Our testing methods
We'll be presenting the results we gathered with the Zbox Magnus EN970 alongside those we collected for the mini-PCs and AMD APUs in our NUC5i7RYH review. We'll also compare the Zbox's performance to several CPUs from our Core i7-6700K review. We used the same applications and testing methods as in the Broadwell-based NUC review. The Core i3-4360, Pentium G3258, and AMD APUs were tested with their integrated graphics solutions. The other systems were tested with a GeForce GTX 980 graphics card. Thanks to Zotac for supplying the Zbox Magnus EN970 for review.
Staying with the same applications and conditions allows us to put the EN970's performance in a broader context. The EN970's unusual pairing of a mobile CPU and discrete graphics should make for interesting comparisons to a wide range of systems. In particular, the Core i5-5250U found in the NUC5i5RYK has the same 2.7GHz Turbo frequency as the Zbox's Core i5-5200U, but a much lower base frequency of 1.6GHz. For the most part, we expect the two CPUs to perform similarly, assuming there's plenty of thermal headroom.
To make the graphs easier to read, we've highlighted the mobile-Broadwell-based systems in orange.
Memory subsystem performance
There aren't any surprises here. Since they're both equipped with DDR3-1600 memory, the Zbox and the Core i5 NUC are neck-and-neck.
The productivity benchmarks are broken up into three cateogories: web, compression, and video encoding.
While the Zbox came in dead last in SunSpider, the bottom end of the graph is packed closely together. Zotac's mighty mite makes something of a comeback in Kraken, though. Despite the Zbox's relatively poor showing here, I found browsing the web using Chrome to be plenty fast and responsive.
In our 7-Zip and video encoding tests, the Zbox Magnus EN970 runs neck-and-neck with the NUC5i5RYK. Since the Zbox's Core i5-5200U (along with the mobile CPUs found in the NUC5i5RYK and NUC5i7RYH) only has a pair of cores with Hyper-Threading, it can fall behind in tasks that can use lots of threads. 7-Zip especially seems to use all the resources it can get, and the Zbox stumbles there.
Obviously, not all Broadwells are created equal. In Handbrake, the desktop-Broadwell Core i7-5775C system completes the job in roughly a third of the time the Zbox does. The Core i7-5775C has a 37% higher maximum Turbo clock speed and a much more generous 65W thermal envelope compared to our 15W, dual-core mobile Broadwell variant, but I think the fact it has four cores explains most of the gap. x264 encoding tells a similar tale, and the gap between the two Broadwell-based systems is even bigger there.