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. This is simply a test of CPU performance. As expected, the configurations based on the Core i5-5250U are not as powerful as the Core i7-based ones. The effect of faster memory is almost non-existent. The slightly higher burst frequency of the Core i5-5250U (2.7 GHz) compared to the Core i5-4250U (2.6 GHz) help the NUC5i5RYK take a slight lead over the corresponding Haswell NUC.

Video Encoding - x264 5.0 - Pass 1

Video Encoding - x264 5.0 - Pass 2

7-Zip

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

Results in the compression benchmark are similar to what we observed for 3D rendering - Broadwell-U doesn't provide too much benefit over Haswell-U except when burst frequencies play a major role. This is understandable - 14nm helps sustain higher clock rates for the same power consumption.

TrueCrypt

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 Core i5-4200H in the BXi5G-760 does have AES-NI support. TrueCrypt, a popular open-source disk encryption program 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 Intel NUC5i5RYK and how it would compare with other select PCs. This is a purely CPU feature / clock speed based test.

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

The results show that the faster DRAM helps despite increased latency. GPU acceleration proves beneficial in cutting down the time taken for the second stage considerably.

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. This is again a test of the CPU capabilities, and the Core i7-based models obviously trump the Core i5-based ones.

Dolphin Emulator Benchmark

Performance Metrics - I Gaming Benchmarks
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  • seanleeforever - Monday, February 23, 2015 - link

    true, i suppose if your requirement is to play 4K UHD video no matter what encoding used, then you really have to step up to a faster processor. Reply
  • duploxxx - Monday, February 23, 2015 - link

    fixed with carrizo which will launch pritty soon. Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link

    I must be the only person who is still using an Atom 330 from god-knows-how-many-years-ago.
    It's slow and it sucks.

    But with a Broadcom Crystal HD, it does *everything* I have asked of it, which is maintain my library and playback movies.
    One day I will upgrade... full-fledged Windows Tablets have now hit the $100 price point, you would think I could get a full blown Atom powered HTPC for half that, right? As it doesn't include a screen? Hahaha. Wrong.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link

    Yeah - I just bought a Winbook 10" tablet for $149 at Microcenter. Specs: 10" IPS screen, 32GB "SSD", 2GM RAM, Win 8.1., USB and mini HDMI port. Runs movies great, and great for internet browsing, runs my programming environment, and can even run Minecraft (with optifine). I have both an Android tablet (with high density display) and an iPad4, and I can't really say the display on the Winbook as any worse - pixel size is fine. I ended up selling my Android tablet, and would sell my iPad if the rest of the family would let me. This $149 tablet blows them both away. It could easily be an HTPC with a blue tooth keyboard and mouse. It's doesn't compare to a Core i5 in speed, but it's fast enough. Reply
  • Antronman - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link

    A $728 dollar build is easily going to fit the A10-7850k

    The only advantage the NUC poses is power draw and operation volume.
    Reply
  • Gadgety - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link

    For an HTPC which also would be used for light gaming, then I believe an AMD A8-7600 or the Carrizo version, in a passively cooled case is better than these Intel offerings. Mainly from a cost and size standpoint, as the Intel system would need a graphics card. For just movie/TV kind of usage then I believe the Intel offering handles the 23.976 better than AMD. Reply
  • yankeeDDL - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link

    Carrizo will have full H.265 support in hardware. Usually that makes just the world of difference in terms of efficiency. Reply
  • BlueBlazer - Saturday, February 21, 2015 - link

    But for Carrizo, does not mention support for VP9 (used by Google TV) or 10-bit H.265. Reply
  • Teknobug - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link

    In my experience, yes and no, enough power to play videos but hardly enough umph to do anything else. I tested an A4 5000, A6 1450, A8 5545M, A10 5750M and A10 7300, the A10's run hot but has a good enough GPU for low-mid range gaming and the lower end AMD's get beat out by Celeron N28** and Pentium N3530 and even the A8 gets beat out by i3's. Reply
  • Samus - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link

    The only downside of AMD htpc's is obviously higher power consumption. It will simply need more cooling. That may be negligible to you if a near silent fan in a quality case with proper ventilation is part of your build.

    I personally use a passive cooled shuttle j1900-based htpc. It has no moving parts, not even a fan. That was important to me because my TV room is dead silent... and I paid dearly for a clean amp to have no speaker hiss so having no fan noise is priceless.

    People with a projector or less demanding requirements should save their money and just build an inexpensive AMD htpc.
    Reply

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