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.

Video Encoding - x264 5.0

Video Encoding - x264 5.0


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


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, till now, been the higher end SKUs. However, with Bay Trail, even the lowly Atom series has gained support for AES-NI. The i5-4250U in the Core-ML320 has AES-NI support. TrueCrypt is a popular open-source disk encryption program which can take advantage of the AES-NI capabilities. The TrueCrypt internal benchmark provides some interesting cryptography-related numbers to ponder. In the graph below, we can get an idea of how fast a TrueCrypt volume would behave in the Core-ML320 and how it would compare with other select PCs. This is a purely CPU feature / clock speed based test. So, we don't expect any difference between the D54250WYK and D54250WYKH in this benchmark.

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). The benchmark takes around 50 photographs and does four stages of computation:

  • Stage 1: Align Photographs
  • 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 Dolphin Emulator benchmark mode results.

Dolphin Emulator Benchmark

Performance Metrics - I Storage & Wireless Networking Credentials
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  • osamabinrobot - Sunday, May 18, 2014 - link

    I just built this unit for myself at work and have been digging it.
  • kgh00007 - Sunday, May 18, 2014 - link

    Just some further information for anyone looking to buy one of these.
    This nuc can actually run 2133MHz RAM (G.Skill Ripjaws) and the TDP can also be increased in the bios or using the Intel Extreme Tunig Utility. Its possible to increase the TDP from 15W to 25W or 30W by adjusting the Sustained Mode Power Limit in the bios. This can also be done dynamically with the Intel XTU and be set to load different TDP's on a per app basis.
    This is pretty cool and improves gaming on the nuc considerably as it allows the iGPU to sustain higher clocks. Temps remain the same, around 80degC, but the fan noise does increase a lot as the fan ramps up. I have it set to increase the TDP to 25W for games but to remain at 15W the rest of the time. As far as I know only the i5 versions of the nuc have these adjustments.
    I'm really happy with my nuc hooked up to the living room TV, its an awesome little machine.

    And mine did come with a power cord!
  • Aikouka - Sunday, May 18, 2014 - link

    Amazon actually has a toggle to switch between units with and without a power cord. When I bought my first i3 Haswell NUC, it came without a power cord, but Amazon was rather generous in giving me a partial refund on it, which was more than enough to buy a cable.
  • ganeshts - Sunday, May 18, 2014 - link

    Thanks for the extra info. Pretty sure readers would love to experiment with this feature. To be frank, I wasn't even aware of this and Intel never advertised in their briefings / brochures.
  • kgh00007 - Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - link

    No worries!
  • skiboysteve - Monday, May 19, 2014 - link

    Wow I am doing this for sure. I have my NUC in a very loud industrial rack.
  • MonkeyPaw - Monday, May 19, 2014 - link

    I have an i5 Haswell Yoga 2, and it even has a "dust cleaning" mode. I haven't had to use it, but my guess is it ramps the fan up to clean out the cooling area. Pretty nice if it actually works.
  • extide - Monday, May 19, 2014 - link

    Typically dust cleaning modes actually run the fans in reverse for a little while.
  • SeanFL - Sunday, May 18, 2014 - link

    Built one of these a couple months back for audio editing and it works great. Quite pleased with the performance and the size is amazing. Went with the Samsung 840 evo msata on a recent build and it's even more impressive.
  • Aikouka - Sunday, May 18, 2014 - link

    Ganesh, what Wi-Fi drivers did you use? I'm curious because I own two i3 NUCs, and while I use the same Intel card in both and the same router (FW V1.0.3.24_1.1.20), the performance is awful. It only connects via 802.11n, and while the performance might be alright for a bit, it usually degrades into 1-5Mbps -- but it doesn't actually transmit anything. I've been tempted to try different drivers, but I just end up getting annoyed by the whole thing and plugging in an Ethernet cable. =P

    On that note, I have noticed some odd issues with the Nighthawk. For example, I use a rather awkward generated password for my WiFi, and I don't feel like typing it in on devices like a PS Vita or a 3DS. So, I use WPS to set it up. Unfortunately, WPS on the Nighthawk seems to wreak havoc on the router's WiFi system as it just becomes incredibly unresponsive after using WPS.

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