BAPCo SYSmark 2018

The Intel NUC9i9QNX (Ghost Canyon) was evaluated using our Fall 2018 test suite for small-form factor PCs. In the first section, we will be looking at SYSmark 2018.

BAPCo's SYSmark 2018 is an application-based benchmark that uses real-world applications to replay usage patterns of business users in the areas of productivity, creativity, and responsiveness. The 'Productivity Scenario' covers office-centric activities including word processing, spreadsheet usage, financial analysis, software development, application installation, file compression, and e-mail management. The 'Creativity Scenario' represents media-centric activities such as digital photo processing, AI and ML for face recognition in photos and videos for the purpose of content creation, etc. The 'Responsiveness Scenario' evaluates the ability of the system to react in a quick manner to user inputs in areas such as application and file launches, web browsing, and multi-tasking.

Scores are meant to be compared against a reference desktop (the SYSmark 2018 calibration system, a Dell Optiplex 5050 tower with a Core i3-7100 and 4GB of DDR4-2133 memory to go with a 128GB M.2 SATA III SSD). The calibration system scores 1000 in each of the scenarios. A score of, say, 2000, would imply that the system under test is twice as fast as the reference system.

SYSmark 2018 - Productivity

SYSmark 2018 - Creativity

SYSmark 2018 - Responsiveness

SYSmark 2018 - Overall

Systems equipped with 65W+ TDP desktop processors get higher scores in most workloads, though only the DeskMini Z370 manages an higher overall rating compared to the NUC9i9QNX. The surprising result is the responsiveness score for the two Ghost Canyon configurations - having the Optane drive talk directly to the CPU without the DMI bottleneck makes the system significantly more responsive.

SYSmark 2018 also adds energy measurement to the mix. A high score in the SYSmark benchmarks might be nice to have, but, potential customers also need to determine the balance between power consumption and the efficiency of the system. For example, in the average office scenario, it might not be worth purchasing a noisy and power-hungry PC just because it ends up with a 2000 score in the SYSmark 2014 SE benchmarks. In order to provide a balanced perspective, SYSmark 2018 also allows vendors and decision makers to track the energy consumption during each workload. In the graphs below, we find the total energy consumed by the PC under test for a single iteration of each SYSmark 2018 workload. For reference, the calibration system consumes 5.36 Wh for productivity, 7.71 Wh for creativity, 5.61 Wh for responsiveness, and 18.68 Wh overall.

SYSmark 2018 - Productivity Energy Consumption

SYSmark 2018 - Creativity Energy Consumption

SYSmark 2018 - Responsiveness Energy Consumption

SYSmark 2018 - Overall Energy Consumption

The NUC9i9QNX is hobbled slightly by the power-hungry Optane drive and high-TDP discrete GPU, making it approach the other desktop CPU-based systems in the list when the overall energy consumption is considered. Compared to a x16 configuration, operating the GPU at x8 results in lowered energy consumption for the SYSmark 2018 workloads.

Setup Notes and Platform Analysis UL Benchmarks - PCMark, 3DMark, and VRMark


View All Comments

  • timecop1818 - Thursday, April 16, 2020 - link

    Really bad selection of pictures. Did you not actually have a unit with you when reviewing? There's no external shots, there's no pics of the board/GPU connected together, there's no pics of rear backplane with ports/whatever, basically no useful info. I clicked through the gallery and I have no idea how big this thing is, or how the GPU fits into the picture, or anything else. Even "setup notes" page shows nothing useful. Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, April 16, 2020 - link

    The chassis gallery on the 1st page shows the fully assembled system with the rear IO ports visible and gives a decent visual idea of how big the system is. Reply
  • timecop1818 - Thursday, April 16, 2020 - link

    Oh hey, I see the stuff now. There's separate galleries throughout the article, for some reason I thought there was only one per page, and the 1st page only showed disassembled cpu module so I thought that was it. Thanks for pointing it out. Reply
  • FireSnake - Thursday, April 16, 2020 - link

    Based on this:
    they are not getting any money from me!
    For a loooong looong time (those includd too).
  • bug77 - Thursday, April 16, 2020 - link

    It's a good thing you don't get hung up on details like proof and stuff. Guilty until proven innocent, eh? (And yes, I know history doesn't work in their favor.) Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, April 16, 2020 - link

    Ian doesn't seem like the person to throw around baseless accusations. Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, April 16, 2020 - link

    The tweet has been misinterpreted and now taken a completely unintended shape of its own. Ian plans to clarify the usage of the word 'incentive' in the context in an upcoming video / post.

    FWIW, if anyone believe AMD doesn't offer incentives to its partners (of a type similar to what Intel does, and what is completely legal), then the person has no idea of how the technology industry / silicon vendors operate.

    If anyone thinks the reason for lack of high-performance AMD-based (read, Renoir) 'NUC's is Intel, then I have a bridge to sell. No one is preventing AMD from creating a reference design for a Renoir-based 4x4 board or innovate with Compute Element-like products. OEMs can take the plunge only if the silicon vendors offer them a proof of concept. If a Renoir NUC reference design exists, but OEMs still don't pick it up to offer them in the market, that would be worthy of deeper investigation (that could still throw up legitimate reasons).
  • Namisecond - Friday, April 17, 2020 - link

    Even when reference designs exist, availability of parts can come into play, or even OEM disinterest. Reply
  • quadrivial - Friday, April 17, 2020 - link

    AMD has reference designs and an entire set of embedded Zen 1 chips made explicitly for that purpose. Udoo Bolt was kickstarted by a fairly small company. If they could do it, why not bigger companies? Reply
  • arashi - Saturday, April 18, 2020 - link

    You must understand that Intel PR and legal has been in touch. Reply

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