First Benchmark Results for Skylake i5 NUC (NUC6i5SYH / NUC6i5SYK)!

While I haven’t received my Skylake i5 NUC yet, a couple of readers of the blog have already got theirs. Frederik here and TheWombat here have kindly reported their Skylake i5 NUC benchmark results using the same benchmark tools that I use in my reviews. Thanks a lot guys!

EDIT: I’ve received the i5 NUC and there’s a more comprehensive review online now.

3DMark

TheWombat reported the following results:

  • Fire Strike 1.1: 1360
  • Sky Diver 1.0: 5387
  • Cloud Gate 1.1: 7388
  • Ice Storm 1.2: 82982

Having a look at how this compares with the other NUCs, we can see that the i5 Skylake NUC beats every other NUC by a good margin! The results are 30-47% better than the i3 model, no doubt due to the more advanced GPU. In this bench mark the new i5 model leaves the previous i7 model clearly behind.

skylake_i5_3dmark

Cinebench R15

In Cinebench R15 OpenGL test the dominance of the new Skylake i5 NUC continues. The results are more than 50% better than the number 2 NUC in this test – the Skylake i3 NUC.

skylake_i5_cinebench

The CPU tests measures pure CPU power and leaves the GPU out of the picture. Here we see that the Broadwell i7 still beats the new i5 by about 20% and that the Skylake i5 in turn is about 20% faster than the i3 model.

skylake_i5_cinebench_cpu

Conclusion

The NUC6i5SYH and NUC6i5SYK models really pack some serious punch. According to these initial benchmark results this is easily the best NUC for someone looking to do some gaming or other GPU intensive tasks. Other than the CPU/GPU the unit is identical with the i3 model, so if you’re interested in the other characteristics of the unit, have a look at my review of the Skylake i3 NUC. I’ll post a more thorough review of the i5 when I get the unit in my hands and definitely I’m going to try out some games as well.

If you’re interested in getting an Intel i5 Skylake NUC have a look at the Amazon price for a similarly configured NUC as TheWombat used for the benchmark results above. Alternatively, you can visit our NUC Guru, who can recommend you good compatible parts for your i5 NUC build.

38 Responses

  1. pepedopolous says:

    Glad I cancelled my NUC5i7RH order… Now I just have to decide whether to wait for Skull Canyon or go for a Skylake i5. I want to use the NUC box as a HTPC and more importantly for Retroarch emulation gaming.

    • Julian says:

      Given the performance uplift of Skylake i5 NUC vs previous gen5 i5 NUC I’m hoping that Skull Canyon won’t be the only Skylake-based i7 system. Apparently Skull Canyon will be physically slightly bigger than the existing NUCs and we also have to hope that it won’t sound like a leaf blower when under load (as the gen4 quad core i7 Gigabyte Brix Pro apparently does). I might yet get a Skull Canyon if size, noise and price are acceptable to me but I would really like to have an in-between choice of a NUC6i7RH to at least consider.

  2. Robert says:

    That is some seriously impressive benchmarks! Wow!

    I was keen on the i3, but think I’ll spend the extra money on the i5.

  3. TheWombat says:

    I’ve been using the NUC6i5SYK for a couple of days now with Windows 10 and as an everyday PC it is pretty amazing. Very quiet and Windows 10 is snappy and responsive. The drivers from the Intel website installed without a hitch and the experience has overall been very positive. I haven’t undertaken any serious gaming but the benchmarks suggest the NUC6i5 should be able to handle gaming to some degree at 1080P. The only real feedback I have is I would prefer the microphone/headphone socket on the side or back rather than the front.

    As an HTPC there are a couple of considerations. If playing streaming media then it is overkill. If looking to play 4K media then it doesn’t support HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 which limits it. I use Plex as my media set up and have RasPlex running on Raspberry Pi 2s which cost ~$100 all in rather than $500+OS for the NUC.

    Hence Skylake i3/i5 is in a bit of an odd situation. It doesn’t make sense to upgrade from the prior generation(s) if just using as an HTPC. More serious gamers are likely to wait to see what Skull Canyon i7 will be like however note the form factor will be larger – perhaps twice the size in terms of length.

    hth

    TheWombat

    • nucblognet says:

      Thanks for your additional comments TheWombat! Good to hear that the unit is quiet. I was wondering if they had managed to keep it cool enough despite the much better GPU.

  4. shinta says:

    I really can’t get it. The skylake i3 model is shipping several weeks ago, and the i5 model is being shipped now. But why then in the homepage of Intel it still says ‘coming soon’?

  5. John Boero says:

    I wonder how much of that is related to the DDR4 ram? Would like to see a memory benchmark.

  6. Frederik says:

    I spent some more time on benchmarking the last few days.
    I reduced the min fan speed in BIOS down to 20%, now during casual use I can’t hear a thing sitting directly next to it. I need to put my ear right next to the box to perceive the fan noise at all.
    I then tested to run Left 4 Dead 2 (I’m more of a console gamer, so that’s indeed my most recent game) and tried to run it in highest video settings. The fan spins up during the game, especially when a horde of zombies attacks. FPS stays above 40 at all times, average fps is somewhere around 50. Running the game at recommended settings (mostly medium) but still in FullHD, the fan is perceivable, but not annoying. FPS is then between 50 and 60.

    I also monitored power consumption. Peak power was 30.6 Watts during boot, idle consumption is around 9 Watts. I’m using a wireless mouse and a wired keyboard, Ethernet is plugged in and WiFi adapter is disabled.

    Another point worth mentioning is that the NUC seems not to be able to fully exploit the PCIe Gen 3 x 4 connection. I’m using a M.2 256GB Samsung SM951. This ssd is reported to reach > 2GB/s read, but mine stays around 1.6-1.7 GB/s in ATTO Disk Benchmark Write Speed is around 1.1-1.4. I have installed the NVMe driver for 950 Pro SSD and it is listed as NVMe device. This is for sure still impressive, but seeing that the Intel manual for the NUC6i6SYB (board ID) states that expected throughput is around 1600MB/s, the bottleneck seems to be actually the NUC rather than the ssd.

    So don’t spend your money for some extra speed of the SSD, it won’t help much.

  7. Julian says:

    Does anyone know if the SATA port on the Skylake i3 and/or i5 model(s) supports port multiplexing so that I could hang a dual-drive enclose off it set to JBOD and Windows 10 could see them as two discreet drives?

    My tentative plan is to configure a tall NUC like my desktop PC, a single C drive for the OS and apps using the NUC M2 slot and then two more laptop mSata drives installed on the SATA port using a dual mSata to SATA adaptor that fits into the single 9.5mm sized enclosure. I’d set the dual mSata enclosure to JBOD mode and use Miscosoft Storage spaces with EFS to get a mirrored bit-scrubbing D (data) drive. It’s only a data drive for simple Microsoft Office docs and PDF scans so I don’t care about performance but according to the manufacturer of the dual mSata enclosure it does need the SATA port to support port multiplexing hence the question.

  8. TheWombat says:

    I’ve come across a potential issue with the Visual BIOS. Looking on the Intel forums it may be something that others have encountered as well. I tried to disable Bluetooth and Infrared in the BIOS AFTER I had installed the OS and the NUC would not boot past the “Press F2 to enter BIOS” message.

    When I went back into the BIOS settings and switched Bluetooth and InfraRed back on the NUC posted ok. This is with Windows 10 64bit Pro as a clean install with the official latest Intel drivers.

    I am currently assuming that if you are looking to adjust significant settings e.g. disable devices, that it may be preferable to do this before installing an OS. For now I have disabled bluetooth, infrared and wifi in the Windows 10 devices settings.

  9. Timothy says:

    Ordered mine, shop says I get it Wed. from a happy clam.

  10. Marcus says:

    I was thinking of putting Linux in mine, was originally just gonna use it as a plex server and have Steam-streaming from my powerful desktop but now i am unsure… what type of gaming is this gonna handle, is it worth putting windows 10 instead just for the native gaming support over linux?

  11. TheWombat says:

    @Marcus – I am a Plex user and I wouldn’t have thought a NUC would make a sensible Plex server as it doesn’t have enough storage capacity unless you are looking to store your content externally? People typically use a 3-12 bay case, run a linux distribution such as UnRaid and run Plex Media Server on that. While there are others who use Windows as the OS my experience is that the Linux route is preferable. Either way unless you have very little media the NUC lacks storage.

    I could see the NUC being a Plex client, however it is overkill since you can run RasPlex (Plex Home Theater) on a Raspberry Pi 2 without any issues even when direct playing 40GB blu-ray MKVs. The Raspberry Pi 2, case, power supply, sd card and IR controller can be bought for < $100 in total. I just replaced my two Windows 10 HTPCs with Raspberry Pi 2s and it has been a very positive experience.

    If you like to play modern games and spend a few hours a week gaming then I would not-suggest a Skylake NUC i3/i5 unless there is a real reason you need the small form factor? You can get a far more powerful gaming system for the money elsewhere.

    I personally see the NUCs working well for someone that wants a PC that doesn't take up much room or make much noise, and is more of a casual gamer. Alternatively the NUC works well for someone who wants to be able to take their PC with them although that assumes that there would be monitor/tv, keyboard/mouse wherever it is they are traveling to. Students are probably better with a laptop since they will be more mobile.

    Just my thoughts.

    Alex

    • Ant says:

      I’m actually planning on using mine to run XenServer. It will host my plex server (content on an external raid enclosure) and be scalable enough to support my test lab needs.

      This is all assuming I can actually get an OS other than Win 7-10 booting on it..

  12. Marcus says:

    @wombat Thanks for your detailed reply. I’ve been using an old portable computer that i’ve thrown Ubuntu on to and then an external drive thats hooked up to my router for storage. I use this for my plex server, sonarr and steam streaming-client. This has worked decently but the laptop really isn’t preferable for this so i thought it was time for an upgrade. I’ve ordered a NUC6i5SYH with an 128gb ssd, 16gig ram and an extra 2tb (thats enough for me right now) internal SATA drive for storage that i was thinking as the replacement. However from your reply it seems as though I should keep linux on it and use my more powerful desktop (which i rarely use) for steam streaming…. Another reason for the nuc is that it is so small that it will fit perfectly next to my ps4 and xbox1.

  13. Anyone tried playing Grand Theft Auto 5 on the nuc6i5syh or nuc6i5syk models? If any of you have the i5 skylake model and a copy of GTA 5 to test out, please share your findings with the performance at 720p and 1080p. Any other game result will work, we just need to know how it performs in recent games.

    • Olli says:

      I got my NUC6i5SYH today and will write a more comprehensive article. If there are any demos or freely playable games that I should try, let me know. GTA V seems to be 60 euros on Steam, which is a bit steep just for trying it out (and no playable demo seems to exist)…

      • Ihor says:

        Could you please add your review test video playback from Youtube. I would like to see the CPU usage when playing 2160p and 1080p60 clips in different browsers. Especially interested in Chrome, because it uses codec VP9. And playing in Firefox interested too.

      • pepefrog says:

        Olli, if that’s too steep, any similar game will do. Gta V is a fantastic game even if you’re not a fan of the series. Simply one of the best sandbox open world games with a great 3-way triangle storyline.. Oh now where was I. Have you tested Team Fortress 2 on high settings with MSAA set to x2 at 1080p?

        • Olli says:

          I’ve got so little time these days due to many things that I haven’t really had time to game much. I’ll try TF2 when I get the i5 NUC up and running…

          • pepefrog says:

            Sounds good! Could you also make a note of Cpu temperatures and turning VSYNC on during game play? Thanks!

      • Silent says:

        Download torrent. It is no problem

  14. Michael says:

    How will running this at 1440p vs 1080p make a difference? This ticks all my boxes, a capable small quiet machine, and I wouldn’t mind doing some light gaming on it too. The thing is I’ll be running a 1440p monitor, but most tests run at 1080p, and I’m not sure how to much to adjust for a larger resolution.

    Also, a shame that you can’t run faster memory on this, because the iGPU is supposed to benefit from faster ram speed.

    • Olli says:

      I’m actually running the thing right now in Windows 10 using a 3440×1440 monitor. What kind of usage do you have in mind for the box?

      Keep in mind that 2560×1440 has pretty much double the amount of pixels when compared to 1920×1080 – in games this likely has quite a significant impact.

      • Michael says:

        I’ll keep that in mind; a 2560×1440 is double the pixels of 1080p.

        My use would pretty much be Internet browsing, streaming netflix, and some office work when at home. For this, it will be more than capable of, while the perfect size for a condo.

        I hardly play games anymore, and if I do, it’d be older stuff that’s on my steam list (like, Portal) or not intensive, like a browser game. The most intensive game I would play would be Assetta Corsa (a driving racer), but even that I wouldn’t care about having a peak detail for something I would play for maybe 10-20 hours a year.

        What I’m most curious about is whether games tested at 1080p are unplayable at 1440p (either width) or larger (4k), or would you have to just scale the output to 1080p when playing on a monitor that supports anything larger?

        Thanks very much for the response! I’m hoping the prices come down for this unit here in Canada!

  15. RJ says:

    I am wondering if this machine would be capable of running a virtual machine smoothly via virtualbox, maybe win7? I’m specifically interested in how much the CPU is taxed if browsing the web/streaming YouTube via a VM.

  16. Timothy says:

    Just got mine today! Once the baby’s in bed I’m going to install my 950 pro nvme and the 16GB hyperx.

  17. metai says:

    These benchmarks look rather promising. I am planning for a NUC6i5 to replace my Intel i7-870/Nvidia 460 GTX based desktop (which has aged exceptionally gracefully, but simply for form factor and power consumption reasons). If I am interpreting the benchmarks correctly, the NUC6i5 will be practically equal both in CPU and GPU performance (except, naturally, in the multi-core discipline).

  18. Nuc enthusiast says:

    How much fan noise does it make? thanks

  19. I have two of these running Windows 10 and OpenELEC 7.0/Kodi 17 Alpha. Works like a charm 🙂

  20. Sam says:

    If you want See Full power of NUC in Gaming and Benchmark you have to Raise the TDP in BIOS from 26 Watts to the Max of 30 watts. The default Setting ist 26 Watts in Standart Mode and 30 Watts for burst Mode ( Turbo). With the New Settings the NUC perform Always like it is in Turbo Mode. I set the Cooling options in BIOS to 68 Celsius for the CPU. So i get under Full load better temps. With Standart Settings the CPU Hits the 90 Celsius. With New cooler Settings it goes to 80-85 Celsius. With this New TDP Settings the CPU can Stay in any Situation in Turbo Mode at 2x 2,7GHz and the Iris 540 work with 950mhz. No throtteling. That Works in previous NUCS and now again

    http://techgage.com/article/turning-up-the-dials-on-intels-nuc-overclock-and-overpower/

    My Problem with the NUC :

    Windows 7 no Startup Sound
    I Used my TV as Screen and use a HDMI Cabel.

    And the Biggest prob is some Games have no Sound im fullscreen only in Windowed Mode.

    I Try everything reinstall Drivers, use different drivers, install os New, Change HDMI Cabel , but Nothing helps me out. Anybody a idea for me?

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