GPU Performance

Integrated GPUs have become quite capable over the last few generations, particularly for 720p and 1080p gaming. In this section, we present a comparison of the performance of the integrated GPUs in the Dragon Canyon and Beast Canyon NUCs.


The DirectX 12-based GFXBench tests from Kishonti are cross-platform, and available all the way down to smartphones, so it is not too difficult for modern integrated GPUs. We processed the offscreen versions of the 'Aztec Ruins' benchmark.

GFXBench 'Aztec Ruins' Offscreen Benchmark
(Frame Rate (fps) - Higher is Better)
  Intel NUC12DCMi9
(Dragon Canyon)
Intel NUC11BTMi9
(Beast Canyon)
Normal (1080p) 67.61 63
High (1440p) 23.77 21.92

There is no significant difference in the iGPU performance for the 'Aztec Ruins' DX12 benchmark between the Dragon Canyon NUC and the Beast Canyon NUC.

UL 3DMark

Four different workload sets were processed in 3DMark - Fire Strike, Time Spy, Night Raid, and Wild Life.

UL 3DMark Benchmarks
(Performance Scores - Higher is Better)
  Intel NUC12DCMi9
(Dragon Canyon)
Intel NUC11BTMi9
(Beast Canyon)
Fire Strike Extreme 1211 1104
Fire Strike Ultra 596 547
Time Spy Performance 809 802
Time Spy Extreme 392 370
Night Raid Performance 12441 10975
Wild Life Performance 6406 5868
Wild Life Extreme 1792 1667

There is little to choose between the two processors when it comes to gaming. In any case, most users of the Dragon Canyon NUCs would probably utilize a discrete GPU to add gaming prowess to the system.

System Performance Miscellaneous Aspects and Concluding Remarks
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  • thestryker - Thursday, February 24, 2022 - link

    Thanks for the preview, and looking forward to the rest of the review. While looking to verify which chipset was used I noticed the link to specs in the article's specs table goes to the 11th, not 12th gen ark page.

    It's interesting to see some of the drawbacks of using the desktop platform over the laptop one. Of course end users could likely replace these CPUs with Raptor Lake which comes out later this year rather than having to replace the whole element card as would otherwise be the case. I'm also a big fan of them putting 10g on this one with overall minimal price increase.

    Z690 is capable of bifurcation so I wonder what the reasoning for omitting it is.
  • Interu wa shinde iru - Friday, March 4, 2022 - link

    so this is intel's new marketing strategy, take it to the forums!
  • Dug - Friday, March 11, 2022 - link

    There's no room would be my guess for no bifurcation.
  • Operandi - Thursday, February 24, 2022 - link

    This thing a cool idea in concept but is awful in execution.

    They are making their own 100% proprietary form factor and they can't beat legacy existing iTX solutions in a performance per volume comparison ahd have to use off the shelf notebook cooling solutions and just a bunch of random fans pushing hot air out of the chassis? If they have complete control over where components are going to placed and the size, shape of the form factor they can come up with something smarter than this.

    I would like to see large passive heatsinks for the CPU, chipset and whatever else needs cooling on the 'compute board' and utilizing a front to back or top bottom (depending on how the case is designed / shaped) in a push - pull cooling configuration with large 92, 120, 140mm fans depending on use case. This is such a lazy, garbage design and a wasted potential for better form factor which the industry really needs.
  • lazarpandar - Thursday, February 24, 2022 - link

    This is 100% my reaction. The whole removal of the motherboard is cool but the way they've implemented it offers zero benefit. What are we supposed to take away from this lol
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, February 24, 2022 - link

    Cool. People will still buy it.

    My only annoyance is not knowing if you can use a 12th gen compute unit in the 9th gen chassis.
  • Operandi - Thursday, February 24, 2022 - link

    Which people? The ones big into buying overpriced garbage? 'Cool' and good for them I guess.
  • Samus - Friday, February 25, 2022 - link

    Yeah...I see these things just FLYING off the shelves.
  • lazarpandar - Friday, February 25, 2022 - link

    What specifically did you think was cool about his post
  • arashi - Saturday, February 26, 2022 - link

    Probably the part where his employer's name appeared.

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