GIGABYTE GB-BXi7H-5500 Broadwell BRIX Reviewby Ganesh T S on January 29, 2015 7:00 AM EST
Networking and Storage Performance
We have recently started devoting a separate section to analyze the storage and networking credentials of the units under review. 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.
Surprisingly, the combination of the Core i7-4500U and Samsung's SSD 840 EVO delivers best-in-class results. The same SSD (albeit, with an earlier firmware version) benchmarked lower even in the BRIX Pro. Of course, the SSD 840 EVO is having trouble with the old data read speeds issue - The above results are not recommending the 840 EVO in any way, but just presenting what a fresh SSD 840 EVO can achieve in conjunction with the GB-BXi7H-5500.
On the networking side, we restricted ourselves to the evaluation of the WLAN component. Our standard test router is the Netgear R7000 Nighthawk configured with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks. The router is placed approximately 20 ft. away, separated by a drywall (as in a typical US building). A wired client (Zotac ID89-Plus) is connected to the R7000 and serves as one endpoint for iPerf evaluation. The PC under test is made to connect to either the 5 GHz (preferred) or 2.4 GHz SSID and iPerf tests are conducted for both TCP and UDP transfers. It is ensured that the PC under test is the only wireless client for the Netgear R7000. We evaluate total throughput for up to 32 simultaneous TCP connections using iPerf and present the highest number in the graph below.
In the UDP case, we try to transfer data at the highest rate possible for which we get less than 1% packet loss.
The WLAN performance is good, considering that the Intel AC3160 is a 1x1 802.11ac solution with a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 433 Mbps. We are quite happy to see GIGABYTE discarding the Realtek 802.11ac solution. That said, the use of an Intel AC7260 or AC7265 2x2 solution or a Broadcom BCM4352-based WLAN card would have been even better. On the wired networking side, it is disappointing to see GIGABYTE avoid an Intel GbE LAN chipset such as the i217-V. Instead, we have a Realtek chipset (which doesn't offload the CPU as much as the Intel i21x when it comes to processing network traffic).