Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
“The Hades Canyon NUC is an unparalleled demonstration of pint-sized gaming energy.”
Sturdy processor benchmarks
Wonderful recreation efficiency
Stays cool and quiet underneath load
Not one of the best worth
Exhausting drive, RAM, and OS bought individually
What in case your gaming desktop didn’t need to be large and loud? What if it have been smaller than a tissue field, and no louder than a laptop computer? And what if that very same desktop might deal with absolutely anything else you throw at it, from on a regular basis net looking to video enhancing?
These are the questions posed by Intel’s newest Subsequent Unit of Computing (NUC), higher identified by its ‘Hades Canyon’ codename. The best way it solutions is a giant deal. NUC isn’t a mainstream model for Intel, however the inside Hades Canyon is vital. The processor is Intel’s Core i7-8809G, which pairs an Intel Core processor with AMD’s Radeon RX Vega graphics.
It’s an unholy, and consequential, alliance. Hades Canyon guarantees efficiency equal to a mid-range gaming desktop in a skinny field that measures simply eight inches extensive and fewer than two inches thick. Is that this the daybreak of a brand new period for power-efficient PC gaming, or does the NUC choke on its aspirations?
What the NUC?
The primary Subsequent Unit of Computing, or NUC, was constructed by Intel six years in the past to re-imagine what a fundamental desktop would possibly seem like. Small and boxy, the road has regularly pioneered cutting-edge efficiency in pint-sized machines. If you happen to haven’t heard of it, nevertheless, don’t be stunned. The aim of NUC is to not compete with PC builders like Dell and HP. As a substitute it’s meant to encourage new, thinner, smaller designs, in addition to entice enterprise clients who may even see worth in rolling out lots of of small, similar computer systems.
Oh, and it might probably deal with as much as six shows directly. That’s nuts.
The Hades Canyon NUC, like its predecessors, isn’t meant for the common joe. It doesn’t ship with RAM or a tough drive put in. A Home windows license is MIA. You need to purchase and set up all that your self.
The absence of key doesn’t imply a cut price worth, both. There’s two variations of the Hades Canyon NUC. Our overview unit, which is VR-Prepared and contains an unlocked GPU, is $1,000. A much less highly effective model, which has Intel’s locked Core i7-8705G and a much less highly effective model of AMD’s Radeon RX Vega, is out there for $800. The RAM, storage and working system it’s essential to purchase will add $300 to $500 to the worth of both, relying on what you select.
Little field, with a number of ports
Although small by most requirements, Hades Canyon is the largest NUC thus far. Measuring nearly 9 inches extensive, about 5 inches deep, and 1.75 inches tall, it’s fairly a bit bigger than even Cranium Canyon, Intel’s first try at a gaming NUC. In comparison with a full desktop, nevertheless, Hades Canyon is diminutive. The Alienware’s Alpha R2 is nearly as small at eight inches on a facet and two inches thick, but it surely’s about 60 p.c bigger by quantity. That’s a distinction you’ll discover in the event you see them side-by-side.
The majority Hades Canyon provides over Cranium Canyon goes to the cooling resolution, which is way bigger than earlier than and now makes use of a vapor chamber design similar to that present in Razer’s Blade Professional laptop computer and the Xbox One X.
Regardless of its measurement, the Hades Canyon NUC needs to show itself equal to a giant tower desktop, and never simply in efficiency. It additionally brings a powerful array of connectivity. That features entrance and rear HDMI 2.0a ports, two Mini-DisplayPort, two Thunderbolt three, two gigabit Ethernet, front-mounted USB-C three.1 Gen2, and 5 whole USB three.zero Sort-A. There’s an SDXC slot, stereo jacks, TOSLINK, and even a far-field microphone. However wait, it will get even higher! There’s additionally a VESA mounting plate, so you may connect the gadget to the again of a VESA-compatible monitor or tv.
Oh, and it might probably deal with as much as six shows directly. That’s nuts. Most tower PCs can’t do this.
The internals are equally spectacular. The lid, as soon as eliminated, supplies quick access to 2 DDR4-2400+ slots that may deal with as much as 32GB of reminiscence. There’s additionally two M.2 laborious drive connectors with assist for NVMe, SATA3, and Intel’s Optane reminiscence. 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth four.2 are current, as properly.
All that’s unimportant, although, in comparison with Hades Canyon’s key function. A glowing cranium on the lid. It lights up at any time when it’s powered on — the cranium outlined in blue, whereas offended eyes shine crimson. It’s a easy, efficient contact that makes the NUC greater than one other black field. Don’t fear – you may flip the cranium off if it annoys you.
A laptop computer CPU does its finest desktop impression
The Intel Core i7-8809G is a brand new chip, however the processor itself isn’t the actual story. It’s a typical instance of high-end cellular from Intel with 4 cores, eight threads, and a most increase clock pace of four.2GHz. The i7-8809G does profit from a thermal design energy properly past what most laptops enable, which implies it doesn’t need to throttle its efficiency as typically as a laptop computer chip. That pays dividends in benchmarks.
Hades Canyon hit a single-core rating of four,588 in Geekbench four, and a multi-core rating of 16,176. These numbers beat laptops with Eighth-generation Core processors, in addition to the Core i3-8100 quad-core in Dell’s XPS 8930 desktop. You’ll see higher efficiency from a god-tier desktop like Origin’s Millennium, which scored 25,857 within the multi-core check, however Hades Canyon doesn’t disappoint. Its efficiency is on-par with what we count on from desktop computer systems bought for round $1,000 (although keep in mind the laborious drive and RAM it’s essential to buy will up the NUC’s value).
Our video encoding check, which makes use of Handbrake to transcode a 4K trailer from h.264 to h.265, was additionally favorable for the NUC. It wanted two minutes and 47 minutes to finish the duty. Even top-tier laptops, just like the Dell XPS 13 and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga, want 4 to 5 minutes.
Intel shipped our overview unit with an 120GB Optane drive alongside a 512GB strong state drive. That’s loads of quick storage however, as talked about, the NUC doesn’t ship with it included. You need to purchase storage individually. We think about most house owners will buy extra reasonably priced storage, like WD’s Blue 500GB M.2 drive.
Elevating the on-board graphics bar
Whereas the NUC’s processor efficiency is superb, the actual story is what it’s paired with; AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics. The precise configuration included with the Core i7-8809G known as Radeon RX Vega M GH. It has 24 compute items, a base clock pace of 1,063MHz, and a most “dynamic” frequency of 1,190MHz, all pairs with 4 gigabytes of HBM2 reminiscence. The GPU alone rivals the efficiency of a PlayStation four Professional.
The Vega GPU absolutely helps DirectX 12, Vulkan, and OpenGL four.5, in addition to 4K output at 60Hz. You possibly can, in truth, energy as much as six shows off Hades Canyon – extremely spectacular for such a small rig.
All that is managed by a reskin of AMD’s Radeon driver software program. The colour scheme has modified from crimson to blue and AMD logos have been substituted for Intel, but it surely’s the identical look with a lot of the identical options, together with Wattman for overclocking, Chill for quieter use in much less demanding eventualities, and FreeSync.
The usage of AMD drivers is reassuring as a result of driver assist has been a serious drawback for Intel graphics prior to now. We’re skeptical about future updates, nevertheless, as a result of Intel hasn’t dedicated to a schedule. It’ll be a disappointment if the drivers are up to date as soon as each few months and even much less.
What the longer term holds we are able to’t say, however we are able to inform you how Hades Canyon performs proper now – and it’s spectacular.
Hades Canyon enters the 3DMark check sturdy, scoring eight,469 within the Fireplace Strike check. That’s nearly precisely what we noticed from Dell’s Inspiron 15 7577 Gaming, which we examined with Nvidia’s GTX 1060 Max-Q graphics. It’s simply barely behind the HP Omen 15 which, once more, had the GTX 1060 Max-Q.
The Dell XPS 8930, a tower desktop with a regular GTX 1060 card, scored notably higher at 9,767, however Hades Canyon remains to be in the identical ballpark. And the NUC simply beats the Acer Nitro 5 Spin, which scored 5,209 when geared up with a GTX 1050 Ti.
We noticed comparable leads to video games. Rocket League and Civilization VI have been dealt with with ease; even the latter averaged 47 frames per second at 1440p and Extremely element settings. Battlefield 1 averaged higher than 60 FPS at 1080p decision and Extremely element. The sport managed a mean of 49 FPS at 1440p decision and Extremely element.
You possibly can play jaw-dropping titles at most element, in the event you accept 1080p decision
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was, as typical, the actual problem. Nonetheless, the sport averaged 33 frames per second at 1080p decision and Extremely element. It additionally averaged 31.7 FPS at 1440p and Excessive element. The sport is completely gratifying – in the event you hand over on the dream of 60 FPS gameplay or something near it.
Benchmarks apart, we needed to see what it was like in the actual world – so we used it for an extended weekend of gaming. Hades Canyon proved a succesful gaming companion. This isn’t simply because its highly effective, although the benchmarks do present it’s a fast machine. The NUC additionally advantages from immediately’s extra forgiving mainstream video games.
Wish to play The Witcher three or Last Fantasy XV with all the things turned up? This isn’t the machine for you. That’s not what we normally do, although – we extra typically discover ourselves taking part in Overwatch, Fortnite, or Rocket League. Video games like these run with out bother on Hades Canyon.
You possibly can play jaw-dropping titles at excessive and even most element, nevertheless, in the event you accept 1080p decision and 30 to 45 frames per second. For that motive – and since you may’t improve the GPU sooner or later — we expect Hades Canyon is finest when paired with a high-refresh 1080p monitor.
Gaming is sufficient ambition for a PC as small as Hades Canyon, however Intel hasn’t stopped there. The corporate additionally says it might probably deal with digital actuality. Actually, that appears half the explanation for its unimaginable buffet of connectivity. VR headsets demand loads of USB and video connections.
Having fun with VR on a system this small could seem loopy, however there’s logic to it. It’s fairly troublesome and annoying to hook up a headset to a big desktop. That goes double if the headset is ever moved between computer systems – as is frequent, as a result of having a VR headset related 24-7 will be annoying. Higher nonetheless, a small PC opens the opportunity of pairing it with a battery pack and having fun with tether-free VR.
The NUC’s energy is chopping the minimal necessities for VR shut, nevertheless. VRMark’s best check, Orange, reached a rating of two,583. The benchmark’s notes mentioned that rating was inadequate to vow a clean VR expertise, since framerates typically dipped under 60 frames per second, nevermind the 90 FPS that’s preferable.
Our restricted expertise confirmed success will rely completely on what you attempt to do. Star Trek: Bridge Crew was no drawback on the Vive, however you’re not going to have the ability to use the Vive Professional easily. Ultimately, the VR verdict is rather a lot just like the system’s gaming efficiency – it’s greater than sufficient for a lot of titles, but it surely’s not going to deal with cutting-edge VR experiences with all of the settings turned up.
Intel’s Hades Canyon NUC is early, definitive proof that the corporate’s partnership with AMD will probably be fruitful. We’re amazed to see a system so small deal with all of the titles in our check suite at 1080p and most element. Pricing, and the NUC’s area of interest viewers, are its solely obstacles. $1,000 is rather a lot to ask for a PC missing a tough drive, RAM, or working system, irrespective of how spectacular its different .
Is there a greater various?
The Alienware Alpha R2 was the gold normal on this section, however an absence of up to date means it nonetheless gives solely a sixth-generation Intel Core processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 graphics.
Different choices embrace the MSI Trident three and Zotac’s Magnus line – however once more, these programs are a era or two behind the Hades Canyon NUC. The rivals are inexpensive, however none supply as a lot efficiency per cubic inch.
How lengthy will it final?
Intel ships Hades Canyon with a three-year guarantee. That’s uncommon for a desktop. We expect it’ll wrestle to stay related to gaming for longer than its guarantee, as extra demanding video games will definitely push past the system’s limits.
Do you have to purchase it?
Sure, in the event you’re a geek.
Hades Canyon fills a beautiful area of interest. If you happen to’re keen to slap in a tough drive and RAM your self, this NUC will show an excellent compact gaming PC. If that’s not you, don’t fear. We’re certain the Core i7-8809G will seem in rigs constructed by main manufacturers later this 12 months.