Zotac ZBOX CI523 nano Fanless Skylake-U mini-PC Reviewby Ganesh T S on October 5, 2016 8:00 AM EST
Performance Metrics - I
The ZOTAC ZBOX CI523 nano was evaluated using our standard test suite for low power desktops / industrial PCs. Not all benchmarks were processed on all the machines due to updates in our testing procedures. Therefore, the list of PCs in each graph might not be the same. In the first section, we will be looking at SYSmark 2014, as well as some of the Futuremark benchmarks.
BAPCo SYSmark 2014
BAPCo's SYSmark 2014 is an application-based benchmark that uses real-world applications to replay usage patterns of business users in the areas of office productivity, media creation and data/financial analysis. Scores are meant to be compared against a reference desktop (HP ProDesk 600 G1 with a Core i3-4130, 4GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive) that scores 1000 in each of the scenarios. A score of, say, 2000, would imply that the system under test is twice as fast as the reference system.
We have not processed SYSmark 2014 on any of the passively cooled PCs that have been through our review process before. So, we only have the reference system for comparison purposes. It is interesting to see that a Core i3-6100U can almost match a desktop Haswell Core i3 with a much higher TDP
Futuremark PCMark 8
PCMark 8 provides various usage scenarios (home, creative and work) and offers ways to benchmark both baseline (CPU-only) as well as OpenCL accelerated (CPU + GPU) performance. We benchmarked select PCs for the OpenCL accelerated performance in all three usage scenarios. These scores are heavily influenced by the CPU in the system. The CI523 nano with a Skylake-U CPU is easily able to surpass all the other systems based on processors from the earlier generations.
Miscellaneous Futuremark Benchmarks
3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R15
CINEBENCH R15 provides three benchmark modes - OpenGL, single threaded and multi-threaded. Evaluation of select PCs in all three modes provided us the following results. In the CPU-focused benchmark, the Logic Supply ML100G-30 (based on a Broadwell-U Core i5, and having a higher turbo clock) is able to beat the CI523 nano (with a Skylake-U Core i3). However, the GPU improvements from Broadwell to Skylake ensure that the CI523 nano comes out on top in the OpenGL routine.
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leegroves86 - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - link"Processor Intel Core i7-6500U"
Eh, maybe that's supposed to read 'Intel Core i3-6100U'
ingwe - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - linkWow yeah. That is a big difference. I looked at the price and couldn't believe that it was an i7. Then I kept reading and realized it wasn't an i7.
YSJ - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - linkHWinfo on the Power Consumption page says it's an i5-6200U
ganeshts - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - linkGuys, the i7 mention is a table porting typo from the previous review. It has been fixed. The core count / frequencies / cache size were fixed correctly after the copy-over. Apologies for the typo.
The HWiNFO representation is erroneous because Zotac uses the same product ID string for both the CI523 nano and CI543 nano. The latter uses the Core i5, and HWiNFO gets confused because of that.
The AIDA64 report confirming the Core i3-6100U (if it wasn't obvious from the multiple references to it in the text of the review and also the frequencies in the graphs) is here: http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/mini-pcs/AIDA-...
JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - linkNo dual LAN, no interest. I'd really like Zotac/Gigabyte/Intel to make a SFF NUC-like PC with dual LAN so that I can buy one to be used as a pfSense router. I'd highly prefer not to be stuck with an anemic pentium/celeron chinese off-brand pfSense router...
ganeshts - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - linkZotac has the fanless CI545 nano for that : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GOK0HS4/
GIGABYTE has the -L series Skylake BRIX units. We just reviewed one a couple of weeks back: http://www.anandtech.com/show/10689/gigabyte-gbbsi...
JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - linkOH! AWESOME!
There's even an affordable barebones for less than $150, too, here:
damianrobertjones - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - linkImagine a world where you can buy a USB ethernet adapter! :)
ganeshts - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - linkLatency is an issue with USB Ethernet adapters.
In addition, for pfSense and other networking applications, some of the hardware acceleration features / offloads provided by Intel NICs can help provide better overall performance.
USB Ethernet adapters are fine for the average use-case, but, I wouldn't suggest using them for any performance-sensitive scenarios.
Flying Aardvark - Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - linkThey still have to be better than Wii U wifi. :/