General Performance Metrics

We are not going to compare our build with full-blown desktop solutions. Instead, we will see how the unit stacks up to some of the low power offerings that have graced our labs. Some of the benchmarks have been run for the first time, and hence, not all benchmarks are available for all units. In addition, we are only presenting benchmark results for our build under Windows 8.

Windows Performance Index

This metric is often considered meaningless, but we feel it serves as an indicator of what could be the bottleneck in a system. On Windows 8, systems can score up to 9.9 on this metric, compared to 7.9 on Windows 7.

Given that we have equipped the system with SSDs and the RAM runs at the prescribed maximum of 1600 MHz, it is no surprise that the HD 4000 GPU is responsible for a score of 4.7 for the system.

Futuremark Benchmarks

Futuremark PCMark 7

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark11

Futuremark 3DMark06

Miscellaneous Benchmarks

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R11.5

Starting with this review, we are going to utilize Graysky's x264 Benchmark v5.0 for testing out x264 encoding performance. Instead of just presenting benchmarks for our build alone, we took the opportunity to run the benchmark on two HTPC units we reviewed earlier.

Video Encoding - x264 v5.0 64b

Video Encoding - x264 v5.0 64b

There are no surprises in the benchmarks, with the CPU performance befitting a 55W TDP unit. The absence of four physical cores does hurt it against the i7-based units in the above graphs (and would have showed in the x264 benchmark too, if we had run it on a i7-based system). However, this is not a concern for most HTPC workloads.


Introduction Network Streaming Performance - Netflix
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  • damianrobertjones - Monday, January 21, 2013 - link

    It's hardly difficult to use Windows 8! Heck a few of the ladies in work purchased laptops for their kids over xmas with Windows 8 and they're having no issues.... WHy are you??? Makes no sense at all
  • lotharamious - Monday, January 21, 2013 - link

    No real useful advantages. But, it's $40. Oh yeah, and new task manager, new file copy dialog, storage spaces, data deduplication, WAY less naggy updates, fast boot (way faster than 7), extra dimension in your start menu for more stuff.

    Nothing at all.
  • ol1bit - Friday, January 25, 2013 - link

    My Win 7 HTPC works just fine with my network streaming Silcon Dust dual tuner.

    I rebuilt by gaming PC with Windows 8 and after a week I couldn't take it anymore, re-installed Win7-64bit.

    -Stupid UI
    -Dumbed down for Grandpa and Grandma
    - Stupid colors in office (aka none per se)
    - COD4 and older games don't work.

    Win7 has none of these issues, so if the only benefit I get is a netflix app that uses a tad less power, and a crappy UI forget it.
  • JlHADJOE - Sunday, January 27, 2013 - link

    "Fast boot" is fast because it changes normal shutdown to "hibernate".

    If you force the OS to do a proper reboot, there's no improvement over 7.
  • justniz - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    Actually you can do a lot more with Linux than just surf YT. Check out MythTV. It is a VERY capable PVR/HTPC suite.
    In my opinion, much better than any product available for windows, and free too.
  • SantaAna12 - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    Aii yii yii!

    No I dont have Windows Pro up!
  • a2f - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    Is there any way we could get a look at how you have configured the various settings for the LAV filters and madVR for our own personal testing?
  • Mangix - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    in regards to the refresh rate issue, which i am not too familiar with, have you tried modifying the EDID in the registry to help fix it?

  • dubya911 - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    How do the final capabilities of this compare to the plethora of android mini PCs floating around? Things like the MK802, G-Box etc seem to have a beta version of XBMC with network storage support now. Or if you want to move upscale a bit googleTV, Roku etc?

    Other than the fun of putting it together is there an upside? My napkin math puts this build north of $600. That is a lot of delta to make up.
  • edlee - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    You are absolutely right.

    I have a set up One Raid -5 Xeon E2-1235 file server with a bunch of different DLNA servers programs to work with different client devices.

    for example:

    PS3 media server for my PS3
    Servio for my Sony blu-ray players and smart tv devices
    Plex for my roku
    Qloud Media server for my android clients

    This way I dont have to setup an expensive HTPC in every watching location, and the Xeon e2-1235 is comparable to i7-2600 so it has all the processing power to handle video transcoding in software, until these apps update their encode engine to take advantage of quick sync.

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