Application and Futuremark Performance

Testing the CompuLab Intense PC is almost an academic exercise; mostly we want to make sure the Intel Core i7-3517UE is performing up to snuff and not being thermally throttled. I've hopped a lot of my desktop benchmarks over to the new mobile suite to keep everything lined up, so there isn't a tremendous amount of comparative data here. Still, you should get a pretty good idea of how the Intense PC stacks up against similar low-noise or no-noise boxes.

Futuremark PCMark 7

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R11.5

Unfortunately these are currently the only comparative results I can offer, but they paint a fairly clear picture. Any system running an SSD is going to perform better in PCMark 7, that's a given, and both Puget Systems boxes are operating off of SSDs. The Lenovo ThinkCentre M92 Tiny is a different beast, offering superior CPU performance with its low-wattage quad-core processor.

  Intense PC Dell XPS 12 (i7-3517U)
3DMark (Ice Storm) 24472 32841
3DMark (Cloud Gate) 2997 3721
x264 HD 5.x Pass 1 21.69 29.83
x264 HD 5.x Pass 2 4.19 5.51

Above are the remaining benchmark results compared against Dell's XPS 12 ultrabook featuring the non-embedded Intel Core i7-3517U. It doesn't look good. While actual core temperatures for the Intense PC are pretty good, I suspect the embedded CPU is throttling more, and/or the BIOS for the Intense PC is keeping the chip from hitting higher thermals. Since the chassis is one big heatsink, the CPU would need to be kept under a certain temperature to avoid actually burning anyone who chooses to use the system. Performance isn't bad, but we're clearly looking at about 20% of the i7-3517U's potential left on the table.

Update: The embedded i7-3517UE actually has a nominal clock of 200MHz less than the standard i7-3517U, so the Intense PC's performance is actually pretty close to where it should be.

Introducing the CompuLab Intense PC User Experience, Power Consumption, and Heat
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  • HisDivineOrder - Sunday, April 21, 2013 - link

    Completely agree.
  • Death666Angel - Monday, April 22, 2013 - link

    I don't see the appeal of this thing for the normal consumer. In a business world where any moving part is a pain because of increased failure, downtime and service hours, I can see a completely fanless enclosure being great and paying a premium for it. For the consumer who wants a quiet HTPC, there are much better enclosures that offer silent fan configurations at better prices and more range in performance. :) I have a slightly modded mITX case where the top-blower CPU heatsink/fan draws cool air from the outside and pushes it out through the 2 sides. I don't hear anything.
    Don't get me wrong, this thing is cool, but I don't think it is worth the price for consumers unless you have a tiny room. :D
  • mgc8 - Saturday, April 20, 2013 - link

    I had a previous version of one of these (the FitPC2) and while small and quiet, it suffered from terrible heat problems -- it basically had to be rebooted once a day since it was locking up hard. As the intended purpose of the device was to serve as a router/gateway, needless to say it had to be replaced with another product. I would've appreciated a more thorough investigation of this device's resilience in 24/7 operation under high network load, as that is one of the most obvious use cases.
  • Intense PC user - Saturday, April 20, 2013 - link

    I guess Phoronix uses this model for more than half year as basis for Intel HD 4000 "Ivy Bridge" benchmarks:
  • HellDiver - Saturday, April 20, 2013 - link

    So is this just a NUC board in a custom case? Specs seem terribly similar.
  • cjs150 - Monday, April 22, 2013 - link

    At moment NUC is an i3 processor not an i7 (although I believe an i5 version is coming out shortly). From experience the i3 runs a bit too hot at idle for my liking (around 50C) unless you ramp up the fan when it becomes a bit too noisy.

    There are very few applications where a completely silent computer is needed (HTPC being the obvious one) I have a completely silent computer which can be run 24/7 but I always worry about heat for the memory
  • zepi - Saturday, April 20, 2013 - link

    How about a comparison with Intel DQ77KB + Akasa Euler?

    We can just hope that Intel releases similar packages for Haswell later this year.
  • danjw - Saturday, April 20, 2013 - link

    With Haswell release only 43 days out, I don't see why anyone would be releasing and Ivy Bridge product now. It just doesn't make any sense to me.
  • kyuu - Sunday, April 21, 2013 - link

    Just because Haswell is getting "launched" in 43 days doesn't mean you'll see products shipping with it immediately after. I'm guessing Haswell will probably be in short supply at first.
  • ViewRoyal - Saturday, April 20, 2013 - link

    So this CompuLab PC is:
    - about the same size as the quad-core Intel Core i7 Mac mini,
    - but it weighs more than the quad-core Intel Core i7 Mac mini,
    - has less connectivity than the Mac mini,
    - has a much less powerful processor than the Mac mini's quad-core Intel Core i7,
    - has less storage than the quad-core Intel Core i7 Mac mini,
    - and it costs MUCH more than the quad-core Intel Core i7 Mac mini.

    On top of that, the CompuLab PC can only run Windows and Linux... the Mac mini can run OS X, and Windows, and Linux.

    Why would anyone want buy this black lump???

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