UL Benchmarks - PCMark and 3DMark

This section deals with a couple of UL Futuremark benchmarks - PCMark 10 and 3DMark. While PCMark evaluates the system as a whole, 3DMark focuses on the graphics capabilities with emphasis on gaming workloads.

PCMark 10

UL's PCMark 10 evaluates computing systems for various usage scenarios (generic / essential tasks such as web browsing and starting up applications, productivity tasks such as editing spreadsheets and documents, gaming, and digital content creation). We benchmarked select PCs with the PCMark 10 Extended profile and recorded the scores for various scenarios. These scores are heavily influenced by the CPU and GPU in the system, though the RAM and storage device also play a part. The power plan was set to Balanced for all the PCs while processing the PCMark 10 benchmark.

Futuremark PCMark 10 - Essentials

Futuremark PCMark 10 - Productivity

Futuremark PCMark 10 - Gaming

Futuremark PCMark 10 - Digital Content Creation

Futuremark PCMark 10 - Extended


UL's 3DMark comes with a diverse set of graphics workloads that target different Direct3D feature levels. Correspondingly, the rendering resolutions are also different. We use 3DMark 2.4.4264 to get an idea of the graphics capabilities of the system. In this section, we take a look at the performance of the Intel NUC11BTMi9 (Beast Canyon) across the different 3DMark workloads.

3DMark Ice Storm

This workload has three levels of varying complexity - the vanilla Ice Storm, Ice Storm Unlimited, and Ice Storm Extreme. It is a cross-platform benchmark (which means that the scores can be compared across different tablets and smartphones as well). All three use DirectX 11 (feature level 9) / OpenGL ES 2.0. While the Extreme renders at 1920 x 1080, the other two render at 1280 x 720. The graphs below present the various Ice Storm worloads' numbers for different systems that we have evaluated.

UL 3DMark - Ice Storm Workloads

3DMark Cloud Gate

The Cloud Gate workload is meant for notebooks and typical home PCs, and uses DirectX 11 (feature level 10) to render frames at 1280 x 720. The graph below presents the overall score for the workload across all the systems that are being compared.

UL 3DMark Cloud Gate Score

3DMark Fire Strike

The Fire Strike benchmark has three workloads. The base version is meant for high-performance gaming PCs. Similar to Sky Diver, it uses DirectX 11 (feature level 11) to render frames at 1920 x 1080. The Extreme version targets 1440p gaming requirements, while the Ultra version targets 4K gaming system, and renders at 3840 x 2160. The graph below presents the overall score for the Fire Strike Extreme and Fire Strike Ultra benchmark across all the systems that are being compared.

UL 3DMark - Fire Strike Workloads

3DMark Time Spy

The Time Spy workload has two levels with different complexities. Both use DirectX 12 (feature level 11). However, the plain version targets high-performance gaming PCs with a 2560 x 1440 render resolution, while the Extreme version renders at 3840 x 2160 resolution. The graphs below present both numbers for all the systems that are being compared in this review.

UL 3DMark - Time Spy Workloads

3DMark Night Raid

The Night Raid workload is a DirectX 12 benchmark test. It is less demanding than Time Spy, and is optimized for integrated graphics. The graph below presents the overall score in this workload for different system configurations.

UL 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score

3DMark Port Royal

UL introduced the Port Royal ray-tracing benchmark as a DLC for 3DMark in early 2019. The scores serve as an indicator of how the system handles ray-tracing effects in real-time.

UL 3DMark Port Royal Score

3DMark CPU Profile Benchmark

UL recently introduced a benchmark to test the multi-threaded capabilities of the CPU in a system. Since gaming workloads are often multi-threaded, it makes sense to include this testing as part of the 3DMark suite. The benchmark routine attempts to perform the simulation of birds / bird-like objects flocking together using as many advanced capabilities as offered by the processor. The workload is configured to run with different number of threads ranging from 1 to 16 (and a single entry for the maximum number of threads allowed in the system).

UL 3DMark - CPU Profile Benchmark

We present the benchmark results for the single and maximum threads case above.

In almost all workloads, the Beast Canyon outscores other systems heavily. In the case of GPU-bound workloads, the tussle between the RTX 2070 in the Ghost Canyon and the RTX 3060 in the Beast Canyon is too close to call.

BAPCo SYSmark 25 Miscellaneous Performance Metrics
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  • meacupla - Thursday, July 29, 2021 - link

    oh wow!
    I didn't think intel would follow up on their extreme NUC lineup, considering how fast they killed some of their other products, like optane, and big/little.
  • Jorgp2 - Thursday, July 29, 2021 - link

    >I didn't think intel would follow up on their extreme NUC lineup, considering how fast they killed some of their other products, like optane, and big/little.


    They're still making both of those.
  • Gasaraki88 - Thursday, August 5, 2021 - link

    Yeah, wth is that guy smoking.
  • SarahKerrigan - Thursday, July 29, 2021 - link

    Intel heterogeneous multicore isn't dead (Alder Lake is going to use it) and neither is Optane (DCPMMs are active products and have a roadmap - admittedly, so did Itanium until Jan 2013...)

    Lakefield is dead. Consumer flagship Optane SSDs are dead.
  • Calin - Friday, July 30, 2021 - link

    Actually, the production of the memory chips used by Optane has been transferred to Micron (out of the Intel/Micron joint venture) and Micron will stop production in a few years.
  • mode_13h - Monday, August 2, 2021 - link

    Intel will just move it somewhere else.
  • powerarmour - Thursday, July 29, 2021 - link

    Intel are clearly moving the goalposts here on what a NUC form factor should be, will the next NUC's be full towers?
  • willis936 - Thursday, July 29, 2021 - link

    Hardly. NUC is SFF desktops. The longest dimension is still shorter than the shortest dimension on mITX. Do you want your desktop to break the laws of physics or is it acceptable to follow them?
  • powerarmour - Thursday, July 29, 2021 - link

    Well, 300W power draw gives us the lovely shoebox, how delightful.
  • notashill - Thursday, July 29, 2021 - link

    Where do you get the longest dimension being shorter than the shortest dimension on mITX? This is very similar in size to some of the smaller ITX cases.

    Beast Canyon is 357 x 189 x 120mm, 8 liters..

    A Dancase A4 SFX is 112 x 205 x 327mm, 7.2 liters.

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