Kaby Lake i5 NUC Review 2/3: Performance (NUC7i5BNK)

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Windows 10 Installation

Intel does not support any other version of Windows any more, so it’s more or less Windows 10 if you are not taking the Linux-route. There was nothing unexpected in the installation and I was up and running in no time. The Ethernet adapter was fully supported out of the box when the installation finished but I had to download the display and WiFi driver from Intel’s download center.

Kaby Lake i5 NUC CPU-Z

Benchmark Results

Intel Graphics driver for Kaby Lake version 4627 was used for all of the following tests and screen resolution was set to 1920×1080. All the benchmarking below was done using Windows 10. The NUC was equipped with two Kingston HX424S13IB/4 memory modules (8GB total, 2133MHz, dual-channel active). BIOS version 0042 was installed in the NUC.

Cinebench R15

Cinebench runs 3 separate benchmarks and gives figures that are comparable between systems. First a simple 3D car chase that measures mainly the GPU (OpenGL) performance. The result is in frames per second. After that there’s a rendering of 3D model with all cores. This stresses purely the CPU. Finally there’s another rendering of the same model, this time using just a single CPU core.

Kaby Lake NUC Cinebench CPU BenchMark

It seems that the raw CPU power is up a good 20% when compared to the Skylake. The Kaby Lake i5 sits surprisingly close to the i7 model – difference being 12-15% in this test.

Kaby Lake NUC Cinebench OpenGL BenchMark

In the OpenGL benchmark there is basically no difference between the Skylake i5 and the Kaby lake i5 models at all. Slightly disappointing results in that respect.

3DMark

3DMark is a popular benchmarking suite that benchmarks video and gaming performance of the computer. See below for the results and a comparison to the other Kaby Lake NUCs and the previous generations.

Kaby Lake i5 NUC Benchmark 3DMark Cloud Gate

In Cloud Gate the i5 Kaby Lake NUC shows good performance again. It is 17% faster than the Skylake i5 NUC and at the same time only 14% slower than the i7 model.

Kaby Lake i5 NUC Benchmark 3DMark Sky Diver

The Sky Diver test reduces the advantage of the Kaby Lake i5 over the Skylake i5 down to 9.5% while the i7 model retains it’s 14% advantage over the i5.

Kaby Lake i5 NUC Benchmark 3DMark Firestrike

Finally the difference between previous and current generation i5 models in the Firestrike test is around 11%. The i7-powered NUC7i7BNH is still 14% faster than NUC7i5BNK.

Geekbench

The Geekbench 3 result 3717/7964 compares favourably with the result of the Kaby Lake i7 NUC (4150/8847).

Geekbench NUC7i5BNK Kaby Lake i5 NUC

Complete results available here.

Passmark

The Passmark CPU benchmark result for the NUC7i5BNK is 5869, which is 15% slower than what I got for the i7 model.

Gaming

I did not do much gaming benchmarks for this NUC. I think for serious gaming this is not the right device and for casual gaming it will be more than powerful enough. You might want to take a look at the gaming tests I did with the i7 model.

I did try out Dirt 3 though. It’s an older rally game, but it still presents enough challenge for the NUC to give meaningful figures.

Resolution 1920×1080 1920×1080 1920×1080
Preset High Medium Medium
Multisampling Off Off 2xVSAA
VSync Off Off On (60 fps)
FPS Average 51.56 59.94 51.19
FPS Low 44.07 51.49 43.02

These results are less than 5% worse than the results I saw on the NUC7i7BNH and around 5% better than the results of the NUC6i5SYH.

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