The Intel NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon) was reviewed in late March, and emerged as one of the most powerful gaming PCs in its form-factor class. Our conclusion was that the PC offered gaming performance equivalent to that of a system with a GPU between the NVIDIA GTX 960 and GTX 980. We received feedback from our readers on the games used for benchmarking being old, and the compared GPUs being dated. In order to address this concern, we spent the last few weeks working on updating our gaming benchmarks suite for gaming systems / mini-PCs. With the updated suite in hand, we put a number of systems through the paces. This article presents the performance of the Hades Canyon NUC with the latest drivers in recent games. We also pulled in the gaming benchmark numbers from a couple of systems still in our review queue in order to give readers an idea of the performance of the Hades Canon NUC as compared to some of the other contemporary small-form factor gaming machines.


The gaming benchmark suite used to evaluate the Hades Canyon NUC in our launch review was dated and quite limited in its scope. Games such as Sleeping Dogs and Bioshock Infinite are no longer actively considered by consumers looking to purchase gaming systems. In addition, our suite did not have any DirectX 12 game. In order to address these issues, we set out to identify some modern games for inclusion in our gaming benchmarks. The intent was to have a mix of games and benchmarks that could serve us well for the next couple of years.

The updated gaming benchmark suite has both synthetic and real-world workloads. Futuremark's synthetic benchmarks give a quick idea of the prowess of the GPU component in a system. We process and present results from all the standard workloads in both 3DMark (v 2.4.4264) and VRMark (v 1.2.1701). Real-world use-cases are represented by six different games:

  • Civlization VI (DX12)
  • Dota 2
  • F1 2017
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War
  • Far Cry 5

Most system reviews take a handful of games and process them at one resolution / quality settings for comparison purposes. Recently, we have seen many pre-built systems coming out with varying gaming capabilities. Hence, it has become imperative to give consumers an idea of how a given system performs over a range of resolutions and quality settings for each game. With our updated suite, we are able to address this aspect.

In addition to re-evaluating the Hades Canyon NUC, we also processed the new suite on the Zotac ZBOX MAGNUS EN1080K and the ZBOX MAGNUS EK71080, as well as the Skull Canyon NUC (NUC6i7KYK). We are also pulling in the numbers that were recorded for a couple of upcoming reviews (the ASRock DeskMini Z370 GTX1060, and the Shuttle XPC Gaming Cube SZ270R9). Before looking at the details of the new benchmarks and the numbers obtained, a summary of the specifications of the different systems is presented in the comparison table below.

Comparative PC Configurations
Aspect Intel NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon)
CPU Intel Core i7-8809G Intel Core i7-8809G
GPU Radeon RX Vega M GH Graphics (4 GB HBM2)
Intel UHD Graphics 630
Radeon RX Vega M GH Graphics (4 GB HBM2)
Intel UHD Graphics 630
RAM Kingston HyperX Impact HX432S20IB2K2/16 DDR4
20-22-22-42 @ 3200 MHz
2x8 GB
Kingston HyperX Impact HX432S20IB2K2/16 DDR4
20-22-22-42 @ 3200 MHz
2x8 GB
Storage Intel Optane SSD 800p SSDPEK1W120GA
(118 GB; M.2 Type 2280 PCIe 3.0 x2 NVMe; Optane)
Intel SSD 545s SSDSCKKW512G8
(512 GB; M.2 Type 2280 SATA III; Intel 64L 3D TLC)
Intel Optane SSD 800p SSDPEK1W120GA
(118 GB; M.2 Type 2280 PCIe 3.0 x2 NVMe; Optane)
Intel SSD 545s SSDSCKKW512G8
(512 GB; M.2 Type 2280 SATA III; Intel 64L 3D TLC)
Wi-Fi Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
(2x2 802.11ac - 866 Mbps)
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
(2x2 802.11ac - 866 Mbps)
Price (in USD, when built) $999 (Barebones)
$1617 (with SSD, and RAM, as configured / No OS)
$999 (Barebones)
$1617 (with SSD, and RAM, as configured / No OS)
Futuremark 3DMark
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  • Vorl - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    Ok, this one seems a bit overpriced for the "meh" performance it gives.

    Where is the review for the ASRock deskmini z370 that is one of the systems it's compared against? that one is a lot cheaper and seems more powerful in most cases. I tried to search for it, and couldn't find it on your site.

    Also, Why run these comparisons with "special" benchmarks? These are more or less full PCs just in smaller form factors. Some of these even have full GPUs.

    I mean if you are going to benchmark them up to 2160p, then why not just treat them like any other system?
  • kragles - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    The ASRock system is not cheaper. The system does not come with a CPU, ram, wifi module, or storage. Once those things are added it is the same price as, or more expansive than, the Hades Canyon. They are basically the same spec wise if you add a $200 CPU (bringing the price w/cpu to $1000 for each). The "as configured" price on this list is incorrect as there is no way they added 16gb ram, an 8700, storage, and a wifi module for $250
  • ganeshts - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    Thanks for the eagle eyes :) I had missed the CPU cost ($302) for the DeskMini system. The pricing is now updated to $800 (barebones) / $1350 (as configured, No OS).

    Btw, the system does come with a Wi-Fi module.
  • Vorl - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    $999 (Barebones)
    *** $1617 (with SSD, and RAM, as configured / No OS) ***

    $800 (barebones)
    *** $1350 (as configured, No OS) ***

    This means it has the CPU/Memory/WiFi/SSD.

    They updated the price on the ASRock, it was 1000ish, now it's 1350, but still, it's cheaper with better performance.
  • thestryker - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    It is not cheaper with better performance. Hades Canyon you're buying Memory/Storage, and Asrock you're buying CPU/Memory/Storage. If you look at the test systems the Hades Canyon is using ddr4 3200 vs 2400, and it also has dual storage (which includes $200+ optane).

    In reality if the Memory and Storage were equal the Asrock as configured would be about $100 more than the Hades Canyon (only $200 difference in base price, but the CPU used is about $300).
  • Wheaties88 - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    The ASRock also has an Optane drive in addition to the 512GB SSD as well as faster, more expensive memory.
  • Wheaties88 - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    Scratch that I mean the NUC
  • III-V - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    This isn't a "performance buy," it's a "form factor buy."
  • Daekwan17 - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    These systems are not overpriced at all. In fact they deliver quite satisfactory performance at a noise level and price point that is better than almost anything else on the market. Like most Intel NUC owners I dont game much (have a PS4 & Xbone for that), but I still what the smallest form factor pc possible with some decent graphic capability. I've looked into building my own NUC and once you factor in the cost for a 8th gen i7 CPU, low profile cooler, motherboard, ram, small factor case, small factor power supply, custom cabling, wifi, bluetooth, etc you are easily at $800. Probably closer to $1000.

    But here is where the NUC wins. It is guaranteed to be smaller, quieter and better engineered to be a small factor PC than anything you can custom build. Because it was designed from the ground up to be just that. Most NUC's even come with VESA mounting kits as people generally mount them to the back of a monitor and you have a computer that is out of sight but visually and aurally. You cant see it, cant hear it even though its right there.

    Finally the resale value is fantastic. I'm talking Apple Macbook fantastic resale value.. where you use it for 3 years and sell it used for almost what you paid new! I've used a NUC with a 5th gen i3 for three years.. paid $190 for it on sale.. sold it a month ago for $140 on ebay. I have no doubt the last PC you bought you sold at a much bigger lost than $40 after three years of use. In the meantime Im waiting for Ebay to run another 15% off coupon and I will pick up these for around $850 and use it for right about 3 years. At which point I have no doubt I will be able to sell atleast $750, maybe more. Meaning again I will pay very little to use it 3 or so years.. until its time to move onto something else. I've just check the price on the previous version (NUC6i7KYK) which had MSRP of $649 two years ago.. and is selling for OVER $500 used all day long on Ebay.

    As far as what do I use it for. HTPC is the name of the game. I need this drive my big screen projector which is what makes it small size and noise level so valuable. Combine that with 2 HDMI ports, 2 ethernet ports, Thunderbolt3 and various ports all over the machine and I can connect anything I desire without buying additional cards or needing free slots. Good luck getting Thunderbolt3 working on something like the deskmini z370, from what I can tell its impossible.
  • Sailor23M - Monday, May 14, 2018 - link

    I agree with Daekwan17, I bought a new Skull Canyon last year on sale from Newegg. Its mounted behind my monitor for a clean look. Its really fast for everthing I need it for which is mostly office work with large excel files and data sets. Its like having a souped up AIO machine with all the benefits of upgrading and double the ports. Plus Intel’s support for these NUCs has been pretty good as well.

    I am not impressed by the $999 price tag as I believe the sweet spot for NUCs is between $500-$750, for $999 + display + SSD/RAM/OS I can buy a very well equipped laptop like a MS Surface

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