The Intel NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon) was reviewed in late March, and emerged as one of the most powerful gaming PCs in its form-factor class. Our conclusion was that the PC offered gaming performance equivalent to that of a system with a GPU between the NVIDIA GTX 960 and GTX 980. We received feedback from our readers on the games used for benchmarking being old, and the compared GPUs being dated. In order to address this concern, we spent the last few weeks working on updating our gaming benchmarks suite for gaming systems / mini-PCs. With the updated suite in hand, we put a number of systems through the paces. This article presents the performance of the Hades Canyon NUC with the latest drivers in recent games. We also pulled in the gaming benchmark numbers from a couple of systems still in our review queue in order to give readers an idea of the performance of the Hades Canon NUC as compared to some of the other contemporary small-form factor gaming machines.


The gaming benchmark suite used to evaluate the Hades Canyon NUC in our launch review was dated and quite limited in its scope. Games such as Sleeping Dogs and Bioshock Infinite are no longer actively considered by consumers looking to purchase gaming systems. In addition, our suite did not have any DirectX 12 game. In order to address these issues, we set out to identify some modern games for inclusion in our gaming benchmarks. The intent was to have a mix of games and benchmarks that could serve us well for the next couple of years.

The updated gaming benchmark suite has both synthetic and real-world workloads. Futuremark's synthetic benchmarks give a quick idea of the prowess of the GPU component in a system. We process and present results from all the standard workloads in both 3DMark (v 2.4.4264) and VRMark (v 1.2.1701). Real-world use-cases are represented by six different games:

  • Civlization VI (DX12)
  • Dota 2
  • F1 2017
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War
  • Far Cry 5

Most system reviews take a handful of games and process them at one resolution / quality settings for comparison purposes. Recently, we have seen many pre-built systems coming out with varying gaming capabilities. Hence, it has become imperative to give consumers an idea of how a given system performs over a range of resolutions and quality settings for each game. With our updated suite, we are able to address this aspect.

In addition to re-evaluating the Hades Canyon NUC, we also processed the new suite on the Zotac ZBOX MAGNUS EN1080K and the ZBOX MAGNUS EK71080, as well as the Skull Canyon NUC (NUC6i7KYK). We are also pulling in the numbers that were recorded for a couple of upcoming reviews (the ASRock DeskMini Z370 GTX1060, and the Shuttle XPC Gaming Cube SZ270R9). Before looking at the details of the new benchmarks and the numbers obtained, a summary of the specifications of the different systems is presented in the comparison table below.

Comparative PC Configurations
Aspect Intel NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon)
CPU Intel Core i7-8809G Intel Core i7-8809G
GPU Radeon RX Vega M GH Graphics (4 GB HBM2)
Intel UHD Graphics 630
Radeon RX Vega M GH Graphics (4 GB HBM2)
Intel UHD Graphics 630
RAM Kingston HyperX Impact HX432S20IB2K2/16 DDR4
20-22-22-42 @ 3200 MHz
2x8 GB
Kingston HyperX Impact HX432S20IB2K2/16 DDR4
20-22-22-42 @ 3200 MHz
2x8 GB
Storage Intel Optane SSD 800p SSDPEK1W120GA
(118 GB; M.2 Type 2280 PCIe 3.0 x2 NVMe; Optane)
Intel SSD 545s SSDSCKKW512G8
(512 GB; M.2 Type 2280 SATA III; Intel 64L 3D TLC)
Intel Optane SSD 800p SSDPEK1W120GA
(118 GB; M.2 Type 2280 PCIe 3.0 x2 NVMe; Optane)
Intel SSD 545s SSDSCKKW512G8
(512 GB; M.2 Type 2280 SATA III; Intel 64L 3D TLC)
Wi-Fi Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
(2x2 802.11ac - 866 Mbps)
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
(2x2 802.11ac - 866 Mbps)
Price (in USD, when built) $999 (Barebones)
$1617 (with SSD, and RAM, as configured / No OS)
$999 (Barebones)
$1617 (with SSD, and RAM, as configured / No OS)
Futuremark 3DMark
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  • Macpoedel - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - link

    About the performance and value:
    You can't compare this to an 8th gen desktop i7, that's a 6c/12t part and the i7-8809G is a 4c/8t part, more comparable to a Core i7 7700. If you had to compare it to current gen desktop CPU's I would put it closer to a Core i5 8400/8500 than a Core i7 8700, and those are $100 cheaper. The boxed cooler also fits in a lot of small form factor cases, and it's not like Hades Canyon is that quiet that you'd have to compare it with a Noctua or Cryorig cooler. In idle it's probably extremely quiet (I have a NUC6CAYH, Celeron NUC, and I've never heard the fan, only faintly if I hold my ear right next to the exhaust), but under load not so much.

    About resale value, I'll have to believe you on that one. Thing is that on the online used marketplaces I frequent (not eBay, I'm from Belgium), none are for sale right now, which makes me think that Skull Canyon wasn't very popular. I see some eBay entries, but also no used ones in my region, just 2 in the US. There are some new ones for sale in my area but it's no wonder they're trying to sell those for close to retail price. I doubt a used Skull Canyon sells for close to retail price though, the iGPU has aged a lot.

    I'm hoping you're right though, I'm selling my NUC6CAYH at the moment. But those are still for sale and Intel has dropped the price by quite a bit (bought it for €170, but it costs €120 in a lot of places at the moment) so I probably won't sell it for much over half of what it cost me (at least I'll be able to sell the memory for about the same as what I paid for it and it's not like €80 to use a pc for a year is that much).

    I replaced my NUC with a small form factor mini ITX self build pc, it has a volume of 7,1 l, around the same as an OG Xbox One and also around the same performance (Ryzen 5 2400G). So not that small, Hades Canyon is a lot smaller, but this fits my cabinet without issues. It's also less powerful than Hades Canyon, but it also cost me less than €500 (SFF PSU costs the same as regular PSU, I use AMD's boxed cooler, RAM is expensive but Hades Canyon needs that as well, wifi and bluetooth came with the motherboard and custom cabling wasn't necessary at all). About Thunderbolt 3, I just don't see a use case for that right now in a home theater setup. An external GPU maybe? But why pay for the Vega M then, you could get a cheaper, regular sized NUC with Thunderbolt 3 (the higher end current 7th gen NUCs have TB3). For your use case I don't really see why you'd need Hades Canyon either.

    I will say, for the size there's nothing more powerful you can get.
  • close - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - link

    Don't look at resale value like that:
    - Buying at sale - this is not generally available.
    - Selling for $50 less - that's 25% of the original (sale) price.
    - Selling on eBay - chance plays a huge role there (I've seen sales where the better products sold for less without any apparent explanation other than "luck", timing).

    Almost 6 years ago I got barely used (2 weeks of usage) top of the line ROG MB, top of the line 8 core CPU, and top of the line 16GB of RAM for under 300E. 2 years ago I got a 980Ti for 100E. I can probably sell them today for more. Sales and second hand market need more than one example to see the trend.

    And going to eBay I'm not seeing the kind of resale value you are seeing. I'm seeing 3 year old barebones NUCs (5th gen) that went for 300E new at around 200E with RAM now. Take out the RAM and you dip below half the price after 3 years.

    And the NUC6i7KYK is currently available new for 450-500E. It was 799E at launch (stabilized at 650E shortly after). Can't really find used offers but it can't go for more than 350E. That's about 50% of original price. That's not exceptional.

    I honestly think the resale value you're painting heavily relies on exceptional sales and lots of luck on resale.
  • nerd1 - Thursday, May 17, 2018 - link

    $1617 is A LOT of money - you can build a tiny gaming ITX system (i.e. using Dan A4 case) with i5-8400 and 1070 with that amount of money.
  • YukaKun - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    Would it be too dumb to add a "performance / liter" type of thing to put into context the form format for this little box and the performance it brings to the table (pun might be intended)?

  • YukaKun - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    **form factor
  • Icehawk - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    You are saying this is roughly a 970? I get triple your fps in FC5, for example, at 4K Ultra even when it was in my 3770k rig. I know there are thermal constraints but this is a huge gap in performance.
  • lioncat55 - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    That does not sound possible, triple the frame rate would be 48 fps, looking at desktop benchmarks for Farcry 5 at 4k Ultra has a 1080 at 41 fps and a Vega 64 at 46 fps.
  • nathanddrews - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    My 970 and 3570K @ 4.2GHz also gets triple the frame rate... at the menu screen. LOL
  • wr3zzz - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    I guess the target demo of these systems are intended for those who are either space or aesthetic constraint of a traditional HTPC form factor. For the former NUC seems serious lacking in value proposition and for the latter these units as stand just don't pass the living room eye test.
  • HStewart - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    I think the main target of the i870XG cpu module is for laptops and not desktops - but it can be used in HTPC form factor.. but keep in mind - where Intel aim its performance - between 1050 and 1060.

    It this article, the closest system had a 1060 GPU but a Six core factor.

    I have found with my Dell XPS 15 2in1, that the CPU is quite fast one but so far I am not sure about the GPU.

    I believe we not see the real potential of this kind of NUC - until Intel releases a version with Artic Sound GPU. Even though it does the job - I feel the AMD GPU is only temporary.

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