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

  • Namisecond - Friday, April 17, 2020 - link

    Thirded, the sandwich design the Dancase A4 popularized really revolutionized the DIY SFF world. We are living in the golden age of DIY SFF. :) Reply
  • Namisecond - Friday, April 17, 2020 - link

    In this case, what is Intel offering for their for their roughly $500-$600 plastic chassis and proprietary unbranded PSU? Superior Intel marketing? I feel your Dan A4 analogy sarcasm is spot on, but I think the reasons it's spot on does not extend to the NUC 9. Reply
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, April 16, 2020 - link

    Unless you got some very specific need for this, not worth getting. Lots of these are used for home media streaming setups, so needing something this powerful is overkill. You can get 4k streaming/movies or whatever on the price of a low end 5 year old NUC or more. Reply
  • BlazingDragon - Thursday, April 16, 2020 - link


    The seems like the result of a "hey, we could do this" thought process, rather than "we should do this"...

    Massively overpriced for home use.... Enthusiasts will build their own, much cheaper and more capable system, and normal buyers will never pay this much... they could just buy a much cheaper standard PC [for GPU], or a much cheaper Intel NUC8 or NUC10 [or Zotac, etc., equivalent] if gfx performance is not important.

    GamersNexus has a detailed review on Youtube which aligns with the above.

    Maybe the Xeon based Quartz Canyon will find business customers who need/value the small size, but I'm not convinced...

    For anyone interested, prices for all NUC9 models are available [and for pre-order] here:
  • Deicidium369 - Friday, April 17, 2020 - link

    Agreed - like I said I have no clue what the use case for this is. Even the Xeon unit... Reply
  • erinadreno - Thursday, April 16, 2020 - link

    There are plenty of sff itx case, I mean really sff case(4~6L), out there. They cost from $30 to $200, plus a $120 Enhanced 7660b, which is a 600w PSU instead of 500. Standard high end itx boards costs $300 at best. If you spend the same $1500 on those stuff, you'd left south of 1000 bucks. Heck, you can even get a Xeon 8136 28c CPU at this point (although your only option for motherboard is that ONE ASRock server board and some janky coolers).

    I just don't see the value of this okay-sized box in 2020. As in the past couple years the itx market just expand that much. Just give up on graphics and buy a regular nuc or build your own stuff.
  • pixelstuff - Thursday, April 16, 2020 - link

    That seems really large for a "Next Unit of Computing" classification. Reply
  • Deicidium369 - Friday, April 17, 2020 - link

    Agreed - for me the NUC is the 4.5"x4.5" units - even the Hades Canyon to me doesn't meet the classification. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, April 17, 2020 - link

    My dream is for people to mature enough to demand that Intel not be idiotic enough to put skulls on things. Reply
  • Cullinaire - Friday, April 17, 2020 - link

    How about a pelvis instead? Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now