In the second part of our Gemini Lake Pentium NUC review we run some popular benchmarks on it to get an idea how does it perform compared to the other recent NUCs. If you came here via a search engine, I’d suggest you take a look at the first part of the review first. We’re going to run our standard setup which means 3DMark, Cinebench R15 and Geekbench 3.
I installed a recent version of Windows 10 on the NUC. During the installation the WiFi adapter was not detected so I had to use the wired Ethernet connection for downloading the updates and drivers from Intel’s Download Center. Driver installation was painless this time. It seems that the CPU-Z utility in the above picture detects the CPU incorrectly – this will likely be fixed in future versions of CPU-Z. Thanks to the relatively powerful quad-core CPU the NUC7PJYH does quite well as a Windows 10 desktop PC. Multiple tabs or several applications open, it works better than any low-end NUC before.
Intel UHD Graphics driver version 188.8.131.5244, Windows 10 and BIOS version 0037 was used for the following benchmark results. The unit was equipped with 2x4GB Kingston KVR24S17S6/4 memory modules and a Drevo 64 GB SSD drive.
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.
In the multi-core CPU tests the NUC7PJYH does pretty well. It actually beats both i3 NUCs from last 2 years. Both i3 models are dual-core with hyperthreading whereas NUC7PJYH has actually 4 cores, but no hyperthreading. When comparing to NUC7CJYH it’s worth noticing that single core performance is more or less identical, but multi-core performance approx. 100% better. Basically J5005 has 2 more identical cores compared to J4005.
In the OpenGL tests both previous i3 models pull ahead of the NUC7PJYH as the 18 EU GPU just cannot match the one in the i3 models. In this test the Pentium-powered NUC7PJYH beats the Celeron-based NUC7CJYH by 33%.
3DMark is a popular benchmarking suite that benchmarks video and gaming performance of the computer. I had some problems running the benchmarks as I got a black screen initially. I found out that if I plugged my screen in the HDMI connector 1 instead of HDMI 2 it worked just fine. Good to keep that in mind in case you face issues with the display.
In the 3DMark Cloud Gate test the NUC7PJYH is significantly faster than the lower end NUC7CJYH but significantly slower than the previous generation i3 models.
Sky Diver results tell a similar story.
Things don’t change much in Fire Strike either.
Below you can find the 64-bit Geekbench 3 score for NUC7PJYH. 6854 for multi-core and 2182 for single-core tests. Single-core performance is again identical when compared to NUC7CJYH but multi-core result is roughly twice as good.
Passmark CPU Benchmark
In the Passmark CPU test I got result of 2967. This is significantly higher than the NUC7CJYH score (1653).
The default BIOS settings kept the fan running at very low levels even during the CPU intensive benchmarks. There’s also an option to completely turn off the fan when the temperatures are below a certain limit. This is enabled by default as well. I’d say that the box was almost totally silent.
Thoughts of the Performance
If the lower end Gemini Lake NUC left something to be desired I’d say that this Pentium Silver J5005 powered NUC surprised me nicely in the tests. The CPU itself showed pretty strong performance beating previous generation i3 models nicely. This is mainly due to being a quad-core CPU vs. dual-core with hyperthreading. Not all applications are able to benefit from this, but then again, having 4 cores should benefit desktop environment where you want to run multiple applications at the same time. The price difference between NUC7CJYH and NUC7PJYH is relatively small – about $50. I’d say the performance difference is worth that.
Be sure to read also the earlier parts of this review!