AotS: Escalation, Civilization VI, Dawn Of War III
|NUC 8 VR NUC8i7HVK||NUC 8 VR Stock||GPU 1350 MHz (HBM 800)||GPU 1350 MHz (HBM 900)||CPU 4.2 GHz (GPU Stock)||CPU 4.2 GHz (1250/900)|
|Core i7-8809G||Stock||Stock||Stock||4.2 GHz All-Core (1.05V)||4.2 GHz All-Core (1.05V)|
|Vega Graphics||Stock||1350 MHZ (1.1V)||1350 MHz (1.1V)||Stock||1250 MHz (1V)|
|HBM2||Stock||800 MHz (1.1V)||900 MHz (1.1V)||Stock||900 MHz (1V)|
The NUC 8 VR offers a wealth of tunable parameters, including CPU, GPU, HBM2, and system memory overclocking. Our stable configurations were detailed on the previous page; this table simply serves as a reminder as you peruse our results. If you aren't interested in overclocked performance, simply focus on the "VR NUC Stock" entry.
Ashes Of The Singularity: Escalation
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation isn't very popular with gamers anymore, yet it is still widely used as a benchmark. That's because it relies heavily on host processing and still taxes the graphics subsystem. It serves as a solid example of the RTS genre, making it a great test for our NUC 8 VR overclocking experiments.
The 4C/8T stock NUC unsurprisingly jumps ahead of the 2C/4T Pentiums paired with GeForce GTX 1060 add-in cards. Tuning the NUC's GPU yields the largest speed-up in Ashes, even though we're looking at fairly small jumps overall. Granted, we're testing with maxed-out detail settings.
You'd probably want to play the game with its quality preset dialed back a couple of notches anyway. Notice that the NUC has a lower minimum frame rate than the competing setups. Although minimums only reflect the single lowest performance point, our frame time variance results confirm that Kaby Lake-G encounters more turbulence through our benchmark than the full-size desktops.
Civilization VI Graphics
Civilization exposes more separation between mobile- and desktop-class host processors than Ashes did. And yet, the biggest gains in this benchmark come from overclocking the NUC's graphics processor and HBM2. Tuning the CPU's four cores up to 4.2 GHz does very little to help.
Dawn Of War III
Each game behaves differently, depending on its bottleneck. In general, though, higher GPU frequencies and more memory bandwidth improve performance in most games played at 1920x1080 or higher. On its own, an overclocked host processor just doesn't move the bar in Dawn of War III.
It is impressive to see Intel's NUC 8 VR at least approach the level of a desktop CPU and add-in mainstream graphics card. Then again, the GeForce GTX 1060 clearly has room to stretch when it's paired up with more capable host processors (as evidenced by the difference between our Pentium G4560 and Core i3-8350K frame rates).
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