The Intel NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon) was reviewed in late March, and emerged as one of the most powerful gaming PCs in its form-factor class. Our conclusion was that the PC offered gaming performance equivalent to that of a system with a GPU between the NVIDIA GTX 960 and GTX 980. We received feedback from our readers on the games used for benchmarking being old, and the compared GPUs being dated. In order to address this concern, we spent the last few weeks working on updating our gaming benchmarks suite for gaming systems / mini-PCs. With the updated suite in hand, we put a number of systems through the paces. This article presents the performance of the Hades Canyon NUC with the latest drivers in recent games. We also pulled in the gaming benchmark numbers from a couple of systems still in our review queue in order to give readers an idea of the performance of the Hades Canon NUC as compared to some of the other contemporary small-form factor gaming machines.

Introduction

The gaming benchmark suite used to evaluate the Hades Canyon NUC in our launch review was dated and quite limited in its scope. Games such as Sleeping Dogs and Bioshock Infinite are no longer actively considered by consumers looking to purchase gaming systems. In addition, our suite did not have any DirectX 12 game. In order to address these issues, we set out to identify some modern games for inclusion in our gaming benchmarks. The intent was to have a mix of games and benchmarks that could serve us well for the next couple of years.

The updated gaming benchmark suite has both synthetic and real-world workloads. Futuremark's synthetic benchmarks give a quick idea of the prowess of the GPU component in a system. We process and present results from all the standard workloads in both 3DMark (v 2.4.4264) and VRMark (v 1.2.1701). Real-world use-cases are represented by six different games:

  • Civlization VI (DX12)
  • Dota 2
  • F1 2017
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War
  • Far Cry 5

Most system reviews take a handful of games and process them at one resolution / quality settings for comparison purposes. Recently, we have seen many pre-built systems coming out with varying gaming capabilities. Hence, it has become imperative to give consumers an idea of how a given system performs over a range of resolutions and quality settings for each game. With our updated suite, we are able to address this aspect.

In addition to re-evaluating the Hades Canyon NUC, we also processed the new suite on the Zotac ZBOX MAGNUS EN1080K and the ZBOX MAGNUS EK71080, as well as the Skull Canyon NUC (NUC6i7KYK). We are also pulling in the numbers that were recorded for a couple of upcoming reviews (the ASRock DeskMini Z370 GTX1060, and the Shuttle XPC Gaming Cube SZ270R9). Before looking at the details of the new benchmarks and the numbers obtained, a summary of the specifications of the different systems is presented in the comparison table below.

Comparative PC Configurations
Aspect Intel NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon)
CPU Intel Core i7-8809G Intel Core i7-8809G
GPU Radeon RX Vega M GH Graphics (4 GB HBM2)
Intel UHD Graphics 630
Radeon RX Vega M GH Graphics (4 GB HBM2)
Intel UHD Graphics 630
RAM Kingston HyperX Impact HX432S20IB2K2/16 DDR4
20-22-22-42 @ 3200 MHz
2x8 GB
Kingston HyperX Impact HX432S20IB2K2/16 DDR4
20-22-22-42 @ 3200 MHz
2x8 GB
Storage Intel Optane SSD 800p SSDPEK1W120GA
(118 GB; M.2 Type 2280 PCIe 3.0 x2 NVMe; Optane)
Intel SSD 545s SSDSCKKW512G8
(512 GB; M.2 Type 2280 SATA III; Intel 64L 3D TLC)
Intel Optane SSD 800p SSDPEK1W120GA
(118 GB; M.2 Type 2280 PCIe 3.0 x2 NVMe; Optane)
Intel SSD 545s SSDSCKKW512G8
(512 GB; M.2 Type 2280 SATA III; Intel 64L 3D TLC)
Wi-Fi Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
(2x2 802.11ac - 866 Mbps)
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
(2x2 802.11ac - 866 Mbps)
Price (in USD, when built) $999 (Barebones)
$1617 (with SSD, and RAM, as configured / No OS)
$999 (Barebones)
$1617 (with SSD, and RAM, as configured / No OS)
Futuremark 3DMark
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  • wr3zzz - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    I guess the target demo of these systems are intended for those who are either space or aesthetic constraint of a traditional HTPC form factor. For the former NUC seems serious lacking in value proposition and for the latter these units as stand just don't pass the living room eye test. Reply
  • HStewart - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    I think the main target of the i870XG cpu module is for laptops and not desktops - but it can be used in HTPC form factor.. but keep in mind - where Intel aim its performance - between 1050 and 1060.

    It this article, the closest system had a 1060 GPU but a Six core factor.

    I have found with my Dell XPS 15 2in1, that the CPU is quite fast one but so far I am not sure about the GPU.

    I believe we not see the real potential of this kind of NUC - until Intel releases a version with Artic Sound GPU. Even though it does the job - I feel the AMD GPU is only temporary.
    Reply
  • eva02langley - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    Well, I think AMD might have wanted to keep their Vega trump card for their own APUs, which I believe is the right thing to do from business standpoint.

    Anyway, another Intel attempt that comes short of anything except just a proof of concept.
    Reply
  • sing_electric - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    If that's the case, then we haven't seen AMD's solution here.

    Intel's "G" chips with Vega graphics have HBM2 memory on-package, while AMD's APUs just use system memory. That certainly has cost (and power) advantages, but it also means the APUs don't perform nearly this well, even under ideal circumstances. (On top of that, it looks like a lot of OEMs are using single-channel DDR, and sometimes not even at a high frequency, on their Ryzen APU systems, which
    Reply
  • sing_electric - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    *REALLY kills performance. Reply
  • only1jv - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    Will there be a review of the DeskMini GTX 1080? I know this article mentions the GTX1060 model but why not the GTX1080?

    Now I'm really curious to know how the ASRock GTX1080 would stack up against the Zotac ZBOX EN1080K
    Reply
  • darkos - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    why are there no flight simulation tests included? eg: prepar3d or fsx or x-plane ? Reply
  • s3cur3 - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    If an X-Plane benchmark is something the Anandtech editorial team would be interested in, you can contact me via the email in my profile. The numbers might be more useful after our transition to Vulkan, though. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - link

    Our website accounts don't have profiles - can you ping ian@anandtech.com. I'd like to see what we can do. Reply
  • bernstein - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    interesting product! finally a performance competitive SoC gaming (or 3d work) rig from intel!! just imagine the possibilities if they used coffee lake + vega 64!

    however the a price/performance ratio on gpu limited tasks :
    - compared to a Shuttle XPC Gaming Cube is abysmal
    - compared to a Skull Canyon NUC is phenomenal
    so while expensive, it's certainly less overpriced than previous intel gaming NUC offerings...
    Reply

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