Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK Mini PC Review: Palm-Sized And Powerful

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Skull Canyon NUC Cinebench And 3DMark Performance

Another prime example of a usage model that can benefit from the extra on-board graphics horsepower, combined with the strong quad-core CPU of Intel's NUC6i7KYK, would be content creation. Here we'll look at both the CPU and graphics throughput of the Skull Canyon NUC in professional 3D rendering workloads with the Cinebench R15 benchmark.

Cinebench R11.5
3D Rendering on the CPU and GPU
Based on Maxon Cinema 4D software, this test uses a 3D scene and polygon and texture manipulation to assess GPU and CPU performance. We ran the Main Processor Performance (CPU) test, which builds a still scene containing about 2,000 objects, for a total polygon count above the 300,000 mark. Here we're focusing strictly on software rendering on the CPU and it's heavily taxing on this one aspect of system performance, both with multithreaded and single-threaded rendering.

Skull Canyon Cinebench

Skull Canyon Cinebench OGL
The Skull Canyon NUC ranked high in both the CPU and OpenGL test modules of Cinebench, competing with the likes of the Alienware Alpha, surprisingly and absolutely blowing out the previous-gen Gigabyte Brix Pro, which is based on lower-end Iris Pro 5200 graphics. The OpenGL score here is especially strong, showing the Iris Pro Graphics 580 core in the Core i7-6770HQ about on par with a lower-end discrete mobile GPU like the GeForce GTX 860M

Futuremark 3DMark Fire Strike
Simulated Gaming Performance

Futuremark’s graphically intense 3DMark Fire Strike is designed specifically for gaming PCs. It has both Normal and Extreme modes: Standard runs at 1920x1080, while Extreme runs at 2560x1440 and is intended for high end gaming PCs.The benchmark uses tessellation, ambient occlusion, volume illumination, and a high quality depth of field filter. We tested the Intel Skull Canyon NUC on the Standard preset.

Skull Canyon 3DMark

This time the tables turned a bit on the NUC6i7KYK, and though it's markedly faster than its previous generation brethren, performance-wise it's graphics performance is not in the same class as a discrete mobile GPU like the GeForce GTX 860M in the Alienware Alpha. Here we're looking at shader effects, tessellation, volume illumination and other features not used in Cinebench, so the graphics workload bar is raised significantly. Regardless, looking at the graphics scores, the Skull Canyon NUC offers roughly a 26% performance advantage over the next fastest NUC in our test group.

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