GIGABYTE BRIX Gaming UHD GB-BNi7HG4-950 mini-PC Reviewby Ganesh T S on October 28, 2016 7:30 AM EST
Performance Metrics - I
The GIGABYTE GB-BNi7HG4-950 was evaluated using our standard test suite for mini-PCs targeting the gaming market. Not all benchmarks were processed on all the machines due to updates in our testing procedures. Therefore, the list of PCs in each graph might not be the same. In the first section, we will be looking at SYSmark 2014, as well as some of the Futuremark benchmarks.
BAPCo SYSmark 2014
BAPCo's SYSmark 2014 is an application-based benchmark that uses real-world applications to replay usage patterns of business users in the areas of office productivity, media creation and data/financial analysis. Scores are meant to be compared against a reference desktop (HP ProDesk 600 G1 with a Core i3-4130, 4GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive) that scores 1000 in each of the scenarios. A score of, say, 2000, would imply that the system under test is twice as fast as the reference system.
SYSark 2014 is mostly a test of CPU capabilities. Even though the Core i7-6700HQ in the BRIX Gaming UHD and the Core i7-6770HQ in the Skull Canyon NUC are clocked similarly, the latter is equipped with eDRAM, which represents an additional caching level for compute workloads also. The BRIX also utilizes only one memory slot out of the available two (due to the way our review unit came pre-configured). The use of a SATA drive in the BRIX compare to a PCIe NVMe SSD in the NUC also has some effect on the scores.
Futuremark PCMark 8
PCMark 8 provides various usage scenarios (home, creative and work) and offers ways to benchmark both baseline (CPU-only) as well as OpenCL accelerated (CPU + GPU) performance. We benchmarked select PCs for the OpenCL accelerated performance in all three usage scenarios. These scores are heavily influenced by the CPU and GPU in the system. In these workloads, the BRIX and the NUC are much closer. However, the extremely powerful GPU (GTX 980) in the Zotac ZBOX MAGNUS EN980 earns it top honors in all the tests.
Miscellaneous Futuremark Benchmarks
3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R15
CINEBENCH R15 provides three benchmark modes for evaluation of 3D rendering capabilities - OpenGL, single threaded and multi-threaded. Evaluation of select PCs in all three modes provided us the following results.
As expected, the GTX 980-equipped ZBOX handily wins the OpenGL bench. For the CPU modes, the Skull Canyon NUC outscores the BRIX slightly in the multi-threaded case, likely due to the presence of eDRAM in the former, and the absence of dual-channel memory in the BRIX. The single-threaded scores for the two PCs are similar.
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StevoLincolnite - Friday, October 28, 2016 - linknVidia must be giving these GPU's away. Such a missed opportunity not going with Pascal.
aj654987 - Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - linkAlienware Alpha r2 with the gtx 960 desktop GPU is a better deal than this.
Samus - Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - linkI don't think you can get an i7 in the Alpha r2...not that it really matters for gaming, but the extra horsepower of the i7-6700HQ in the Brix might help its GTX950 creep up on the GTX960 in the Alpha r2.
But I agree, they are similar in almost every other aspect (even size) and the Alpha r2 is cheaper.
setzer - Friday, October 28, 2016 - linkRegarding the last comment about going with the Skull Canyon NUC + External GPU.
I'm not sure that is really a better solution.
It's true that it gives the user the option of adding more graphics power (and easy upgradability), on the other side it also requires buying a discrete graphics card which is not as straight-forward as on desktops. This is because you are restricted on one side by the soldered CPU (which you can not change, thought the Skull Canyon NUC cpu should not be a problem for some time) and on another side by the bandwidth between the system and the external enclosure (just 4 lanes of PCIE 3.0 bandwidth).
This last point makes it hard to figure out on what graphics card is actually the best for your restrictions. So instead of a selection of all the graphics cards up to the power limit of the enclosure you have to figure out which ones do actually offer the best price-performance. I.e of course you can drop a Titan there but will the difference to a GTX 965M (over the 16 lanes of PCIE) be significant?
Regarding this last point, would it be possible to test external enclosures and figure out actual metrics for the performance gains?
wavetrex - Friday, October 28, 2016 - linkI wonder if I can build a house out of these bricks ... excuse me, Brix :)
Joking aside, very few people would know it's an actual computer.
nico_mach - Monday, October 31, 2016 - linkIt's a SQUARE trash can! Progress! Where's the pedal, tho?
hubick - Friday, October 28, 2016 - linkI'm typing this on my Skull Canyon NUC, and have a Razer Core, and having read the benchmarks before buying, the PCIe4x limitation is surprisingly small. IIRC, it's somewhere in the ballpark of 10-15% or so, and that doesn't really change when going from a 980's to a 1080 either. It makes sense when you think about it... you're essentially transferring textures, shaders, and a bunch of vector information to the GPU for rendering... and that will be pretty much constant regardless of if you're rendering the output at 720@30hz or 4K@60hz.
aj654987 - Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - linkwhy would you even bother with that, might as well build an itx for less money and less clutter.
hojnikb - Friday, October 28, 2016 - linkGuys, are there any passive mini pcs coming out with kaby lake ?
TheinsanegamerN - Friday, October 28, 2016 - linkthere are no PCs period with kaby lake yet. kaby lake isnt out yet.