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Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK (i7-8809G, Radeon RX Vega M GH) Mini PC Review

Fast as Hell. Hades himself would own one of these if he wanted a mini PC for gaming. The unlocked NUC rivals a GTX 1060 laptop in raw graphics horsepower while having the CPU performance of a stock Core i7-7700K - all in an integrated chipset under a vapor chamber cooler.

Similar to how the original Asus Zephyrus was the premier Nvidia Max-Q notebook, the latest Intel NUC has become the poster child for Intel's Kaby Lake-G series. Hades Canyon is the direct successor to the 2016 Skull Canyon NUC and it is set to be the first - and so far only - consumer product with the unlocked 8th gen Core i7-8809G CPU, discrete Radeon RX Vega M GH GPU, and HBM2 graphics memory all in a single 100 W TDP package. It's a lot of firsts for such a small mini PC and so Intel is putting a lot of faith in its performance to prove that the surprising partnership with AMD is more than just smoke and mirrors.

Our review unit today is the higher-end NUC8i7HVK SKU while a lower-end NUC8i7HNK SKU with the slower i7-8705G CPU and Radeon RX Vega M GL GPU is also available. Intel has been marketing the i7-8809G as a direct alternative to the all-popular GTX 1060 and GTX 1060 Max-Q and so the list of competing devices can be populated with mainstream gaming notebooks and GTX-based mini PCs alike. The MSI GS series, Zotac ZBox series, Gigabyte Sabre series, and the Razer Blade series can all be considered competitors in terms of raw performance and gaming potential.

The entry-level and high-end barebone SKUs retail for $800 USD and $1000 USD, respectively, not unlike most gaming mini PCs and SFF solutions. Our particular unit is equipped with 16 GB of DDR4 RAM and a primary Intel Optane 800p SSD for testing purposes.

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Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH - 4096 MB, Core: 1190 MHz, Memory: 800 MHz, HBM2, 23.20.792.1792
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4, SDRAM, PC4-25600, 1600 MHz, 20-22-22-42, Dual-Channel
Mainboard
Intel HM175 (Skylake PCH-H)
Storage
Intel Optane 120 GB SSDPEK1W120GA, 110 GB 
, Secondary: Intel SSDSCKKW512GB
Soundcard
ATI/AMD Polaris22 - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
7 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 2 Thunderbolt, 2 HDMI, 3 DisplayPort, 1 Infrared, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo, TOSLINK, Card Reader: SDXC reader
Networking
Intel Ethernet Connection I219-LM (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 39 x 221 x 142 ( = 1.54 x 8.7 x 5.59 in)
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Additional features
Manual, VESA mounting bracket, LED Manager, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.334 kg ( = 47.06 oz / 2.94 pounds), Power Supply: 907 g ( = 31.99 oz / 2 pounds)
Price
1000 USD
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case - A thicker Skull Canyon

The chassis design takes on the familiar appearance of the last generation NUC down to its shape, plastic material, and honeycomb grilles. It's a subtle and unostentatious look that should work well in both professional and home environments.

Quality is firm on all sides with slight but unconcerning creaking when attempting to twist or press on the unit. Surfaces feel thicker and more rigid than on a Zotac Magnus EN1060 series equivalent due in part to having less hollow space inside and an internal metal plate for reinforcement.

In terms of size and weight, the Hades Canyon NUC is thicker (27.9 vs. 39 mm), larger (.69 L vs. 1.2 L), and over twice as heavy (0.63 kg vs. 1.3 kg) as the previous generation model. The increase in girth and density can be partly attributed to the significantly larger cooling solution that a 100 W TDP package demands. It's all relative, however, as the unit is still lighter and smaller than competing mini PCs with GeForce GPUs like the ZBox Magnus EN51050. Owners of a MacBook Pro 13 already have an idea of how dense the Intel NUC is as both weigh almost the same.

Connectivity - Ports galore

Intel didn't let the larger size go to waste as there is an abundant number of available ports. There are at least two of almost every port including Thunderbolt 3, Gigabit RJ-45, mini-DisplayPort, HDMI, and USB to be more than what larger SFF PCs offer like the MSI Trident 3 or Asus GR8 II. Port spacing is uniform if not a bit tight along the rear. The Vega M GPU can output up to 6 independent 4K displays simultaneously on the higher-end SKU only. We would like to see a HDMI-in port in the future to further establish the NUC as a home multimedia system.

A minor but noteworthy annoyance is that the USB ports on the rear of the unit are upside-down while the front USB ports are right-side up. It's certainly not a deal breaker, but it's headache inducing nonetheless.

Front: Power button, IR receiver, SD reader, USB 3.1, USB 2.0, HDMI 2.0a, USB Type-C Gen. 2, 3.5 mm combo audio
Front: Power button, IR receiver, SD reader, USB 3.1, USB 2.0, HDMI 2.0a, USB Type-C Gen. 2, 3.5 mm combo audio
Left: Kensington Lock
Left: Kensington Lock
Rear: Optical/SPDIF, AC adapter, 2x Thunderbolt 3, 2x mini-DisplayPort 1.3, 2x Gigabit RJ-45, 4x USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0a
Rear: Optical/SPDIF, AC adapter, 2x Thunderbolt 3, 2x mini-DisplayPort 1.3, 2x Gigabit RJ-45, 4x USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0a
Right: No connectivity
Right: No connectivity

SD Card Reader

Transfer rates from the SD reader are average at about 88 MB/s. Moving 1 GB worth of photos from our Toshiba UHS-II test card takes just under 13 seconds compared to under 6 seconds on some high-end gaming notebooks like the GS73VR. While not as fast as we had hoped, the NUC card reader is at least faster than the card readers of Zotac ZBox systems.

The card reader is not spring-loaded and a fully inserted SD card will still protrude by about half its length.

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SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
MSI GS73VR 7RG
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
182.9 MB/s ∼100% +126%
Dell XPS 13 i5-8250U
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
130.7 MB/s ∼71% +61%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
81 MB/s ∼44%
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN51050
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
43.3 MB/s ∼24% -47%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
MSI GS73VR 7RG
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
212.24 MB/s ∼100% +140%
Dell XPS 13 i5-8250U
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
194 MB/s ∼91% +120%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
88.27 MB/s ∼42%
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN51050
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
41.68 MB/s ∼20% -53%

Software

For visual customization, the easy-to-use LED Manager allows 16.7 million colors for the outer plate skull, three front LEDs, and the power button. The handy 'Disable All LEDs' option turns off all colors to make the NUC more appropriate for professional or work settings.

The Radeon RX Vega M settings software is nearly identical to the AMD Radeon Settings menu found on newer Radeon GPUs but with a fresh coat of blue paint. Users can access Radeon-specific features like ReLive, WattMan, Chill, FreeSync, and core hardware info through the settings menu. Many of these features are hidden through branching menus which can be annoying to users unfamiliar with the menu setup. Perhaps a "Search" feature could make navigation easier.

LED Manager for customizing the six different LEDs
LED Manager for customizing the six different LEDs
Radeon settings now in Blue and White instead of Red and Gray
Radeon settings now in Blue and White instead of Red and Gray

Communication

The included 2x2 Intel 8265 WLAN module is capable of theoretical transfer rates of up to 867 Mbps with support for Bluetooth 4.2. Our real-world test standing one meter away from our Linksys EA8500 test router returns an average transfer rate of 591 Mbps. The NUC lacks the large antennae that most Zotac gaming mini PCs carry and so its range will likely drop off more quickly from room to room. Competing systems with the Killer 1535 or 1435 have more gaming-centric features and software than what Intel has provided here.

We can note no unexpected drops or connectivity issues during our time with the test unit. 

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
653 MBit/s ∼100% +10%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i5 UHD
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
639 MBit/s ∼98% +8%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
591 MBit/s ∼91%
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN51050
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
327 MBit/s ∼50% -45%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Dell XPS 13 9370 i5 UHD
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
505 MBit/s ∼100% +34%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
376 MBit/s ∼74%
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
305 MBit/s ∼60% -19%
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN51050
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
219 MBit/s ∼43% -42%

Accessories

Included extras are a Quick Start guide, Hex wrench, mounting screws, and a 75 mm/100 mm VESA plate. The bottom plate of the NUC must be removed with a Philips screwdriver in order to properly mount the VESA plate. Unlike on the Skull Canyon NUC, Hades Canyon does not come with an extra top plate for users to swap.

Maintenance

The top panel is removable once again and it will require a relatively large T8 Hex wrench whereas notebooks like the XPS 13 or Razer Blade utilize smaller T5 Hex screws. Popping the panel reveals the LED skull and the protective metal plate. A single Philips screw must be removed before lifting the plate that the included manual fails to mention.

Once inside, users have direct access to 2x DDR4 SODIMM slots, 2x M.2 2280 storage bays, and the BIOS battery. Additional disassembly is required to reach the processor on the other side of the motherboard.

Disconnect the ribbon and remove the Philips screw before lifting the protective plate
Disconnect the ribbon and remove the Philips screw before lifting the protective plate
Storage and RAM are upgradeable without voiding the warranty
Storage and RAM are upgradeable without voiding the warranty

Warranty

Intel NUCs are covered by a limited three-year warranty worldwide or two years longer than most electronics in North America.

Performance - HBM2 for the first time in a consumer device

At its most basic and rudimentary level, the 100 W TDP Core i7-8809G can be thought of as a quad-core HQ-series CPU connected to a custom discrete AMD Vega GPU via an 8x PCIe 3.0 bus. Intel says that the physical distance between the CPU and GPU is deliberately wide to avoid a very hot point heat source and to aid in cooling should both processors be stressed simultaneously. Although Intel markets it as an 8th gen CPU, the processor portion has more in common with a 45 W 7th gen i7-7820HK than a mobile 8th gen Coffee Lake-H CPU since it only carries four physical cores instead of six. To address this, Intel has implemented "Dynamic Tuning" where the CPU can take advantage of the larger TDP budget when the GPU is otherwise not stressed and vice versa. Intel promises an 18 percent higher performance-per-Watt with its tighter power management controls.

As if the Intel CPU and AMD GPU pairing wasn't crazy enough, the NUC also utilizes 4 GB of HBM2 (High-Bandwidth Memory 2) for video RAM in place of the common DDR4 or GDDR5. While HBM2 is likely costlier per GB, it occupies less real-estate than both alternatives while being more energy efficient. Intel was headstrong in producing a chipset with the CPU, GPU, and VRAM all in one package for mini PCs and laptops.

Note that the lower-end i7-8705G SKU is not unlocked and is not advertised as VR compatible in contrast to the higher-end SKU. The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and HP Spectre x360 15 will carry the i7-8705G with no i7-8809G options.

 

Processor - Within reach of the Core i7-7700K

CPU performance is insanely fast even before considering the small form factor. CineBench benchmarks rank the i7-8809G 22 percent faster than the i7-6770HQ found in the Skull Canyon NUC and it's even faster than flagship laptops equipped with unlocked i7-7820HK CPUs like the HP Omen X 17. It rivals a Core i7-7700K at stock speeds while being about 25 percent slower than the hexa-core Ryzen 5 1600.

The raw scores are made even more impressive by the NUC's ability to maintain high CPU clock rates. As detailed in our Stress Test section, processor clock rates are very steady no matter the workload for consistent performance results. Running CineBench R15 Multi-Thread in a loop results in stable scores throughout the entire duration of the test whereas this same test on a MSI GS63VR 7RF results in a performance drop of about 10 percent just after the first loop.

More technical information and benchmark results on the Core i7-8809G can be found on our CPU page here.

CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R15
CineBench R15
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700710720730740750760770780790800810820830840850860870Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
190 Points ∼87% +7%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Intel Core i7-8809G
178 Points ∼82%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
Intel Core i7-8550U
170 Points ∼78% -4%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
Intel Core i7-7820HK
162 Points ∼74% -9%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
Intel Core i7-7560U
153 Points ∼70% -14%
Razer Blade (2016)
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
146 Points ∼67% -18%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
142 Points ∼65% -20%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
140 Points ∼64% -21%
Asus ROG Strix GL702ZC-GC204T
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
140 Points ∼64% -21%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Intel Core i7-6770HQ
139 Points ∼64% -22%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
134 Points ∼61% -25%
Lenovo ThinkPad A275
AMD PRO A12-9800B
75 Points ∼34% -58%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Asus ROG Strix GL702ZC-GC204T
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
1129 Points ∼26% +31%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
897 Points ∼20% +4%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Intel Core i7-8809G
864 Points ∼20%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
Intel Core i7-7820HK
770 Points ∼18% -11%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
Intel Core i7-8550U
723 Points ∼17% -16%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Intel Core i7-6770HQ
711 Points ∼16% -18%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
710 Points ∼16% -18%
Razer Blade (2016)
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
671 Points ∼15% -22%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
589 (min: 499, max: 552) Points ∼13% -32%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
507 Points ∼12% -41%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
Intel Core i7-7560U
336 Points ∼8% -61%
Lenovo ThinkPad A275
AMD PRO A12-9800B
225 Points ∼5% -74%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
2.19 Points ∼90% +10%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Intel Core i7-8809G
1.99 Points ∼82%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
Intel Core i7-8550U
1.94 Points ∼80% -3%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
Intel Core i7-7820HK
1.84 Points ∼75% -8%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Intel Core i7-6770HQ
1.66 Points ∼68% -17%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.61 Points ∼66% -19%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
1.6 Points ∼66% -20%
Asus ROG Strix GL702ZC-GC204T
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
1.55 Points ∼64% -22%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
1.53 Points ∼63% -23%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Asus ROG Strix GL702ZC-GC204T
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
12.5 Points ∼46% +33%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
9.78 Points ∼36% +4%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Intel Core i7-8809G
9.41 Points ∼35%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
Intel Core i7-7820HK
8.47 Points ∼31% -10%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
Intel Core i7-8550U
7.84 Points ∼29% -17%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Intel Core i7-6770HQ
7.76 Points ∼29% -18%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
7.13 Points ∼26% -24%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
5.85 Points ∼22% -38%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
5.71 Points ∼21% -39%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
7222 Points ∼67% +8%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Intel Core i7-8809G
6668 Points ∼62%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
Intel Core i7-8550U
6437 Points ∼59% -3%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
Intel Core i7-7820HK
6062 Points ∼56% -9%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Intel Core i7-6770HQ
5536 Points ∼51% -17%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
5426 Points ∼50% -19%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
5147 Points ∼48% -23%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
4418 Points ∼41% -34%
Asus ROG Strix GL702ZC-GC204T
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
4330 Points ∼40% -35%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
28189 Points ∼57% +9%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Intel Core i7-8809G
25809 Points ∼52%
Asus ROG Strix GL702ZC-GC204T
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
25561 Points ∼51% -1%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
Intel Core i7-7820HK
23052 Points ∼46% -11%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
Intel Core i7-8550U
22188 Points ∼45% -14%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Intel Core i7-6770HQ
21075 Points ∼42% -18%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
19801 Points ∼40% -23%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
17806 Points ∼36% -31%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
15307 Points ∼31% -41%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m
Asus ROG Strix GL702ZC-GC204T
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
353.153 s * ∼4% -89%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
247 s * ∼3% -32%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Intel Core i7-6770HQ
225.673 s * ∼3% -21%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
Intel Core i7-7820HK
215.4 s * ∼3% -15%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Intel Core i7-8809G
186.66 s * ∼2%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
176.329 s * ∼2% +6%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - ---
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
706 Seconds * ∼3% -46%
Asus ROG Strix GL702ZC-GC204T
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
693.994 Seconds * ∼3% -43%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
638.9 Seconds * ∼3% -32%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
Intel Core i7-7820HK
545.92 Seconds * ∼2% -13%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Intel Core i7-6770HQ
538.979 Seconds * ∼2% -11%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Intel Core i7-8809G
484.864 Seconds * ∼2%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
440.036 Seconds * ∼2% +9%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
13015
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
25809
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
6668
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
123.3 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
9.41 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.99 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
151.85 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
864 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
178 Points
Help

System Performance

PCMark results are some of the highest in our database with final scores rivaling that of some GTX 1080 laptops including the massive HP Omen X 17 and Acer Predator Triton 700. The Intel NUC is indubitably slower than these systems in raw graphical power and so its exotic HBM2, Optane SSD, and Kaby Lake-G intricacies are likely factors since none are found together in any other notebook. Nonetheless, users will be getting a very fast and responsive PC experience with the Intel NUC. We experienced no software or hardware hiccups during our time with the unit.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 10
PCMark 10
PCMark 10 - Score
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Vega M GH, 8809G, Intel Optane 120 GB SSDPEK1W120GA
5301 Points ∼68%
Schenker XMG Pro 17
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 500GB m.2 NVMe
4571 Points ∼59% -14%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4417 Points ∼57% -17%
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN51050
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7500T, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
4355 Points ∼56% -18%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i5 UHD
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3678 Points ∼47% -31%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
Vega 8, 2500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW256G7
2501 Points ∼32% -53%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Vega M GH, 8809G, Intel Optane 120 GB SSDPEK1W120GA
5454 Points ∼84%
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN51050
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7500T, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
5027 Points ∼77% -8%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Iris Pro Graphics 580, 6770HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO m.2 120GB
4966 Points ∼76% -9%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4544 Points ∼70% -17%
Schenker XMG Pro 17
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 500GB m.2 NVMe
4312 Points ∼66% -21%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i5 UHD
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
4140 Points ∼64% -24%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
Vega 8, 2500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW256G7
3797 Points ∼58% -30%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Vega M GH, 8809G, Intel Optane 120 GB SSDPEK1W120GA
6457 Points ∼68%
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN51050
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7500T, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
6341 Points ∼67% -2%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Iris Pro Graphics 580, 6770HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO m.2 120GB
5581 Points ∼59% -14%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
5065 Points ∼53% -22%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i5 UHD
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
4933 Points ∼52% -24%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
Vega 8, 2500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW256G7
3577 Points ∼38% -45%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Vega M GH, 8809G, Intel Optane 120 GB SSDPEK1W120GA
4833 Points ∼79%
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN51050
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7500T, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
4755 Points ∼78% -2%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Iris Pro Graphics 580, 6770HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO m.2 120GB
4323 Points ∼71% -11%
Schenker XMG Pro 17
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 500GB m.2 NVMe
3635 Points ∼60% -25%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3601 Points ∼59% -25%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i5 UHD
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3471 Points ∼57% -28%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
Vega 8, 2500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW256G7
3450 Points ∼57% -29%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4833 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
6457 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
5454 points
Help

Storage Devices - Accessible dual M.2 SSDs

Like the Skull Canyon NUC, Hades Canyon includes two internal M.2 2280 slots compatible with NVMe SSDs and RAID 0/1 features. Our particular test model is equipped with the newly launched 120 GB Intel Optane 800P SSD as the primary drive and a standard 512 GB Intel 545s SSD limited to SATA III speeds for the secondary.

Performance from the primary SSD is mixed. Sequential read and write rates are limited to PCIe x2 and the SSD itself is rated for only 1450 MB/s read and 640 MB/s write while a "traditional" PCIe x4 NVMe SSD can be two to three times faster. Optane's primary feature is improved low queue depth performance, but it comes at the cost of storage capacity. This seems to be at odds with the target gaming audience as gamers are more likely to prefer faster sequential transfer rates and higher capacities for games rather than faster transfer rates of very small files. We recommend going for a standard SATA III or NVMe SSD and waiting until Optane comes down in price and up in capacity.

See our table of SSDs and HDDs for more benchmark comparisons.

Dual DDR4 SODIMM slots adjacent to the BIOS battery
Dual DDR4 SODIMM slots adjacent to the BIOS battery
Both M.2 slots can use a combination of 2242 and 2280 SSDs
Both M.2 slots can use a combination of 2242 and 2280 SSDs
CDM 5 (Primary SSD)
CDM 5 (Primary SSD)
AS SSD (Primary SSD)
AS SSD (Primary SSD)
CDM 5 (Secondary SSD)
CDM 5 (Secondary SSD)
AS SSD (Secondary SSD)
AS SSD (Secondary SSD)
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage
 
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Intel Optane 120 GB SSDPEK1W120GA
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Samsung SSD 850 EVO m.2 120GB
Dell XPS 13 i5-8250U
Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
Razer Blade (2017) UHD
Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
Samsung SM961 MZVPW256HEGL
AS SSD
-67%
-721%
-1265%
27%
Copy Game MB/s
767.8
295.84
-61%
891.89
16%
Copy Program MB/s
342.37
213.05
-38%
317.47
-7%
Copy ISO MB/s
1125.28
357.98
-68%
1698.03
51%
Score Total
3023
919
-70%
815
-73%
1557
-48%
3848
27%
Score Write
714
268
-62%
71
-90%
80
-89%
1185
66%
Score Read
1524
424
-72%
531
-65%
1034
-32%
1795
18%
Access Time Write *
0.033
0.047
-42%
2.148
-6409%
4.467
-13436%
0.03
9%
Access Time Read *
0.025
0.075
-200%
0.244
-876%
0.036
-44%
0.039
-56%
4K-64 Write
555.59
145.21
-74%
52.32
-91%
42.59
-92%
931.95
68%
4K-64 Read
1257.95
337.36
-73%
385.7
-69%
755.1
-40%
1506.16
20%
4K Write
103.46
76.89
-26%
1.94
-98%
1.03
-99%
124.7
21%
4K Read
127.95
35.55
-72%
11.93
-91%
47.31
-63%
51.03
-60%
Seq Write
552.79
460.41
-17%
166
-70%
359.88
-35%
1280.96
132%
Seq Read
1378.66
507.5
-63%
1338
-3%
2318
68%
2382.08
73%

* ... smaller is better

Intel Optane 120 GB SSDPEK1W120GA
CDM 5/6 Read Seq Q32T1: 1521 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write Seq Q32T1: 626.7 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K Q32T1: 282.3 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K Q32T1: 323.6 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 1428 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 607.8 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K: 178.6 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K: 133.7 MB/s

GPU Performance - On par with the GTX 1060 as advertised

Whether or not the unprecedented partnership between the two biggest semiconductor rivals was worth the investment comes down to graphics performance. From a purely synthetic benchmark standpoint, the Radeon RX Vega M GH sits comfortably between the GTX 1060 Max-Q and GTX 1060 for laptops just as Intel advertised during the Hades Canyon reveal. By extension, this means that users are getting the raw graphics performance of a GTX 980M all in a single Core i7-8809G package. This becomes more impressive when considering that the GTX 980M was the fastest mobile GPU solution for large gaming notebooks like the Alienware 17 or MSI GT70 just two to three years ago and it makes Intel's own Iris solution look antiquated in comparison.

Readers with GTX 1060 gaming PCs - and there are quite a few of you out there - still have the upper-hand by about 15 to 20 percent over the RX Vega M GH according to 3DMark benchmarks. The Intel-AMD GPU straddles the line between mainstream and enthusiast without resorting to physically larger discrete graphics solutions.

More technical information and benchmarks on the Radeon RX Vega M GH can be found on our GPU page here.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
Ice Storm Extreme
Ice Storm Extreme
Ice Storm Unlimited
Ice Storm Unlimited
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
Sky Diver
Sky Diver
Time Spy
Time Spy
Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Ultra
Fire Strike Ultra
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined
Eurocom Sky X4C
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 8700K
13928 Points ∼77% +34%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
11160 Points ∼62% +7%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH, 8809G
10391 Points ∼57%
Schenker XMG Pro 17
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
9154 Points ∼50% -12%
Asus Zephyrus GX501VS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ
9065 Points ∼50% -13%
HP Omen 15t-ce000
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 7700HQ
9007 Points ∼50% -13%
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
8343 Points ∼46% -20%
Asus ROG Strix GL702ZC-GC204T
AMD Radeon RX 580 (Laptop), 1600
7838 Points ∼43% -25%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
7358 Points ∼41% -29%
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN51050
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7500T
6938 Points ∼38% -33%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ
6406 Points ∼35% -38%
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 8250U
4226 Points ∼23% -59%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580, 6770HQ
2784 Points ∼15% -73%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, 2500U
2683 Points ∼15% -74%
Dell Latitude 5590
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8250U
1299 Points ∼7% -87%
1280x720 Performance GPU
Eurocom Sky X4C
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 8700K
26912 Points ∼53% +88%
Schenker XMG Pro 17
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
22804 Points ∼45% +59%
Asus Zephyrus GX501VS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ
20240 Points ∼40% +42%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
17401 Points ∼34% +22%
Asus ROG Strix GL702ZC-GC204T
AMD Radeon RX 580 (Laptop), 1600
15182 Points ∼30% +6%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
15145 Points ∼30% +6%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH, 8809G
14302 Points ∼28%
HP Omen 15t-ce000
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 7700HQ
12970 Points ∼25% -9%
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
12472 Points ∼24% -13%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ
9904 Points ∼19% -31%
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN51050
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7500T
7831 Points ∼15% -45%
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 8250U
4631 Points ∼9% -68%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, 2500U
3549 Points ∼7% -75%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580, 6770HQ
3220 Points ∼6% -77%
Dell Latitude 5590
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8250U
1619 Points ∼3% -89%
3DMark
Fire Strike Extreme Graphics
Eurocom Sky X4C
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 8700K
9996 Points ∼50% +127%
Asus Zephyrus GX501VS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ
7527 Points ∼38% +71%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
5542 Points ∼28% +26%
HP Omen 15t-ce000
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 7700HQ
4672 Points ∼24% +6%
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
4623 Points ∼23% +5%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH, 8809G
4405 Points ∼22%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ
3670 Points ∼18% -17%
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN51050
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7500T
2582 Points ∼13% -41%
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 8250U
1688 Points ∼8% -62%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, 2500U
1043 Points ∼5% -76%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580, 6770HQ
822 Points ∼4% -81%
Dell Latitude 5590
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8250U
428 Points ∼2% -90%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Eurocom Sky X4C
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 8700K
20909 Points ∼51% +104%
Schenker XMG Pro 17
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
17216 Points ∼42% +68%
Asus Zephyrus GX501VS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ
16165 Points ∼40% +58%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
12984 Points ∼32% +27%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
12038 Points ∼30% +17%
Asus ROG Strix GL702ZC-GC204T
AMD Radeon RX 580 (Laptop), 1600
11512 Points ∼28% +12%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH, 8809G
10248 Points ∼25%
HP Omen 15t-ce000
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 7700HQ
9992 Points ∼25% -2%
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
9608 Points ∼24% -6%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ
7795 Points ∼19% -24%
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN51050
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7500T
6066 Points ∼15% -41%
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 8250U
3628 Points ∼9% -65%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, 2500U
2310 Points ∼6% -77%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580, 6770HQ
1903 Points ∼5% -81%
Dell Latitude 5590
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8250U
954 Points ∼2% -91%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Eurocom Sky X4C
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 8700K
124077 Points ∼67% +110%
Asus Zephyrus GX501VS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ
107807 Points ∼58% +82%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
82913 Points ∼45% +40%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
80879 Points ∼44% +37%
Schenker XMG Pro 17
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
80593 Points ∼44% +36%
Asus ROG Strix GL702ZC-GC204T
AMD Radeon RX 580 (Laptop), 1600
70020 Points ∼38% +18%
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
64343 Points ∼35% +9%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH, 8809G
59162 Points ∼32%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ
51473 Points ∼28% -13%
HP Omen 15t-ce000
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 7700HQ
42781 Points ∼23% -28%
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN51050
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7500T
37975 Points ∼21% -36%
HP Envy 17-ae143ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 8250U
21153 Points ∼11% -64%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, 2500U
15186 Points ∼8% -74%
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580, 6770HQ
14594 Points ∼8% -75%
Dell Latitude 5590
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8250U
8065 Points ∼4% -86%
3DMark 06 Standard
33046 points
3DMark 11 Performance
13212 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
156453 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
25445 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
8506 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
4154 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
3096 points
Help

Gaming Performance - More like a GTX 1050 Ti

Raw power means little if it doesn't translate well to gaming. Our experience with AMD Fusion-based laptops and mobile Ryzen 5 Vega GPUs in the past have been less than stellar because of driver and software issues. Thus, we're quite surprised to find that all tested games launched successfully and without any issues like one would expect from any gaming laptop. Intel's claim of "day zero" compatibility with current titles is looking very promising so far.

Actual gaming performance sits slightly below the GTX 1060 Max-Q even though 3DMark benchmarks rank the Vega GPU slightly higher. Rise of the Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite may run about 10 percent and 20 percent slower, respectively, than on a GTX 1060 Max-Q laptop set to maximum 1080p settings. Attaining the locked 1080p60 experience that many mainstream gamers are aiming for will require dialing down more graphical embellishments than a full-fledged GTX 1060 system. Gamers sporting the GTX 1050 Ti will have a very good idea of the real-world gaming capabilities of the Hades Canyon NUC.

FreeSync is supported and even recommended since frame rates tend to run between 40 and 60 FPS where the adaptive sync technology works best.

We will continue to test and record more game titles in the coming week.

BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF)
MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVPW256HEGL
109.6 fps ∼100% +35%
MSI GF62VR 7RF-877
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW256G7
108 fps ∼99% +33%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577 4K
GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 7700HQ, SK hynix SC311 M.2
100.4 fps ∼92% +23%
EVGA SC17
GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 512GB m.2 NVMe
90.2 fps ∼82% +11%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Vega M GH, 8809G, Intel Optane 120 GB SSDPEK1W120GA
81.4 fps ∼74%
Gigabyte Aero 14-K7
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVPW256HEGL
74.4 fps ∼68% -9%
Asus GL503VD-DB74
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7700HQ, ADATA SX7000NP 256 GB
66 fps ∼60% -19%
Asus Zenbook UX430UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SanDisk SD8SN8U512G1002
28.9 fps ∼26% -64%
Rise of the Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FX AF:16x
MSI GF62VR 7RF-877
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW256G7
60 fps ∼100% +47%
EVGA SC17
GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 512GB m.2 NVMe
54.7 fps ∼91% +34%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7577 4K
GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 7700HQ, SK hynix SC311 M.2
45.3 fps ∼76% +11%
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Vega M GH, 8809G, Intel Optane 120 GB SSDPEK1W120GA
40.8 fps ∼68%
Asus GL503VD-DB74
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7700HQ, ADATA SX7000NP 256 GB
39 fps ∼65% -4%
Asus Zenbook UX430UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SanDisk SD8SN8U512G1002
14.8 fps ∼25% -64%
low med. high ultra4K
BioShock Infinite (2013) 302.7239.3209.281.4fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 159.2156.5113.155.9fps
Thief (2014) 120.7109.8107.162.6fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 55fps
Batman: Arkham Knight (2015) 14613574fps
Metal Gear Solid V (2015) 60606059fps
Fallout 4 (2015) 179.163.450.8fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 161.8102.453.940.8fps
Ashes of the Singularity (2016) 80.250.845.1fps
Overwatch (2016) 197.3148.371fps
Deus Ex Mankind Divided (2016) 48.323.4fps
Mafia 3 (2016) 6339.436fps
Prey (2017) 143118.996.581.5fps
Rocket League (2017) 14149.1fps
Dirt 4 (2017) 202.1137.981.246.9fps
F1 2017 (2017) 2151058653fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of War (2017) 150694836fps
Destiny 2 (2017) 106.181.278.865.9fps
Assassin´s Creed Origins (2017) 64454234fps
Final Fantasy XV Benchmark (2018) 81.841.220.4fps
X-Plane 11.11 (2018) 61.852.845.5fps
Far Cry 5 (2018) 5147fps
The Crew 2 (2018) 51fps
F1 2018 (2018) 139837046.1fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) 109474336fps
Forza Horizon 4 (2018) 0 game wont start (benchmark wont start)fps
Assassin´s Creed Odyssey (2018) 443521fps
Call of Duty Black Ops 4 (2018) 6617.8fps
Hitman 2 (2018) 5240.8fps
Fallout 76 (2018) 50.4fps
Battlefield V (2018) 161816659.820.9fps

Stress Test - Acceptable temperatures when gaming

We stress the mini PC to identify for any throttling or hardware issues. When subjected Prime95 to stress the CPU, the processor can be observed stabilizing at 3.9 GHz or 800 MHz above its base clock rate and never reaching any faster from the very start of the test. This behavior has more in common with Intel's HQ-series of CPUs whereas U-series CPUs tend to hit very high Turbo Boost clock rates for very short periods before stabilizing at slower speeds. Its stable core temperature of 85 C is subsequently warmer than on most Ultrabooks but still cooler than the i7-6770HQ in the Skull Canyon where temperatures can reach >95 C when under similar Prime95 conditions. In this case, the thicker chassis design is at least partly responsible for the improved cooling potential over the last generation NUC.

Running both Prime95 and FurMark simultaneously to stress the processor package will result in a steady core temperature of 99 C. Whether or not such a high temperature can be considered "stable" will depend on who you ask, but this is technically stable to Intel engineers as they've confirmed TjMax to be 100 C for the i7-8809G. In our minds, however, plateauing at 99 C is unacceptable for most enthusiasts as even the fastest ultra-thin laptops like the MSI GS or Razer Blade series tend to stabilize at cooler core temperatures when under similar conditions. Interestingly, the GPU clock never drops below its rated dynamic maximum of 1190 MHz no matter how stressful the load while the CPU can drop to as low as 3.5 GHz to indicate a preference for stabler GPU performance at the cost of CPU performance.

Running Witcher 3 is more representative of loads most gamers will experience. The CPU stabilizes at a respectable mid-to-high 60 C range to be cooler than many gaming notebooks including the Aorus X7 or Asus ROG G752VS where >80 C can be the norm.

System idle
System idle
Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Witcher 3 stress
Witcher 3 stress
012345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031323334353637383940414243444546474849505152535455565758Tooltip
The Witcher 3 high
Prime95+FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average CPU Temperature (°C)
Prime95 Stress 3.8 - 3.9 -- 85
FurMark Stress -- 1190 72
Prime95 + FurMark Stress 3.5 - 3.8 1190 99
Witcher 3 Stress 3.9 - 4.2 1190 65 - 70

Emissions - Now a bit quieter

System Noise

How do you cool a 100 W TDP processor in a chassis that's a fraction of the size of a PC? Instead of traditional heat pipes, the NUC utilizes vapor chamber cooling alongside dual system fans similar in concept to the Asus ROG G752VY. The main drawback is its increased cost and weight over heat pipes in return for superior cooling per unit area or volume. As such, the size increase from the smaller Skull Canyon NUC can be attributed to the denser and larger cooling solution.

End results show that the move to vapor chamber may be well worth it. System noise is both generally quieter and lower-pitched than the previous model and most ultrathin gaming notebooks when idling or gaming partly due to having larger fans. The fans are always active but barely noticeable during low loads like browsing or streaming.

Fan behavior is still not perfect and could have been better when running higher loads. When gaming, for example, the fans tend to pulsate between 36 dB(A) and 42 dB(A) every minute or so. A steady fan noise somewhere in the middle would have been more preferable to be less disruptive.

Maximum load will bump fan noise up to almost 50 dB(A), but such high levels are not representative of day-to-day or gaming loads. Overclockers may experience these very fast RPMs since core temperature is already about 70 C when gaming or >85 C when under extreme stress on stock settings.

Electronic noise or coil whine is present on our unit. It is thankfully very soft and unnoticeable unless if placing an ear directly on the unit.

Noise Level

Idle
29 / 29 / 29 dB(A)
Load
36 / 49.4 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 28.7 dB(A)
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
Vega M GH, 8809G, Intel Optane 120 GB SSDPEK1W120GA
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
Iris Pro Graphics 580, 6770HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO m.2 120GB
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN51050
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7500T, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
Razer Blade (2017) UHD
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
Dell XPS 13 9370 i5 UHD
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVPW256HEGL
Noise
-7%
-13%
-8%
5%
-9%
off / environment *
28.7
29.5
-3%
30.7
-7%
30.3
-6%
29
-1%
30
-5%
Idle Minimum *
29
31.6
-9%
37.6
-30%
30.3
-4%
29
-0%
31
-7%
Idle Average *
29
32.2
-11%
37.6
-30%
30.3
-4%
29
-0%
34
-17%
Idle Maximum *
29
32.3
-11%
37.7
-30%
30.3
-4%
29
-0%
35
-21%
Load Average *
36
43
-19%
39.3
-9%
42.2
-17%
32
11%
42
-17%
Witcher 3 ultra *
42
40.6
3%
44
-5%
Load Maximum *
49.4
43.2
13%
44
11%
55.7
-13%
40.1
19%
46
7%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature - Don't block those ventilation grilles

Surface temperatures are cooler on the Hades Canyon NUC when compared to the Skull Canyon NUC despite having a more demanding processor. Whereas the last generation model can become as warm as 42 C when under very high processing loads, this latest model barely changes in temperature and remains at about 30 C no matter the load.

So, where does all the heat go? The chassis includes a plethora of ventilation grilles on 5 of its 6 sides. Exhaust exits only from the rear of the unit and anything caught in its path will become very warm as suggested by our heat maps below. Needless to say, it is especially important to not block any of the ventilation grilles or orient the system sideways on a table.

System idle (top)
System idle (top)
System idle (front)
System idle (front)
System idle (rear)
System idle (rear)
Witcher 3 (top)
Witcher 3 (top)
Witcher 3 (front)
Witcher 3 (front)
Witcher 3 (rear)
Witcher 3 (rear)
Prime95+FurMark (top)
Prime95+FurMark (top)
Prime95+FurMark (front)
Prime95+FurMark (front)
Prime95+FurMark (rear)
Prime95+FurMark (rear)

Energy Management - More demanding than a GTX 1060 laptop

Power Consumption

Idling on desktop demands about 16 W to be very similar to the slower Skull Canyon NUC. From a notebook perspective, the new NUC sits between an Ultrabook and a full-fledged gaming notebook in terms of power consumption when idling or during very low loads.

Results get more interesting when subjecting the system to higher loads. When running 3DMark 06, the NUC will draw 83 W or slightly more than the GTX 1060-powered Razer Blade or Asus FX503VM under similar conditions. This delta grows even larger when running Witcher 3 as we can record a consumption of 135 W versus just 107 W on the Asus FX503VM. The performance of the Vega RX M GH is very nearly on par with the GTX 1060 for laptops and so it's disappointing to see a lower performance-per-Watt out of the i7-8809G when gaming. Fortunately, the performance-per-Watt is significantly greater if comparing against Nvidia's last generation Maxwell series or Intel's own Iris series. As an example, Hades Canyon consumes 33 percent more power than Skull Canyon when running 3DMark06 while providing a graphics boost of about 450 percent according to 3DMark.

Power consumption when running Prime95 is in line with our steady CineBench loop results from above. Consumption jumps from 16 W at idle to 103 W almost instantaneously and it never drops from there to imply steady performance and Turbo Boost. In comparison, a U-class CPU may experience higher power draw during the first few seconds of running Prime95 before dropping to lower levels as shown by the comparison below.

We are able to record an average power draw of 174 W over 90 seconds when running both Prime95 and FurMark simultaneously. Note that power consumption will fluctuate heavily from 150 W to 225 W when under 100 percent load conditions as shown below. The external power adapter is rated for 230 W and so a slightly more capable PSU would have been appreciated for the greater overhead.

The large external AC adapter (~20.0 x 10.0 x 2.5 cm) is practically the size of the Skull Canyon NUC
The large external AC adapter (~20.0 x 10.0 x 2.5 cm) is practically the size of the Skull Canyon NUC
Lite-On AC adapter at 19.5 V, 11.8 A
Lite-On AC adapter at 19.5 V, 11.8 A
Prime95 activated at the 20s mark. Power draw remains steady throughout the duration of the test (Hades Canyon NUC)
Prime95 activated at the 20s mark. Power draw remains steady throughout the duration of the test (Hades Canyon NUC)
Dell Latitude 7490 for comparison. Prime95 activated at the 20s mark. Power draw is highest during the first 15 seconds of the test before dropping because of throttling
Dell Latitude 7490 for comparison. Prime95 activated at the 20s mark. Power draw is highest during the first 15 seconds of the test before dropping because of throttling
Steady power draw when running Witcher 3 on the NUC
Steady power draw when running Witcher 3 on the NUC
FurMark activated at the 20s mark. Power draw jumps very high from 16 W at idle to about 150 W on average. The Vega GPU demands a higher percentage of the power budget than the CPU
FurMark activated at the 20s mark. Power draw jumps very high from 16 W at idle to about 150 W on average. The Vega GPU demands a higher percentage of the power budget than the CPU
Prime95+FurMark activated at the 20s mark. Consumption is unsteady, but it can be deduced that the GPU takes up the majority of the power consumption when both processors are stressed to maximum
Prime95+FurMark activated at the 20s mark. Consumption is unsteady, but it can be deduced that the GPU takes up the majority of the power consumption when both processors are stressed to maximum
Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 1.24 / 2.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 15.5 / 16.2 / 16.5 Watt
Load midlight 83.4 / 173.5 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK
8809G, Vega M GH, Intel Optane 120 GB SSDPEK1W120GA, , x,
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN51050
7500T, GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2, , x,
Razer Blade (2017) UHD
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP, IPS, 3840x2160, 14
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK
6770HQ, Iris Pro Graphics 580, Samsung SSD 850 EVO m.2 120GB, , x, 0
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 980M, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Asus FX503VM-EH73
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), SanDisk SD8SN8U128G1002, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Power Consumption
-11%
15%
22%
-33%
12%
Idle Minimum *
15.5
21.1
-36%
8.1
48%
14.8
5%
20.6
-33%
12.8
17%
Idle Average *
16.2
22.1
-36%
14.3
12%
15.7
3%
22.1
-36%
15.4
5%
Idle Maximum *
16.5
26.6
-61%
16.3
1%
15.8
4%
22.5
-36%
15.9
4%
Load Average *
83.4
77.5
7%
74
11%
62.7
25%
130.6
-57%
78
6%
Load Maximum *
173.5
121.7
30%
164
5%
48.5
72%
177.2
-2%
143.4
17%
Witcher 3 ultra *
135.5
92.4
32%
107.3
21%

* ... smaller is better

Pros

+ quieter than most ultrathin gaming notebooks; vapor chamber cooling
+ no throttling when gaming; very consistent Turbo Boost
+ impressive CPU and GPU performance given the size
+ Intel Optane and FreeSync support
+ three-year warranty as standard
+ unlocked CPU, GPU, and HBM2
+ lower-pitched fan noise
+ wide array of ports

Cons

- more demanding than a GTX 1060 notebook; not as energy efficient
- difficult to access system fans for cleaning
- larger and heavier than Skull Canyon
- no internal 2.5-inch SATA III bay
- fans may pulsate when gaming
- SD card reader could be faster
- limited overclocking potential
- cannot sit vertically on desk
- large external AC adapter
- upside-down USB ports
- pricey barebones

Verdict

Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK Review. Test unit provided by Intel
Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK Review. Test unit provided by Intel

From the outside, the Hades Canyon NUC looks like a drab and marginal update to the 2016 Skull Canyon NUC. Performance-wise, however, this couldn't be further from the truth. Intel has addressed everything we didn't like about Skull Canyon from the inside for a superior experience all around. Fan noise is noticeably quieter, core temperatures are cooler, and gaming performance is leagues beyond what the Iris series is currently capable of to the point of rivaling a GTX 1050 Ti or GTX 1060 gaming notebook. Not only is Kaby Lake-G more functional than any mobile AMD Fusion APU before it, but it hits the ground running by delivering on its promises on the very first try.

Perhaps the biggest fault we can identify is the poorer performance-per-Watt of the Core i7-8809G compared to a GTX 1060 equivalent. The NUC demands more power than a 15.6-inch gaming laptop equipped with a 7th gen HQ-class CPU and GTX 1060 or GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU even after accounting for the display and keyboard components that the NUC lacks. This revelation mirrors the current state of desktop Vega 56/64 GPUs as they have also been found to have inferior performance-per-Watt than their popular Pascal alternatives. In other words, all that processing power in such a small form factor comes at the price of higher-than-expected power consumption.

Speaking of price, the $1000 MSRP could dissuade potential buyers. The NUC does not include RAM, storage, or OS and so users must invest even more for a fully functional system. In contrast, a gaming laptop with GTX 1050 Ti or GTX 1060 graphics can be had for $1000 to $1200 USD complete with RAM, storage, OS, display, and more. Users who want the Intel NUC will be paying a premium for its diminutive size and new-fangled processor.

Its other disadvantages are relatively minor in our point of view. Core temperatures could still be a lot cooler as users who really stress the CPU and/or GPU may see temperatures as high as 85 C to 99 C before any overclocking. The average card reader performance, upside-down USB ports, slow pulsing fans when gaming, and large AC adapter round up our list of smaller inconveniences.

It's not the fastest mini PC as any GTX 1060-powered equivalent can give the NUC a run for its money. It is, however, an excellent performance standard for the new Kaby Lake-G platform that we hope future mini PCs and laptops can emulate. We can't wait for prices to come down to be more cost-competitive against mainstream Pascal.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK (i7-8809G, Radeon RX Vega M GH) Mini PC Review
Allen Ngo, 2018-03-29 (Update: 2018-10-18)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.