Gaming Benchmarks

Intel's integrated GPUs don't have a big name in the gaming community. Once in a while, Intel throws in a surprise. In the Haswell family, CPUs with Iris Pro graphics gave a pleasant surprise to casual gamers. In this section, we will identify whether the Intel Iris Graphics 6100 in the Core i7-5557U can provide an acceptable gaming experience. It will also be interesting to find out how it compares against the HD 6000 in the Core i5-5250U and the HD 5500 inthe Core i7-5500U (BRIX s).

For the purpose of benchmarking, we chose four different games (Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite and DiRT Showdown) at three different quality levels. As someone focusing on HTPCs and multimedia aspects, I rarely get to process gaming benchmarks, even while evaluating GPUs. One of the aspects that I feared was spending lot of time in installing the same games again and again on different PCs under the review scanner. The solution was to go the Steam route. Unfortunately, Steam also likes to keep the game files updated. A quick online search revealed that Steam could make use of an external drive for storing the game executables and downloadable content. With the Steam drive on-the-go use-case being read-heavy, the Corsair Flash Voyager GS USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive (with read speeds of up to 275 MBps) was ideal for use as a portable Steam drive.

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs - Performance Score

Sleeping Dogs - Quality Score

Sleeping Dogs - Extreme Score

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider - Performance Score

Tomb Raider - Quality Score

Tomb Raider - Extreme Score

Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite - Performance Score

Bioshock Infinite - Quality Score

Bioshock Infinite - Extreme Score

DiRT Showdown

DiRT Showdown - Performance Score

DiRT Showdown - Quality Score

DiRT Showdown - Extreme Score

At lower quality levels, the HD 5500 in the Core i7-5500U can sometimes provide marginally better frame rates, but the Iris Graphics 6100 trumps other UCFF PCs in almost all other situations. The only exception is the Core i7-4770R-equipped BRIX Pro that is also equipped with Iris Pro Graphics. Despite belonging to the previous generation, the higher TDP (65W vs. 28W) allows for better GPU performance.However, at the 20W and lower TDP-point / acoustic profile / chassis size, it goes without saying that Iris Graphics 6100 possesses the best gaming credentials.

Performance Metrics - II Networking and Storage Performance
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  • damianrobertjones - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    I have the i5 version along with an 850 evo drive and, seeing as it's there, a Plextor M6e M.2 PCIe drive. The Nuc is quite fast but when it comes to using the Plextor PCIe SSD, while running VMs etc, the performance is really quite poor. We're talking the same speed or less than the 850 drive. (Stats obtained from the Samsung Magician software)

    Heck using video from within a VMWare OS, along with Corel Videostudio, creates stuttering etc. Previously I did the same task with a Surface Pro 3 (i7,8GB) with no such issues.

    Is the M.2. spec simply not ready?
    Reply
  • CaedenV - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    That depends a lot on your software and hardware support. For example, before I was running win10 bare metal on my desktop I was running it in VM, and on my nice big Sandy Bridge i7 desktop it could not play back simple h.264 1080p video smoothly... but trying the same thing on my newer but much more gutless i7 dual core laptop a few months later had pretty much 0 issues. It all depends on the VM platform, the OSs in use, the GPU, the drivers, etc. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    I hear you. I just expected more from the PCIe M.2. drive. It simply 'feels' slow and the speed test returns figures that are nowhere near the performance that it should hit Reply
  • Flunk - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    It might have to do with the controller. Reply
  • extide - Thursday, April 23, 2015 - link

    You'r VMDK's are probably not properly 4K aligned. Reply
  • extide - Thursday, April 23, 2015 - link

    Your* Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, April 24, 2015 - link

    I've moved to an MSI machine with 2x 850 evos. Problem solved and all working fine again. Reply
  • smegma11 - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    I read somewhere to expect great things from the Skylake. The newest chip will open up all 3 data lines to the M.2 where the previous versions don't. I imagine this will help speeds quite a bit. Reply
  • nutternatter34 - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    I have to agree. I tried to use an M.2 as a boot drive and for my software. Where I might not be able to compare many SSDs in general usage, the M.2 directly hampered multi-tasking and had notable visible performance issues. Maybe I expected too much from it but in future I would be very cautious choosing an M.2 drive over something in the 2.5" form factor. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - link

    THANK YOU! Glad that someone's got the same issue.

    From the Samsung Magician software

    Samsung 850 EVO 250GB 2.5"
    SR: 547 SW: 504
    RR: 71807 RW: 64081

    Plextor PX-G128M6e
    SR: 743 SW: 332
    RR: 64558 RW: 47909

    The whole reason for getting one was to have improved performance for my VMs! What's going on? (Not tried to update the Plextor firmware just yet)
    Reply

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