ASRock Beebox Review: A Fanless Braswell UCFF PCby Ganesh T S on July 14, 2015 8:00 AM EST
Performance Metrics - II
In this section, we mainly look at benchmark modes in programs used on a day-to-day basis, i.e, application performance and not synthetic workloads.
First off, we have some video encoding benchmarks courtesy of x264 HD Benchmark v5.0. This is simply a test of CPU performance. As expected, the dual-core Celeron N3000 manages to match or only slightly beat the other dual-core Bay Trail solutions.
7-Zip is a very effective and efficient compression program, often beating out OpenCL accelerated commercial programs in benchmarks even while using just the CPU power. 7-Zip has a benchmarking program that provides tons of details regarding the underlying CPU's efficiency. In this subsection, we are interested in the compression and decompression MIPS ratings when utilizing all the available threads. The results are similar to what we obtained for the x264 benchmark.
As businesses (and even home consumers) become more security conscious, the importance of encryption can't be overstated. CPUs supporting the AES-NI instruction for accelerating the encryption and decryption processes have, till now, been the higher end SKUs. However, starting with Bay Trail, even the lowly Atom series has gained support for AES-NI. The Celeron N3000 in the Beebox does have AES-NI support. TrueCrypt, a popular open-source disk encryption program can take advantage of the AES-NI capabilities. Even though TrueCrypt is no longer under development, its internal benchmark provides some interesting cryptography-related numbers to ponder. In the graph below, we can get an idea of how fast a TrueCrypt volume would behave in the ASRock Beebox N3000-NUC and how it would compare with other select PCs. This is a purely CPU feature / clock speed based test.
Agisoft PhotoScan is a commercial program that converts 2D images into 3D point maps, meshes and textures. The program designers sent us a command line version in order to evaluate the efficiency of various systems that go under our review scanner. The command line version has two benchmark modes, one using the CPU and the other using both the CPU and GPU (via OpenCL). The benchmark takes around 50 photographs and does four stages of computation:
- Stage 1: Align Photographs
- Stage 2: Build Point Cloud (capable of OpenCL acceleration)
- Stage 3: Build Mesh
- Stage 4: Build Textures
We record the time taken for each stage. Since various elements of the software are single threaded, others multithreaded, and some use GPUs, it is interesting to record the effects of CPU generations, speeds, number of cores, DRAM parameters and the GPU using this software.
The results don't present any surprises. In general, the CPU performance of Cherry Trail SoCs can match / slightly beat the corresponding Bay Trail SoCs, but GPU performance shows marked increase.
Wrapping up our application benchmark numbers is the Dolphin Emulator benchmark mode results. This is again a test of the CPU capabilities, and the Beebox makes an appearance in the middle of the pack as expected.
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losergamer04 - Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - linkThe lack of bitstream audio is surprising given the box includes an IR remote.
Flunk - Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - linkVery few people actually use home theater systems and those who do can probably afford to spend a bit more on a media computer. I can see why they wouldn't bother on such a low-end system.
waldojim42 - Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - linkJust because people can spend more, doesn't mean they want to. A $220 media PC, with bitstream audio that will bolt on to the back of the TV sounds quite nice. Especially if it works well in that role.
owarchild - Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - linkAgreed! The Raspberry Pi2 and the Celeron 2955U Chromebox are widely used for inexpensive HTPCs by the Kodi community. Braswell could become a nice alternative featuring HEVC support.
chrnochime - Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - linkOr just go buy the NUC version that does support DTS-MA/HD
cjs150 - Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - linkFlunk: It is not about whether it is low end, but whether it does what is needed. I have a home theatre system and want something like Beebox. What I need is something that plays ripped Blu-rays perfectly, correctly delivers the sound to the AV receiver, can deal with Netflixs, Amazon Prime, Youtube in HD and light web browsing yet at the same time sips power so that it is on 24/7.
Gadgety - Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - link@cjs150 Yep, me too.
Cinnabuns - Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - linkMe three.
GTVic - Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - linkEverything has a purpose. If you purchase a Vitamix it also will do a spectacular job of not delivering bitstream audio to your HTS.
kmmatney - Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - linkCan an iPad with Airplay do all that? Or an iPad with a $15 HDMI adapter? Seems like it would be much better than any HTPC for everything you mentioned. I use Air video for watching movies on our iPads (best $3 I ever spent) but haven't tried connecting it to the TV. You can buy used iPads for $200, and that's a much better deal, as you can do a lot more with it, besides the typical HTPC functions. Also, don't modern "Smart" TVs do everything you mentioned?