware. It's a sad fact that, since I dropped Intel for AMD (both CPU and GPU), I've had more crashes in a month than in years of Intel/Nvidia systems. I've lost more time to lost work than when I was using Windows 98 and CTRL+S after every change is back to being automatic.

    A few months ago I was trying to get 4K working on Netflix and their website specified only Nvidia card support or Intel iGPU decode support. Their support staff had never heard of the issue and so I went through the codecs supported by AMD and pointed out at least their hardware spec page should mention AMD once??? The guy couldn't help so he took it as a comment to escalate higher.

    /ramble. I need crisps.
    Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - link

    Got a secondary AMD rig that is 10+ years old and stays online for weeks at a time without a crash.

    Still runs games just fine, the more modern titles that are heavier threaded tend to run much better on the old Phenom 2 x6 and paired up with the Radeon RX 580 is a pretty capable 1080P rig.
    Will upgrade it when it's useless.
    Reply
  • YB1064 - Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - link

    $900 is a bit too rich for my blood.

    BTW, what happened to the latest RTX 3xxx review? Did you guys give up on it?
    Reply
  • Makaveli - Thursday, November 26, 2020 - link

    Apparently you didn't get the memo. Reply
  • fcth - Friday, November 27, 2020 - link

    No explanation as to the delay (originally it was related to the fires in California, but it sounded like they were past that), but Ryan said a couple days ago that they are still getting caught up: https://twitter.com/RyanSmithAT/status/13317467171... Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - link

    ...and Intel's driver support for Intel Nucs is hardly anything to scream about. Reply
  • dontlistentome - Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - link

    Took Intel an age (over a year) to fix the BIOS updater on systems with Bitlocker - would fail to suspend the encryption so you'd be left with a machine that wouldn't boot, with a locked drive. Hope you kept the recovery key somewhere accessible. Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, November 26, 2020 - link

    OMG I remember that bug, the worst part was there was no way to clone a drive to upgrade the SSD because you couldn't suspend bitlocker so you had to decrypt the drive which takes hours in some cases. 3-4 hour project just to upgrade an SSD... Reply
  • Yorgos - Thursday, November 26, 2020 - link

    It took intel 3 or 4 years to fix the N2230 driver on linux. Reply
  • bananaforscale - Thursday, November 26, 2020 - link

    I remember when Atoms first came and the NM10 chipset. It had crap support on Linux (didn't support resolutions beyond 800x600 for a while). Then there's Asus Transformer Book that has Intel hardware that's only supported under 32 bit Windows, so no upgrading to 64 bit (even if it would've been a bit silly in that particular case as it only had 2GB RAM). Linux is right out. Reply

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