Report: First benchmarks of Intel’s Hades Canyon NUC surface

Gerbils, I'm sure I don't have to remind you about Kaby Lake-G. The marriage of Intel's "Lake" architecture with a recent Radeon seems fit to make the smallest PC-gaming powerhouses we've seen yet, and systems bearing it are supposed to launch this month. The first such machine appears to be Intel's NUC8i7HVK—more easily identified by its codename, Hades Canyon. We're as eager to learn how Kaby Lake-G runs as any of you are, and we found what appears to be the first review of a Hades Canyon NUC over on Korean hardware and gaming site Playwares.

If you're curious about the specifications of the NUC, you can check its Intel ARK page, which will probably tell you most of what you want to know. The short version is that the reviewed kit comes with the faster of the two existing Kaby Lake-G chips (the Core i7-8809G). That part carries the hottest integrated Radeon in Intel's lineup so far: the RX Vega M GH. That chip's connected to two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots supporting memory at 2400 MT/s or faster, and to a pair of PCIe 3.0 x4-only M.2 sockets for storage expansion. The NUC comes with every whiz-bang connectivity option you could imagine, including two Thunderbolt 3 ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet, a plethora of USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a USB 3.0 Type-C port, and even an optical audio out.

Playwares does a full unboxing and teardown of the machine to reveal a copper heatsink cooled by dual fans, and the KBL-G package itself. The site also took a bunch of shots of the RX Vega control panel. Interestingly, there's no AMD branding to be found anywhere in the device's software; the control panel is a blue-and-gray Intel-skinned version of Radeon Settings. Radeon ReLive is supported along with Chill and every other Radeon-specific graphics technology.

Image: Playwares.com

Of course, what you're here to see is the performance. Playwares put the Hades Canyon NUC through a variety of both synthetic and real-world game benchmarks at stock clocks and also with a bit of GPU overclocking. Most of the tests use a resolution of 1920×1080 with "ultra" or "very high" in-game settings. At those settings, the performance of the Radeon RX Vega M GH is a bit of a mixed bag. Playwares describes the chip's performance as falling between desktop GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1060 cards, or around where an RX 570 sits.

It's important to remember that the system in question is an engineering sample and may not have fully-tuned firmware or software. It's also worth remembering that this is a NUC. Equipped with two SO-DIMMs and a Samsung 960 EVO SSD, Playwares' sample of the NUC8i7HVK drew just 140 W from the wall on average with a peak of 155.3 W. Even overclocked, the power draw only peaked at 186 W. The NUC comes with a 230 W power adapter that should be solid for the lifetime of the machine. Curiously, Playwares reports that the CPU did not throttle even as it approached 110° C.

Overall, Playwares seems to have come away from Hades Canyon impressed with the little machine. The site remarks the NUC gets very noisy when overclocked, but also says that since the RX Vega M GH's HBM2 runs at a relatively low clock rate, overclocking it is "essential." Playwares ultimately says the system's gaming performance is adequate in general and impressive given its size. The Google translation of the article is fairly comprehensible, so even if you don't read Korean you still might enjoy heading over to Playwares and check out the review. Thanks to TechPowerUp for the tip-off.

Comments closed
    • tygrus
    • 2 years ago

    It’s called “Hades” because the co-operation between Intel and AMD would happen when Hell freezes over. LOL

      • tipoo
      • 2 years ago

      That makes so much sense I hope it’s true lol.

      Ice Lake, hell freezing over, sea of fire…They should start thinking of something creative to do with the next collaboration, there must be something there!

    • squeeb
    • 2 years ago

    Pretty cool looking machine. Guessing the ideal gaming setup here would be with an eGPU.

    • anotherengineer
    • 2 years ago

    hmmm So is Intel going to enter the console market with this? The console PC, could command a bigger price than the other big 3, and have more appeal.
    hmmmm

    • NovusBogus
    • 2 years ago

    That’s a lot of power draw for a SFF machine. I see where they’re going with this, but for that kind of money I’d rather just get a mini ITX desktop. Why not use Iris Plus for this kind of deal? It’s notably better than regular IGP while still being very efficient. OEMs’ insistence on using bottom rung silicon is their problem but Intel’s reluctance to bring out the big guns on their own wholly controlled platform has never made sense.

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      This thing’s GPU performance is much much stronger than what you’d get from even the best integrated graphics (and that goes for both AMD and Intel). The biggest issue with this particular product is that it’s so small that clearly it doesn’t have the greatest cooling solution in the world.

      Intel has stated that it intends to enter the discrete GPU market, although I’d be shocked if they have a working product on the market at any point before late 2020 (and 2020 is being optimistic). When Intel does enter the discrete GPU market, don’t expect to see standard video cards as their primary product. Instead, expect to see a refined version of what you see here that integrates the CPU & GPU very tightly (probably using EMIB) in a single product that goes beyond what we see in these initial products.

        • NovusBogus
        • 2 years ago

        It is indeed much more powerful, but also hot, loud, large, and expensive compared to a regular NUC and inflexible, possibly loud, and expensive compared to a mini ITX system. Intel lists the board as being 5.5 x 8 inches, the case will be a bit larger, which isn’t all that much less than a compact ITX case. I typically love adorable little NUCs, but I’m just not seeing the advantages of going with this one.

        Suppose, on the other hand, they made one with an updated version of the i3-7167U for like $300. That would be a really appealing choice for HTPC, light gaming, and simple 3D CAD work because Iris is competitive with entry level dGPUs and the whole thing would run on about 50 watts and live in the classic NUC case. Sure it won’t be a powerhouse, but those who really want to have a powerhouse are just gonna go with the discrete card that they can upgrade in two years. Intel does sometimes ship Iris on the flagship product, but again they run into the issue of it becoming so expensive that only diehard SFF enthusiasts can justify both the money cost and the opportunity cost relative to other alternatives.

          • DavidC1
          • 2 years ago

          They do have a Coffeelake-U NUC coming. Probably around April when 300-series chipset releases.

          They are just covering all bases by doing this. Plus, I’m not sure if the chip like i7 8809G can fit on a decent notebook. So far, only 65W version has been used.

    • mtcn77
    • 2 years ago

    All thank Intel for helping AMD’s semi-customs look good. ~1050Ti-Rx570@’Xbox 1X TDP’! “Noisy vs. Silent”!
    PS: [url<]https://www.gamersnexus.net/guides/3213-xbox-one-x-vs-500-dollar-pc-benchmarks-destiny-2-assassins-creed[/url<] Even [s<]Playstation 4 Pro[/s<] 'Xbox 1X' is more fluid than [s<]1080Ti@4K[/s<] '1050Ti'@4K...

      • Kretschmer
      • 2 years ago

      That Playstation 4 Pro is also running at lower detail settings, upscaling to 4K, or both. It’s a silly comparison.

      • tipoo
      • 2 years ago

      Where the majority of games run at 30fps, use the hardware checkerboard upscaling of the Pro, and use generally lowered detail and texture resolutions…

      Run the 1080TI at what the PS4 Pro actually runs at and it crushes and with better looking results, as obviously it should for the cost. The checkerboarding hardware is a cool addition and I’d like to borrow it on PC, but the PS4 Pro is very visibly reduced from a 1080 in comparisons.

    • ptsant
    • 2 years ago

    Has lots of connectivity. Good!

    • Airmantharp
    • 2 years ago

    RX570/GTX1050Ti+ performance good, power draw not so good-

    I wonder if the NUC parts are ‘lower bins’ that what will be shipped for laptops, because ~200w is solidly DTR territory!

      • Kretschmer
      • 2 years ago

      Peak at stock clocks was 155.3 watts. That’s DTR replacement territory, but not insane for a laptop.

        • chuckula
        • 2 years ago

        155 watts measured at the wall for a full-bore quad core Kaby Lake that turbos north of 4GHz and a very respectable GPU + HBM is fine, especially considering that PSU is basically an oversized wall wart that definitely isn’t 90%+ efficient.

          • thecoldanddarkone
          • 2 years ago

          While I think this is competitive its not a silver bullet.

          It’s a 140 watts running a game.

          That’s more than the dell 7577 7700hq with the gtx1060max Q while it’s running prime and fur at the same time. I’ll reserve final judgement when I see it in a laptop.

            • Airmantharp
            • 2 years ago

            That’s why I’m hoping for lower realized TDPs in parts that ship in mobile products. Very interesting possibilities if they can pull that off in terms of form factor and battery life!

            • thecoldanddarkone
            • 2 years ago

            A 1070 Q max laptops pulls about the same amount of power gaming as this does. I don’t have a choice but to have major reservations until it’s actually in a laptop. A zbook g4 17 inch with a p5000 also pulls about the same amount of power as this did while gaming.

            I’ll wait till they earn my praises. lol

            • strangerguy
            • 2 years ago

            I managed to undervolt my 8700K 4.3GHz all core/32GB DDR4-3000/1070 to just pull 170W off the wall in Witcher 3 maxed with only ~8% FPS deficit versus stock that draws a good 100W more. And that’s with an extra 2 cores, one HDD, 6 fans, next to zero noise and overheating problems.

            So the NUC isn’t even that impressive on the perf/W front against an current gen desktop albeit a highly tweaked one let alone a laptop, especially with NV’s next-gen GPU around the corner.

        • Redocbew
        • 2 years ago

        True. Removing 150-ish watts from an enclosure that size doesn’t leave me optimistic about noise levels, but I suppose it won’t be running flat out unless you’re gaming. It could easily be quite reasonable otherwise.

          • Airmantharp
          • 2 years ago

          I do thoroughly expect this system to be quiet at idle and under many usage scenarios.

      • NoOne ButMe
      • 2 years ago

      RTFA?

        • NoOne ButMe
        • 2 years ago

        Apparently I need to clarify:
        If you read the ******* article you would see that it uses an average of 140W at stock. Not 200. In fact overclocked it peaks at 185 watts…

        140 watts average from the wall is solidly in the range of a laptop with a i7 and GTX 1060. You’ll Find plenty of thin laptops with decent battery life with that combo via Optimus.

        This is a bit slower on the GPU side, but probably a bit faster on the CPU side.

    • dodozoid
    • 2 years ago

    Is it just me or does that “copper heatsink” looks a lot like a huge vapour chamber?

      • Airmantharp
      • 2 years ago

      This is what high-end GPUs use, and would make sense for the power draw

        • dodozoid
        • 2 years ago

        How comes he gets all dem upvotes and I get nothing? I demand at least +7

          • DancinJack
          • 2 years ago

          Asking/demanding upvotes will definitely do the opposite. Also, who cares?

            • dodozoid
            • 2 years ago

            How to mark attempted joke? /s? Does it look like I was serious?
            Edit: now give me those upvotes

            • Redocbew
            • 2 years ago

            You get one, but that’s it.

            • dodozoid
            • 2 years ago

            Thank, you kind sir! Thou shall have mine upvote then!

    • Kretschmer
    • 2 years ago

    Since upcoming laptops are using the weaker “GL” chips (with half the ROPs), should we expect them to slot in under the mobile 1050? That would be rather disappointing.

    Edit: GH->GL

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      Wait, what? I think I must have missed some news.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 2 years ago

        [i<]Kretschmer[/i<] is either slightly confused or intentionally trolling you. Radeon Vega M GH graphics in the Core i7-8809G in this NUC has 24 Vega compute units. Packages with Radeon Vega M GL graphics have 20 Vega compute units. [url<]https://ark.intel.com/products/codename/136847/Kaby-Lake-G?q=kaby%20lake%20g[/url<] [url<]https://techreport.com/review/33042/intel-eighth-gen-core-processors-with-radeon-rx-vega-m-graphics-revealed[/url<]

          • Kretschmer
          • 2 years ago

          Per the TR story, the RX Vega M GH processes 64 ROP Pixels/Clock.
          The RX Vega M GL processes 32 ROP Pixels/Clock.

          I don’t know how ROP-limited today’s GPUs are, so perhaps it’s not as important? I was looking at some of the Vega M laptops that are coming out eagerly, but will probably end up with discrete graphics if “GL” Vega M is slow.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 2 years ago

            Oh I thought you meant there were notebook versions of GL that cut it in half further. That’s no different than the 1050 and 1050Ti, and I don’t think that’s the problem these days anyway. Not for typical 1080p gaming notebook resolutions anyway.

            • synthtel2
            • 2 years ago

            The GL’s mix of resources is close enough to normal for AMD, and the GH is the outlier with tons of ROP.

            • Kretschmer
            • 2 years ago

            Ah that’s good news, then. My laptop just died, so I will be intently following upcoming Kaby-Lake G devices.

    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    I didn’t realize Warhammer 2 was such a demanding game. Just bad coding, or?

      • sweatshopking
      • 2 years ago

      It’s complicated, gorgeous, and tons going on. I need it, but don’t own it. My Warhammer 1 is so lonely.

    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    I’m lazy. Can someone tell me what this system costs (so I can complain that it’s too expensive)

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      $49.99

        • chuckula
        • 2 years ago

        Plus $2,500 S&H.

          • Redocbew
          • 2 years ago

          And it’ll still show up with a dent in the box.

          MSRP is 799-999 depending on the model, then add another 300 to 400 depending your choice of memory and storage.

      • Xeno5000
      • 2 years ago

      800 for the GL, and 1000 for the GH. Sounds high but if you look at the cost of graphics cards now and add in the motherboard and an i7 then it’s not too far off. I have multiple NUC computers and love them all. I’m going to use this to replace my desktop.

    • DancinJack
    • 2 years ago

    APPLE IF YOU DON’T PUT ONE OF THESE IN THE MAC MINI YOU MIGHT AS WELL CLOSE UP SHOP.

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      YES! THE MAC-MINI CASE WILL CERTAINLY COVER UP THAT WACKY SKULL LOGO NICELY!

        • Airmantharp
        • 2 years ago

        Can I have the Mac Mini, but with the skull?

        Thanks!

      • tipoo
      • 2 years ago

      Macbook Pro with this wheeeennnnn

      Wonder what they’ll do with it, usually they make a case design that sticks around 5 years, but the G package allows significant space savings. Hopefully they extend the battery into it and increase the cooling area. Not just thinner with lateral gains in all other areas.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 2 years ago

        As someone who bought a current-generation MBP at the end of January, I’m hoping MBP is still a ways out. 😆

          • tipoo
          • 2 years ago

          I suppose I could buy your crummy ancient model off your hands for tree fiddy

            • derFunkenstein
            • 2 years ago

            that’s a very generous offer

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      Yes please.

      • PatrThom
      • 2 years ago

      I was also hoping they would consider building around one of those 8/12/16-core [url=https://ark.intel.com/products/codename/63508/Denverton<]Denverton[/url<] processors. I could do a lot with a 12-core Mini humming along in my basement.

      • UberGerbil
      • 2 years ago

      Humor aside, the #1 use of the Mini that I’ve seen is as the cheapest-possible build machine for iOS apps (for people frustrated with trying to do that on Macbooks or who otherwise aren’t bought into the Apple ecosystem). For that you’re looking for threads, and per-thread performance, not graphics.

      • SkyWarrior
      • 2 years ago

      Yes. Me wants the same thingy. With or without the skull.

      • NTMBK
      • 2 years ago

      Apple still make Mac Minis?!

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]Overall, Playwares seems to have come away from Hades Canyon impressed with the little machine.[/quote<] Looks like Hades freezing over might produce some unkrogothic reactions. Edit: Although I will say, I'm kinda Krogothed about the real [url=https://goo.gl/maps/KkdQqMqG5572<]Hades Canyon[/url<]. It's more like Hades Oversized Ditch.

      • MOSFET
      • 2 years ago

      but Defa’s Dude Ranch is right there!

        • chuckula
        • 2 years ago

        Good to see that DDR is in good supply somewhere!

      • Brainsan
      • 2 years ago

      Hey, that’s almost local.

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