Coffee Lake i7 NUC Review (NUC8i7BEH)
Performance and Benchmarks
Installation of Windows 10 on the NUC was simple. The graphics driver version 126.96.36.19926 and BIOS version 0048 were used for all the following benchmarks. Even if SimplyNUC delivered the system to me with Team Group RAM, I did swap them with a 2×4 GB HyperX DDR4-2400 CL14 RAM modules ($50.88 on Amazon) as the same modules were used for i3 and i5 testing and I wanted to keep the result comparable.
3DMark is a popular benchmarking suite that benchmarks video and gaming performance of the computer.
In the 3DMark benchmarks we see that the i7 model is 10-15% better than the i5 NUC of the same generation. In general the differences between the Bean Canyon i3, the i5 and the i7 NUCs are pretty small. All NUCs have the same Iris Plus 655 GPU, so in that sense it’s understandable that the results are similar. However, none of the Bean Canyon NUCs are able to come anywhere close to the gaming oriented Hades Canyon NUC (NUC8i7HVK).
Cinebench runs 3 separate benchmarks and provides us 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. Second 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.
The OpenGL test that stresses mainly the GPU is a similar story again: the results are a bit better on the i7 vs. the i5, but only by approximately 10%.
The CPU benchmark is another story though. The single-core performance of the NUC8i7BEH is the best I’ve ever measured, beating even the NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon) and the same is true even for the multi-core benchmark.
The Geekbench 3 result is also rather good. Both the single and multi-core results are basically on the same level as the Hades Canyon – even slightly above it. Difference between i5 and i7 stays at approximately 12%. Full Geekbench 3 results are available here.
If you want to compare the detailed results for i5 vs. i7 you can do so here. For those interested, the Geekbench 4 results for the NUC8i7BEH were 5590/18692.
Passmark CPU test
The Passmark test is often used to compare the CPU performance. The score for PassMark CPU performance test was 12547. Here’s a link to the full results.
Using the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU) you can alter (among other things) the power limits of the CPU package. All the benchmarks above have been taken using the default settings.
However, should you wish to do so, there’s a possibility to configure higher limits for more performance or lower limits for less noise. In the graph above you see the monitoring function of the XTU tool.
- I start Prime95 stress test. CPU usage jumps to 100%, core frequency remains high, CPU temperature starts to rise and the fan speed gradually increases.
- After approximately 60 seconds, the Turbo Boost period is over and the core frequency is throttled back to a lower level.
- At this point I configure the power limits to be significantly higher in the XTU tool. Higher core frequency is used and CPU heats up to 100 degrees Celsius until thermal throttling kicks in and keeps the CPU heat generation (and performance) on a level that the fan manages to keep at a stable albeit high temperature.
Thoughts on Performance
I’ve got a bit mixed feelings regarding the performance. On one hand this NUC has the fastest CPU I’ve ever tested on a NUC when it comes to the raw computing power. On the other hand, the performance is very close to the i5 model that approximately $100/€100 cheaper. The GPU performance is nowhere near Hades Canyon NUC, so this definitely wouldn’t be a gamer’s NUC. Yes, it would be very much capable running some of the even relatively modern games at full HD resolution, but that’s hardly enough for most hard core gamers.
If you’re interested in how this and other Bean Canyon NUCs are doing when playing some games please have a look at a separate article.
So yes, definitely it’s the best performing Bean Canyon NUC as was expected. So in that sense if you’re not concerned about the cost vs. the i3 or the i5 by all means get this one. Personally I think the i5 hits the sweet spot for many use cases, but there’s no argument about the i7 being faster. And as we can see on the next page, it’s not even noisier than the i5.