Networking and Storage Performance

Networking and storage are two major aspects which influence our experience with any computing system. This section presents results from our evaluation of these aspects in the GIGABYTE GB-BKi7HA-7500. 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.

Futuremark PCMark 8 Storage Bench - Score

Futuremark PCMark 8 Storage Bench - Bandwidth

The combination of the CPU (Core i7-7500U) and the PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD (Samsung SSD 950 Pro) ensures that the GB-BKi7HA-7500 comes out on top in both the storage bench score and the storage bandwidth metrics for the PCMark 8 storage workloads.

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 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.

Wi-Fi TCP Throughput

In the UDP case, we try to transfer data at the highest rate possible for which we get less than 1% packet loss.

Wi-Fi UDP Throughput (< 1% Packet Loss)

The 1x1 802.11ac adapter proves to be a weak link when compared with PCs such as the Intel NUC6i5SYK. We would have definitely preferred a 2x2 WLAN configuration for a flagship BRIX like the GB-BKi7HA-7500.

Performance Metrics - II HTPC Credentials
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  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    interesting idea, but for the cash I'd rather get the intel box with iris graphics. $500 is too much for a box o badly hamstrung in the GPU department, especially if the iris kaby lake intel NUCs are around the $500 price. Reply
  • niva - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    Can you please point out where one can find a Kaby Lake Intel NUC with Iris for the same price, or less? We will be eternally grateful! Reply
  • gigahertz20 - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    @niva The new Intel NUC Kaby Lake i7 version will be out end of this month. Right now you can preorder it on several websites. The website below has it for preorder for $521 and on their website it says they are expecting to receive 190 units on March 31st. Here is a link to the page on shopblt.com, http://www.shopblt.com/item/intel-boxnuc7i7bnh-box... Reply
  • gigahertz20 - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    I'm waiting for the new Kaby Lake Intel NUCs. Specifically the NUC7i7BNH model, it's got 2x2 802.11ac WLAN unlike this Gigabyte BRIX and hopefully the fan isn't as loud as this one either. The UEFI Bios is always pretty comprehensive on the Intel NUCs as well. Amazon is selling the i3 version but not the Kaby Lake i7 version yet, I heard sometime from March through May is when the i7 NUC should show up on Amazon/Newegg. If you are looking to buy a UCFF PC, there is no reason I can think of to get this BRIX when the Intel NUC will have it beat plus you get Iris Graphics. It will be a no brainer. Reply
  • CSMR - Saturday, March 18, 2017 - link

    The NUC7i7BNH does look good.

    I think with any powerful machine in such a small form factor you have to mod it if you want it to be quiet.

    The last Iris Pro/Plus device in a similar form factor is the Brix BXi7-5775. I using this, and cut open the top to put a larger quiet fan in. It's great, fast and quiet.
    Reply
  • bill44 - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    "However, GIGABYTE has integrated a LSPCon and ensured that the lack of native support is not a problem for the GB-BKi7HA-7500."

    Unfortunately, LSPCon is a big problem. It's not capable of playing 3D FramePacked material with latest Kodi when HDMI 2.0 is used as output. Requires native HDMI 1.4.
    http://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=266316
    Reply
  • mooninite - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    This won't be a problem much longer. 3D TVs are going away. Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    I'd argue that televisions in general are on a slow decline as well. Certainly 3D TV was something of a niche/fad that didn't gain the widespread sales it needed to take off in the late 2000's after making its return from the grave. At this point, since TVs are waning anyway as a entertainment source (current models sold are larger, but there are fewer of them per household and the trend seems to point generally downward for the future), 3D variants don't seem like they have a chance of surviving. Though I think it's likely 3D projection will be resurrected yet again in the future and maybe next time around the technology will make it practical, I can't see that happening soon while many of us remember the last flop and would be cynical about another attempt. It is also unlikely to take the form of a conventional consumption device like a television since, by the time it's forgotten and brought back as a new idea, we'll be consuming content differently. Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, March 16, 2017 - link

    I have a Samsung 3D tv from 2011, it's gimmicky but still fun for certain movies. At least it has the active shutter glasses (that I feel work better than the filter glasses at theaters that give me a headache) Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, March 17, 2017 - link

    Oh yeah, its cool tech for sure! It just didn't take off like it would have needed to for it to get the broad support it required to survive past more than an iteration or two of hardware from most companies. In fact, with as hard as it fell, I was surprised there were a few products that continued to support some form of 3D like Nintendo's New 3DS even well after it was clear 3D wasn't a thing anymore. Reply

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