Performance Metrics - II

In this section, we mainly look at benchmark modes in programs used on a day-to-day basis, i.e, application performance and not synthetic workloads.

x264 Benchmark

First off, we have some video encoding benchmarks courtesy of x264 HD Benchmark v5.0. This is simply a test of CPU performance. As expected, the higher turbo frequency of the Core i5-5300U in the Logic Supply ML100G-30 pushes down the Zotac ZBOX CI523 nano to the second place amongst the PCs considered for comparison.

Video Encoding - x264 5.0 - Pass 1

Video Encoding - x264 5.0 - Pass 2


7-Zip is a very effective and efficient compression program, often beating out OpenCL accelerated commercial programs in benchmarks even while using just the CPU power. 7-Zip has a benchmarking program that provides tons of details regarding the underlying CPU's efficiency. In this subsection, we are interested in the compression and decompression MIPS ratings when utilizing all the available threads. Again, the higher turbo clock in the ML100G-30 helps it come ahead of the CI523 nano.

7-Zip LZMA Compression Benchmark

7-Zip LZMA Decompression Benchmark


As businesses (and even home consumers) become more security conscious, the importance of encryption can't be overstated. CPUs supporting the AES-NI instruction can accelerate the encryption and decryption processes. The Core i3-6100U does have AES-NI support. TrueCrypt, a popular open-source disk encryption program can take advantage of the AES-NI capabilities. In the graph below, we can get an idea of how fast a TrueCrypt volume would behave in the ZOTAC ZBOX CI523 nano and how it would compare with other select PCs. This is a purely CPU feature / clock speed based test.

TrueCrypt Benchmark

Agisoft Photoscan

Agisoft PhotoScan is a commercial program that converts 2D images into 3D point maps, meshes and textures. The program designers sent us a command line version in order to evaluate the efficiency of various systems that go under our review scanner. The command line version has two benchmark modes, one using the CPU and the other using both the CPU and GPU (via OpenCL). The benchmark takes around 50 photographs and does four stages of computation:

  • Stage 1: Align Photographs
  • Stage 2: Build Point Cloud (capable of OpenCL acceleration)
  • Stage 3: Build Mesh
  • Stage 4: Build Textures

We record the time taken for each stage. Since various elements of the software are single threaded, others multithreaded, and some use GPUs, it is interesting to record the effects of CPU generations, speeds, number of cores, DRAM parameters and the GPU using this software.

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 1

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 2

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 3

Agisoft PhotoScan Benchmark - Stage 4

Dolphin Emulator

Wrapping up our application benchmark numbers is the Dolphin Emulator benchmark mode results. This is again a test of the CPU capabilities. Even though the ZBOX CI523 nano comes out on top, there is not much separating it from the Broadwell-U Core i5-based ML100G-30 and Haswell-U Core i5-based Core-ML320 industrial PCs from Logic Supply.

Dolphin Emulator Benchmark

Performance Metrics - I Networking and Storage Performance
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  • leegroves86 - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - link

    "Processor Intel Core i7-6500U"
    Eh, maybe that's supposed to read 'Intel Core i3-6100U'
  • ingwe - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - link

    Wow yeah. That is a big difference. I looked at the price and couldn't believe that it was an i7. Then I kept reading and realized it wasn't an i7.
  • YSJ - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - link

    HWinfo on the Power Consumption page says it's an i5-6200U
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - link

    Guys, the i7 mention is a table porting typo from the previous review. It has been fixed. The core count / frequencies / cache size were fixed correctly after the copy-over. Apologies for the typo.

    The HWiNFO representation is erroneous because Zotac uses the same product ID string for both the CI523 nano and CI543 nano. The latter uses the Core i5, and HWiNFO gets confused because of that.

    The AIDA64 report confirming the Core i3-6100U (if it wasn't obvious from the multiple references to it in the text of the review and also the frequencies in the graphs) is here:
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - link

    No dual LAN, no interest. I'd really like Zotac/Gigabyte/Intel to make a SFF NUC-like PC with dual LAN so that I can buy one to be used as a pfSense router. I'd highly prefer not to be stuck with an anemic pentium/celeron chinese off-brand pfSense router...
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - link

    Zotac has the fanless CI545 nano for that :

    GIGABYTE has the -L series Skylake BRIX units. We just reviewed one a couple of weeks back:
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - link


    There's even an affordable barebones for less than $150, too, here:

    Thanks, Ganesh!
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - link

    Imagine a world where you can buy a USB ethernet adapter! :)
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - link

    Latency is an issue with USB Ethernet adapters.

    In addition, for pfSense and other networking applications, some of the hardware acceleration features / offloads provided by Intel NICs can help provide better overall performance.

    USB Ethernet adapters are fine for the average use-case, but, I wouldn't suggest using them for any performance-sensitive scenarios.
  • Flying Aardvark - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - link

    They still have to be better than Wii U wifi. :/

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