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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  • kmmatney - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    Looks like similar performance to a GTX 1050? or 1050 Ti? Would have been nice to include one of those cards. Reply
  • Yojimbo - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - link

    The difference between the 1050 Ti and the 1060 is quite large. This Intel chip with AMD graphics has a performance between them, but closer to the 1060 than a 1050 Ti, on average. Of course one would have to look closely at one's use case to decide whether it will run closer to a 1060 or to a 1050 Ti. Reply
  • zodiacfml - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    As usual,pricey. It has a niche though for a powerful desktop system with the machine just behind the monitor.
    Outside that, alternatives are usually cheaper/more powerful at the expense of being slghtly larger than the Intel NUC.
    For my use, I wouldn't hesitate buying a laptop with similar specs attached permanently to a monitor.
    Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - link

    This thing is nice, but too expensive for my taste and wallet. I am waiting for a Ryzen 2400G based ENUC (even newer unit of computing) from AMD! Price it right, keep it quiet, give it at least 3 USB 3 / 3.1 ports and HDMI 2.0b, and they'll sell like hotcakes. Reply
  • Alme - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - link

    Hello. Can someone please recommend which one of these two will work best for this NUC:
    - Samsung 960 EVO MZ-V6E1T0BW - Solid state drive - encrypted - 1 TB - internal - M.2 2280 - PCI Express 3.0 x4 (NVMe) - 256-bit AES
    - Samsung 860 EVO MZ-N6E1T0BW - Solid state drive - encrypted - 1 TB - internal - M.2 2280 - SATA 6Gb/s - buffer: 1 GB - 256-bit AES
    Feel free to recommend something else as well.
    Reply
  • Hixbot - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - link

    Once again I'll point out that noise measurements should be part of all your sff pc reviews. Reply
  • hanselltc - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - link

    Would love to see Ashes of the Benchmarks just for the giggles. Anyway, nice smol product, not my jam. Reply
  • 85739gary - Friday, May 18, 2018 - link

    This little PC gadget is very good, sure, geeks can build something a "bit" higher powered for the same $ or less...it's your call..

    BUY it, use it now..or get all the parts you need and build something similar or better...yawn...
    Reply
  • rosenstand - Sunday, August 26, 2018 - link

    Considering buying this NUC to play GTA V. I’m not a gamer, but have always enjoyed the GTA series (even bought a PS3 console + game when V came out, then a PS4 console + game a year later when the PS4 version became available :-))

    In this review it looks like the NUC will barely run it in 1080p with ultra settings, however there are a couple of YouTube videos showing the Hades Canyon blasting it off with avg 100 FPS at 1080p with almost-ultra settings. One of them does 30-40 FPS at 4K with high settings as well. Are they fake?
    Reply
  • Sirkassad - Saturday, April 20, 2019 - link

    The RAM in your Hades Canon says Kingston HyperX Impact HX432S20IB2K2/16 DDR4
    20-22-22-42 @ 3200 MHz 2x8 GB and yet product pages say the max freq for RAM is 2400MHz. I am getting ready to buy a Hades Canon and would like to get two sticks of 16GB RAM such as: Kingston Technology HyperX Impact 32GB 3200MHz DDR4 CL20 SODIMM Memory HX432S20IBK2/32. Will this work?
    Reply

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