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Intel NUC 12 Pro Wall Street Canyon Kits Review: Alder Lake in UCFF Avatar

Author: AnandTech

The early 2010s saw the PC market stuck in the doldrums, with the nettop craze having died down, and smartphones / tablets increasingly taking over day-to-day computing use-cases. While the traditional business PCs and workstation market was stable, the moribund consumer market needed a shot in the arm. Intel introduced the Next Unit of Computing – a 4″ x 4″ motherboard – in 2012 and started marketing mini-PCs based on the boards with their own branding. Low-power processors became powerful enough to deliver the processing power of bulky desktops in the palm of one’s hand. The NUC quickly caught the market’s fancy, triggering clones such as the GIGABYTE BRIX and ASRock Beebox from Intel’s partners. Over the last decade, this ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF) and other SFF machines, along with systems targeting the gaming market have emerged as bright spots. The NUC family has since expanded to target all of those market segments.

2022 was a milestone in the decade-long journey for the original 4″x4″ form-factor. Intel introduced their first UCFF product family with hybrid processors. The NUC 12 Pro – codenamed Wall Street Canyon – was made available in a variety of flavors. In order to bring out the evolution of the UCFF ecosystem over the last ten years, Intel sampled us three different Wall Street Canyon NUCs targeting different market segments.

The NUC12WSKi7 targets mainstream business users and home consumers, while the vPro-enabled NUC12WSKv7 is geared towards IT departments for business and enterprise deployments. The Wall Street Canyon family also includes bare boards such as the NUC12WSBi70Z (a Lite version of the board inside the NUC12WSKi7) that can be taken by OEMs and customized for specific applications. Our sample set included the Bleu Jour Meta 12 – a rugged fanless mini-PC based on the NUC12WSBi70Z and optimized for industrial use-cases. The review below takes a detailed look at the performance profile and feature set of the three NUCs.

Intel’s Alder Lake processors brought the era of heterogeneous computing with hybrid processors to the mainstream market. The mixture of performance and efficiency cores was first marketed for desktop platforms before making the move to the low-power market in early 2022. Fabricated in Intel 7, the processor family brought a multi-tasking focus to computing, providing hints to the OS on where different tasks need to be run and translating to a better user experience. The Alder Lake-P series is supposed to deliver all that within a 28W power envelop. The first UCFF systems based on Alder Lake-P processors were actually from ASRock Industrial – The NUC BOX-1200 series was introduced within a couple of weeks of the launch of Alder Lake-P. While being the first to market with the new platform, our review of the NUC BOX-1260P found that the company had not spent much time on optimizing the BIOS for optimal power consumption and performance. Our impressions of Alder Lake-P from that system was not favorable from a performance per watt perspective. The final verdict on that would undoubtedly be decided based on Intel’s own Alder Lake-P offering – the Wall Street Canyon NUCs (NUC 12 Pro).

In order to celebrate the ten-year long journey of the mainstream UCFF NUC form-factor, Intel sampled us three different Wall Street Canyon NUCs:

  • Intel NUC12WSKi7, based on the Core i7-1260P
  • Intel NUC12WSKv7, based on the Core i7-1270P (with a slightly different case design, apparently intended for future mainstream NUCs)
  • Bleu Jour Meta 12, an as-yet unreleased rugged fanless NUC based on the NUC12WSBi70Z – a Lite version of the board in the NUC12WSKi7, without the Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 Type-C ports

One of the primary performance drivers over the last few generations of the Intel NUCs has been fine-grained power control. At the high-end, in particular, Intel has started setting the PL1 limits beyond the rated TDP. As late as the Comet Lake-based Frost Canyon NUC (the NUC10i7FN), the PL1 limit was set to 28W. Coming to the Tiger Lake family, the Tiger Canyon NUC that we evaluated – the NUC11TNBi5 also had its PL1 set to 28W. However, the Panther Canyon NUC (NUC11PAQi7) upped the ante and configured the PL1 to 40W by default. While we didn’t publish a standalone review of the Panther Canyon NUC, readers can find all the benchmark numbers for that system in this review. The Alder Lake NUCs build upon the Tiger Lake ones by keeping the default PL1 and PL2 values in the BIOS to 40W / 64W. As we shall see further down in this review, this poses a challenge for fanless system vendors, while also exacerbating the fan noise issue in the standard kits.

The NUC12WSKi7 sample came with a Kingston KC2500 PCIe 3.0 x4 500GB NVMe SSD and 2x Crucial CT16G4SFRA32A 16GB DDR4-3200 SODIMMs pre-installed. We performed our evaluation of the three systems in sequence, allowing the reuse of the same RAM and SSD for all three systems. While the overall packaging of the systems was geared towards unboxing videos, the contents of each box reflected the components in the retail packaging – VESA or industrial mounts, as applicable, a 120W (20V @ 6A) power adapter, a geo-specific power cord, screws for mount installation and M.2 SSD installation, as well as an assortment of quick start guides and regulatory information pamphlets.

The NUC12WSKi7 continues with the same ultra-compact form-factor design seen in the previous NUCs. Doing away with the 2.5″ drive support allows the system to have a height of just 37mm. The front ports are all Type-A, with the two Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports both relegated to the rear. Surprisingly, the rear I/O includes a USB 2.0 Type-A port too. The SDXC slot seen in previous generation NUCs is not seen here, but that is made up for by the presence of two Thunderbolt 4 ports.


NUC12WSKi7 – Chassis Design and I/O

The retail version of the NUC12WSKv7 is externally identical to the NUC12WSKi7 shown above. However, our review sample set opted to put it in a redesigned casing.


NUC12WSKv7 – An Updated Chassis Color Scheme

The new case design above is a preview of the plans for future 4×4 NUC models. The perforated case bottom can be removed without the aid of any tools to get access to the underside of the system (for the installation of the RAM and SSD).


NUC12WSKv7 – 4×4 Designer Version Preview

The third NUC model is the Bleu Jour Meta 12. The Meta series of fanless systems from Bleu Jour is geared towards industrial applications. The Meta 12 uses the Lite board – the NUC12WSBi70Z – which does away with the Type-C ports. A key difference is the presence of a DC power input connector in addition to the regular power adapter connection.


Bleu Jour Meta 12 (NUC12WSBi70Z) Fanless Rugged Industrial PC

The gallery below presents additional photographs of the internals of the above three systems.

Gallery: Intel Wall Street Canyon NUC Kits

The full specifications of the normal and vPro review samples are provided in the table below. The Bleu Jour Meta 12 is essentially the same as that of the NUC12WSKi7, except for the absence of the two Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports.

Systems Specifications
(as tested)   Intel NUC12WSKi7 (Wall Street Canyon) Intel NUC12WSKv7 (Wall Street Canyon vPro) Processor Intel Core i7-1260P
Alder Lake 4P + 8e / 16T, up to 4.7 GHz (P) / 3.4 GHz (e)
Intel 7, 18MB L2, 28W
(PL1 = 40W, PL2 = 64W) Intel Core i7-1270P
Alder Lake 4P + 8e / 16T, up to 4.8 GHz (P) / 3.5 GHz (e)
Intel 7, 18MB L2, 28W
(PL1 = 40W, PL2 = 64W) Memory Crucial CT16G4SFRA32A.C16FR DDR4-3200 SODIMM
22-22-22-52 @ 3200 MHz
2×16 GB Crucial CT16G4SFRA32A.C16FR DDR4-3200 SODIMM
22-22-22-52 @ 3200 MHz
2×16 GB Graphics Intel Iris Xe Graphics
(96EU @ 1.40 GHz) Intel Iris Xe Graphics
(96EU @ 1.40 GHz) Disk Drive(s) Kingston KC2500 SKC2500M8500G
(500 GB; M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe;)
(Kioxia BiCS4 96L 3D TLC; Silicon Motion SMI 2262EN Controller) Kingston KC2500 SKC2500M8500G
(500 GB; M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe;)
(Kioxia BiCS4 96L 3D TLC; Silicon Motion SMI 2262EN Controller) Networking 1x 2.5 GbE RJ-45 (Intel I225-V)
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX211 (2×2 802.11ax – 2.4 Gbps) 1x 2.5 GbE RJ-45 (Intel I225-LM)
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX211 (2×2 802.11ax – 2.4 Gbps) Audio Digital Audio with Bitstreaming Support over HDMI Ports
3.5mm stereo headset jack (Realtek audio codec) Digital Audio with Bitstreaming Support over HDMI Ports
3.5mm stereo headset jack (Realtek audio codec) Video 2x HDMI 2.0b
2x Display Port 1.4a with HBR3 over Thunderbolt 4 2x HDMI 2.0b
2x Display Port 1.4a with HBR3 over Thunderbolt 4 Miscellaneous I/O Ports 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (Front)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (Rear)
1x USB 2.0 Type-A (Rear)
2x Thunderbolt 4 (Rear) (Type-C) 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (Front)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (Rear)
1x USB 2.0 Type-A (Rear)
2x Thunderbolt 4 (Rear) (Type-C) Operating System Windows 11 Enterprise (22000.1455) Windows 11 Enterprise (22000.1516) Pricing (Street Pricing on January 25th, 2023)
US $660 (barebones)
$843 (as configured, no OS) (Street Pricing on January 25th, 2023)
US $827 (barebones)
$1010 (as configured, no OS) Full Specifications Intel NUC12WSKi7 Specifications Intel NUC12WSKv7 Specifications

In the next section, we take a look at the BIOS options along with an analysis of the motherboard platform. Following that, we have a number of sections focusing on various performance aspects before concluding with an analysis of the value proposition of the systems.

Our review sample of the NUC12WSKi7 came with all necessary components pre-installed – we only had to load up the OS to start our evaluation process. Prior to that, we took some time to look into the BIOS interface. The video below presents the entire gamut of available options for the Wall Street Canyon NUC12WSKi7.

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Intel’s mini-PCs have the most comprehensive and configurable UEFI / BIOS among all the ones that we have evaluated over the last several years. The NUC12WSKi7 is no exception. The home screen shows the BIOS version, processor details, and installed memory capacity and speed right away – this is of great help in checking whether the installed SODIMMs are operating at the desired speeds. Under the ‘Advanced’ section, we have options to enable various SATA and M.2 NVMe ports, and disable the disk activity LED if needed. Different USB ports and headers can be selectively enabled or disabled. Display emulation for headless operation as well as digital signage purposes is also available.

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The NUC12WSKv7’s BIOS options are brought out in the above video. It must be noted that the processor used in the system (Core i7-1270P) is vPro-enabled, and the Intel Management Engine BIOS Extensions can be used to set up AMT for remote management. One of the pre-requisites for using the MEBx is password protection of both the BIOS as well as the MEBx itself. The MEBx options utilize the same interface as the other BIOS options.

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The above screen capture of the BIOS options for the Bleu Jour Meta 12 includes a drill-down into the modification of the default PL1 and PL2 values and other associated parameters. Except for the reference to the Thunderbolt ports, the options are identical to the ones of the NUC12WSKi7.

NUC12WSKi7 vs. NUC12WSBi70Z BIOS

The block diagram below presents the overall high-speed I/O distribution in the Wall Street Canyon NUCs.

The mainstream NUCs are quite straightforward, as the PCH is integrated into the package and there is not much flexibility on the board design side to get creative with the allocation of the HSIO lanes.

In this review, we compare the three Wall Street Canyon NUC kits with a host of other UCFF systems.

Comparative PC Configurations Aspect Intel NUC12WSKi7 (Wall Street Canyon) CPU Intel Core i7-1260P
Alder Lake 4P + 8e / 16T, up to 4.7 GHz (P) / 3.4 GHz (e)
Intel 7, 18MB L2, 28W
(PL1 = 40W, PL2 = 64W) Intel Core i7-1260P
Alder Lake 4P + 8e / 16T, up to 4.7 GHz (P) / 3.4 GHz (e)
Intel 7, 18MB L2, 28W
(PL1 = 40W, PL2 = 64W) GPU Intel Iris Xe Graphics
(96EU @ 1.40 GHz) Intel Iris Xe Graphics
(96EU @ 1.40 GHz) RAM Crucial CT16G4SFRA32A.C16FR DDR4-3200 SODIMM
22-22-22-52 @ 3200 MHz
2×16 GB Crucial CT16G4SFRA32A.C16FR DDR4-3200 SODIMM
22-22-22-52 @ 3200 MHz
2×16 GB Storage Kingston KC2500 SKC2500M8500G
(500 GB; M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe;)
(Kioxia BiCS4 96L 3D TLC; Silicon Motion SMI 2262EN Controller) Kingston KC2500 SKC2500M8500G
(500 GB; M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe;)
(Kioxia BiCS4 96L 3D TLC; Silicon Motion SMI 2262EN Controller) Wi-Fi 1x 2.5 GbE RJ-45 (Intel I225-V)
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX211 (2×2 802.11ax – 2.4 Gbps) 1x 2.5 GbE RJ-45 (Intel I225-V)
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX211 (2×2 802.11ax – 2.4 Gbps) Price (in USD, when built) (Street Pricing on January 25th, 2023)
US $660 (barebones)
$843 (as configured, no OS) (Street Pricing on January 25th, 2023)
US $660 (barebones)
$843 (as configured, no OS)

Benchmarks were processed afresh on all of the above systems with the latest BIOS for each. The next few sections will deal with comparative benchmarks for the above systems.

Our 2022 Q4 update to the test suite for Windows 11-based systems carries over some of the standard benchmarks we have been using over the last several years, including UL’s PCMark. New additions include BAPCo’s CrossMark multi-platform benchmarking tool, as well as UL’s Procyon benchmark suite. BPACo recently updated their SYSmark benchmark suite – while operational at a basic level, it is missing key features such as energy consumption measurement. We will start including SYSmark 30 once the open issues are resolved.

UL PCMark 10

UL’s PCMark 10 evaluates computing systems for various usage scenarios (generic / essential tasks such as web browsing and starting up applications, productivity tasks such as editing spreadsheets and documents, gaming, and digital content creation). We benchmarked select PCs with the PCMark 10 Extended profile and recorded the scores for various scenarios. These scores are heavily influenced by the CPU and GPU in the system, though the RAM and storage device also play a part. The power plan was set to Balanced for all the PCs while processing the PCMark 10 benchmark. The scores for each contributing component / use-case environment are also graphed below.

UL PCMark 10 – Performance Scores

The Ryzen 7 5800U has a significant lead in the productivity workload, and is only beat narrowly in the Essentials and Digital Content Creation segments. It is only thanks to the performance of Iris Xe Graphics that the two actively-cooled Wall Street Canyon NUCs come out on top overall. The Bleu Jour Meta 12 ends up getting thermally throttled and makes up the rear end of the pack.

UL Procyon v2.1.544

PCMark 10 utilizes open-source software such as Libre Office and GIMP to evaluate system performance. However, many of their professional benchmark customers have been requesting evaluation with commonly-used commercial software such as Microsoft Office and Adobe applications. In order to serve their needs, UL introduced the Procyon benchmark in late 2020. There are five benchmark categories currently – Office Productivity, AI Inference, Battery Life, Photo Editing, and Video Editing. AI Inference benchmarks are available only for Android devices, while the battery life benchmark is applicable to Windows devices such as notebooks and tablets. We presents results from our processing of the other three benchmarks.

UL Procyon – Office Productivity Scores

The actively-cooled NUC 12 Pro kits come out on top, as expected. The ASRock BOX-1260P follows a bit behind, possibly due to the 28W PL1 configuration compared to the NUC 12 Pro’s 40W number.

The NUC 12 Pro kits come out as the best bet for energy efficiency with respect to the MS Office workloads. By getting done with the workloads faster, the effect of the higher PL1 numbers don’t translate to higher energy consumption. The Bleu Jour Meta 12 is slow to get the job done, but it is also quite power efficient (no fan, for instance) leading to lower energy consumption.

Moving on to the evaluation of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom, we find the same pattern. The 40W PL1 of the NUC 12 Pro kits put it on top, but the thermal throttling in the Bleu Jour Meta 12 pushes it towards the bottom with performance closer to a Tiger Lake i5 NUC.

UL Procyon - Photo Editing

On the energy consumption front, the actively-cooled kits don’t fare well. They get the job done fast, but end up consuming loads of power in the process.

UL Procyon evaluates performance for video editing using Adobe Premier Pro.

UL Procyon - Photo Editing

The top spot is very closely contested, with the differences being within the margin for run-to-run variations. The Ryzen 7 5800U and the actively-cooled NUC 12 Pro kits provide end users with very similar performance, but the Ryzen 7 5800U is more power efficient and consumes lesser amount of energy overall.

BAPCo CrossMark 1.0.1.86

BAPCo’s CrossMark aims to simplify benchmark processing while still delivering scores that roughly tally with SYSmark. The main advantage is the cross-platform nature of the tool – allowing it to be run on smartphones and tablets as well.

BAPCo CrossMark 1.0.1.86 – Sub-Category Scores

CrossMark springs a bit of a surprise – despite the lower PL1 number, the Core i7-1260P in the ASRock Industrial NUC BOX-1260P manages to handily surpass all other systems including the actively-cooled NUC 12 Pro kits. Other than that, we see the benchmark favoring the Intel systems.

Standardized benchmarks such as UL’s PCMark 10 and BAPCo’s SYSmark take a holistic view of the system and process a wide range of workloads to arrive at a single score. Some systems are required to excel at specific tasks – so it is often helpful to see how a computer performs in specific scenarios such as rendering, transcoding, JavaScript execution (web browsing), etc. This section presents focused benchmark numbers for specific application scenarios.

3D Rendering – CINEBENCH R23

We use CINEBENCH R23 for 3D rendering evaluation. R23 provides two benchmark modes – single threaded and multi-threaded. Evaluation of different PC configurations in both supported modes provided us the following results.

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R23 - Single Thread

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R23 - Multiple Threads

The performance numbers tally with the 40W PL1 allocation in the actively-cooled NUC 12 Pro kits compared to the 28W number for the same processor in the NUC BOX-1260P.

Transcoding: Handbrake 1.5.1

Handbrake is one of the most user-friendly open source transcoding front-ends in the market. It allows users to opt for either software-based higher quality processing or hardware-based fast processing in their transcoding jobs. Our new test suite uses the ‘Tears of Steel’ 4K AVC video as input and transcodes it with a quality setting of 19 to create a 720p AVC stream and a 1080p HEVC stream.

Transcoding - x264

Transcoding - x265_10bit

Despite the Ryzen 7 5800U being configured with a 25W-30W target TDP, the larger number of high-performance cores enable it to perform almost as well as the Alder Lake-P systems configured with a higher power limit in these multi-threaded benchmarks.

Transcoding - QuickSync H.264

Transcoding - QuickSync H.265 10bit

The faster iGPU clocks in the Core i7-12x0P and a better allocation of the power budget to the iGPU help the actively-cooled NUC 12 Pro kits to lead the pack in this QSV benchmark.

Archiving: 7-Zip 21.7

The 7-Zip benchmark is carried over from our previous test suite with an update to the latest version of the open source compression / decompression software.

7-Zip Compression Rate

7-Zip Decompression Rate

The larger number of high-performance cores enables the Ryzen 7 5800U to surpass the NUC 12 Pro kits in this multi-threaded benchmark.

Web Browsing: JetStream, Speedometer, and Principled Technologies WebXPRT4

Web browser-based workloads have emerged as a major component of the typical home and business PC usage scenarios. For headless systems, many applications based on JavaScript are becoming relevant too. In order to evaluate systems for their JavaScript execution efficiency, we are carrying over the browser-focused benchmarks from the WebKit developers used in our notebook reviews. Hosted at BrowserBench, JetStream 2.0 benchmarks JavaScript and WebAssembly performance, while Speedometer measures web application responsiveness.

BrowserBench - Jetstream 2.0

BrowserBench - Speedometer 2.0

From a real-life workload perspective, we also process WebXPRT4 from Principled Technologies. WebXPRT4 benchmarks the performance of some popular JavaScript libraries that are widely used in websites.

Principled Technologies WebXPRT4

Web browsing user-experience continues to be dictated by single-threaded performance. Within the list of compared systems, the actively-cooled NUC 12 Pro kits were expected to be on top based on the processors. There are no surprises across the full gamut of browser benchmarks.

Application Startup: GIMP 2.10.30

A new addition to our systems test suite is AppTimer – a benchmark that loads up a program and determines how long it takes for it to accept user inputs. We use GIMP 2.10.30 with a 50MB multi-layered xcf file as input. What we test here is the first run as well as the cached run – normally on the first time a user loads the GIMP package from a fresh install, the system has to configure a few dozen files that remain optimized on subsequent opening. For our test we delete those configured optimized files in order to force a fresh load every second time the software is run.

AppTimer: GIMP 2.10.30 Startup

The fast cores in the Core i7-12x0P are of great help here, with thermal throttling also not coming into the picture for the Bleu Jour Meta 12.

Intel did not make significant changes in the integrated GPU when moving from Tiger Lake to Alder Lake. Process maturity has allowed it to clock the iGPU a bit higher, but the number of EUs remains the same as in the previous generation. GPU performance evaluation typically involved gaming workloads, and for select PCs, GPU compute. Prior to that, a look at the capabilities of the GPU in the NUC 12 Pro kits is warranted.

The Intel Iris Xe Graphics in the NUC 12 Pro kits is an integrated GPU based on a reworked scalable architecture. The performance of the iGPU is miles ahead of previous iGPUs from both Intel and AMD, as the benchmarks below show.

GFXBench

The DirectX 12-based GFXBench tests from Kishonti are cross-platform, and available all the way down to smartphones. As such, they are not very taxing for discrete GPUs and modern integrated GPUs. We processed the offscreen versions of the ‘Aztec Ruins’ benchmark.

GFXBench 5.0: Aztec Ruins Normal 1080p Offscreen

GFXBench 5.0: Aztec Ruins High 1440p Offscreen

Panther Canyon has a slightly higher PL2 (67W) that gives it a bit of an edge. However, the power budget allocation in the ASRock Industrial unit to the iGPU seems to be better than the one in the NUC 12 Pro units, and that translates to the NUC 12 Pro kits coming in the middle of the pack. However, the scenario changes when offscreen considerations are dropped.

UL 3DMark

Four different workload sets were processed in 3DMark – Fire Strike, Time Spy, Night Raid, and Wild Life. The results below consistently show the actively-cooled NUC 12 Pro kits performing much better than the other systems in the mix. A combination of faster clocks and higher power budgets appear to be the reason behind this.

3DMark Fire Strike

The Fire Strike benchmark has three workloads. The base version is meant for high-performance gaming PCs. It uses DirectX 11 (feature level 11) to render frames at 1920 x 1080. The Extreme version targets 1440p gaming requirements, while the Ultra version targets 4K gaming system, and renders at 3840 x 2160. The graph below presents the overall score for the Fire Strike Extreme and Fire Strike Ultra benchmark across all the systems that are being compared.

UL 3DMark – Fire Strike Workloads

3DMark Time Spy

The Time Spy workload has two levels with different complexities. Both use DirectX 12 (feature level 11). However, the plain version targets high-performance gaming PCs with a 2560 x 1440 render resolution, while the Extreme version renders at 3840 x 2160 resolution. The graphs below present both numbers for all the systems that are being compared in this review.

UL 3DMark – Time Spy Workloads

3DMark Wild Life

The Wild Life workload was initially introduced as a cross-platform GPU benchmark in 2020. It renders at a 2560 x 1440 resolution using Vulkan 1.1 APIs on Windows. It is a relatively short-running test, reflective of mobile GPU usage. In mid-2021, UL released the Wild Life Extreme workload that was a more demanding version that renders at 3840 x 2160 and runs for a much longer duration reflective of typical desktop gaming usage.

UL 3DMark – Wild Life Workloads

3DMark Night Raid

The Night Raid workload is a DirectX 12 benchmark test. It is less demanding than Time Spy, and is optimized for integrated graphics. The graph below presents the overall score in this workload for different system configurations.

UL 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score

One of the key drivers of advancments in computing systems is multi-tasking. On mobile devices, this is quite lightweight – cases such as background email checks while the user is playing a mobile game are quite common. Towards optimizing user experience in those types of scenarios, mobile SoC manufacturers started integrating heterogenous CPU cores – some with high performance for demanding workloads, while others were frugal in terms of both power consumption / die area and performance. This trend is now slowly making its way into the desktop PC space.

Multi-tasking in typical PC usage is much more demanding compared to phones and tablets. Desktop OSes allow users to launch and utilize a large number of demanding programs simultaneously. Responsiveness is dictated largely by the OS scheduler allowing different tasks to move to the background. Intel’s Alder Lake processors work closely with the Windows 11 thread scheduler to optimize performance in these cases. Keeping these aspects in mind, the evaluation of multi-tasking performance is an interesting subject to tackle.

We have augmented our systems benchmarking suite to quantitatively analyze the multi-tasking performance of various platforms. The evaluation involves triggering a ffmpeg transcoding task to transform 1716 3840×1714 frames encoded as a 24fps AVC video (Blender Project’s ‘Tears of Steel’ 4K version) into a 1080p HEVC version in a loop. The transcoding rate is monitored continuously. One complete transcoding pass is allowed to complete before starting the first multi-tasking workload – the PCMark 10 Extended bench suite. A comparative view of the PCMark 10 scores for various scenarios is presented in the graphs below. Also available for concurrent viewing are scores in the normal case where the benchmark was processed without any concurrent load, and a graph presenting the loss in performance.

UL PCMark 10 Load Testing – Digital Content Creation Scores

 

UL PCMark 10 Load Testing – Productivity Scores

 

UL PCMark 10 Load Testing – Essentials Scores

 

UL PCMark 10 Load Testing – Gaming Scores

 

UL PCMark 10 Load Testing – Overall Scores

The NUC 12 Pro kits manage to keep the same performance lead irrespective of the presence of the transcoding load.

Following the completion of the PCMark 10 benchmark, a short delay is introduced prior to the processing of Principled Technologies WebXPRT4 on MS Edge. Similar to the PCMark 10 results presentation, the graph below show the scores recorded with the transcoding load active. Available for comparison are the dedicated CPU power scores and a measure of the performance loss.

Principled Technologies WebXPRT4 Load Testing Scores (MS Edge)

The final workload tested as part of the multitasking evaluation routine is CINEBENCH R23.

3D Rendering – CINEBENCH R23 Load Testing – Single Thread Score

 

3D Rendering – CINEBENCH R23 Load Testing – Multiple Thread Score

The Alder Lake systems manage to maintain acceptable performance levels despite the presence of additional loading. Even in the cases where the percentage drop is high, the absolute performance number still manages to be better.

After the completion of all the workloads, we let the transcoding routine run to completion. The monitored transcoding rate throughout the above evaluation routine (in terms of frames per second) is graphed below for all three NUC 12 Pro kits.

ffmpeg Transcoding Rate and Processor Usage

Intel NUC12WSKi7 ffmpeg Transcoding Rate (Multi-Tasking Test) Task Segment Transcoding Rate (FPS) Minimum Average Maximum Transcode Start Pass 4 13.03 40.5 PCMark 10 0 11.53 37.5 WebXPRT 4 3.5 11.1 21 Cinebench R23 0 11.78 37 Transcode End Pass 3.5 12.96 39.5
Intel NUC12WSKv7 ffmpeg Transcoding Rate (Multi-Tasking Test) Task Segment Transcoding Rate (FPS) Minimum Average Maximum Transcode Start Pass 4 12.55 42 PCMark 10 0 11.12 35.5 WebXPRT 4 3 10.58 21 Cinebench R23 2 11.48 35 Transcode End Pass 3.5 12.4 38.5
Intel NUC12WSBi70Z (Bleu Jour Meta 12) ffmpeg Transcoding Rate (Multi-Tasking Test) Task Segment Transcoding Rate (FPS) Minimum Average Maximum Transcode Start Pass 1.5 7.94 31.5 PCMark 10 0 5.88 21.5 WebXPRT 4 0 6.48 13.5 Cinebench R23 0 5.94 23.5 Transcode End Pass 1 6.52 24

The NUC12WSKi7 kit with the Core i7-1260P performs the best in terms of raw numbers, but the Core i7-1270P has a lower loss in transcoding performance with additional loads in the picture. The Bleu Jour Meta 12 is heavily throttled and doesn’t come anywhere near the performance numbers of the other two systems.

The 2022 Q4 update to our system reviews brings an updated HTPC evaluation suite for systems. After doing away with the evaluation of display refresh rate stability and Netflix streaming evaluation, the local media playback configurations have also seen a revamp. This section details each of the workloads processed on the Intel NUC12WSKi7 (Wall Street Canyon) as part of the HTPC suite.

YouTube Streaming Efficiency

YouTube continues to remain one of the top OTT platforms, primarily due to its free ad-supported tier. Our HTPC test suite update retains YouTube streaming efficiency evaluation as a metric of OTT support in different systems. Mystery Box’s Peru 8K HDR 60FPS video is the chosen test sample. On PCs running Windows, it is recommended that HDR streaming videos be viewed using the Microsoft Edge browser after putting the desktop in HDR mode.

YouTube Streaming Statistics

The GPU in the NUC 12 Pro kits supports hardware decoding of VP9 Profile 2, and we see the stream encoded with that codec being played back. The streaming is perfect, thanks to the powerful GPU and hardware decoding support – even in the thermally throttled Bleu Jour Meta 12. The dropped frames observed in the statistics above are due to mouse clicks involved in bringing up the overlay.

The streaming efficiency-related aspects such as GPU usage and at-wall power consumption are also graphed below.

YouTube Streaming Efficiency

Ordinarily, we would expect the playback profile to be similar for all three systems, but it turns out that the Bleu Jour Meta 12 has the best playback profile of all – except during the activation of the overlays, there is no D3D usage and only the decoder engine is active. The low power consumption numbers also reflect themselves in the energy consumption graphed above.

Hardware-Accelerated Encoding and Decoding

The transcoding benchmarks in the systems performance section presented results from evaluating the QuickSync encoder within Handbrake’s framework. The capabilities of the decoder engine are brought out by DXVAChecker.


Video Decoding Hardware Acceleration in the NUC 12 Pro Kits

The iGPU in the NUC 12 Pro kits support hardware decode for a variety of codecs including AVC, JPEG, HEVC (8b and 10b, 4:2:0 and 4:4:4), and VP9 (8b and 10b, 4:2:0 and 4:4:4). AV1 decode support is also present. This is currently the most comprehensive codec support seen in the PC space.

Local Media Playback

Evaluation of local media playback and video processing is done by playing back files encompassing a range of relevant codecs, containers, resolutions, and frame rates. A note of the efficiency is also made by tracking GPU usage and power consumption of the system at the wall. Users have their own preference for the playback software / decoder / renderer, and our aim is to have numbers representative of commonly encountered scenarios. Our Q4 2022 test suite update replaces MPC-HC (in LAV filters / madVR modes) with mpv. In addition to being cross-platform and open-source, the player allows easy control via the command-line to enable different shader-based post-processing algorithms. From a benchmarking perspective, the more attractive aspect is the real-time reporting of dropped frames in an easily parseable manner. The players / configurations considered in this subsection include:

  • VLC 3.0.18
  • Kodi 20.0rc2
  • mpv 0.35 (hwdec auto, vo=gpu-next)
  • mpv 0.35 (hwdec auto, vo=gpu-next, profile=gpu-hq)

Fourteen test streams (each of 90s duration) were played back from the local disk with an interval of 30 seconds in-between. Various metrics including GPU usage, at-wall power consumption, and total energy consumption were recorded during the course of this playback.

All our playback tests were done with the desktop HDR setting turned on. It is possible for certain system configurations to automatically turn on/off the HDR capabilities prior to the playback of a HDR video, but, we didn’t take advantage of that in our testing.

VLC Playback Efficiency

VLC is unable to take advantage of the AV1 hardware-accelerated decode, but is otherwise good with the other codecs. Energy consumption is at 8.75 Wh for the two actively-cooled NUC 12 Pro kits, but that is with the AV1 clip playing back like a slideshow and getting terminated after 90 seconds without playback completion.

Kodi Playback Efficiency

The hardware-acceleration decode status is the same as that of VLC, and the energy consumption numbers are slightly higher for Kodi.

mpv 0.35 Playback Efficiency

mpv playback with the gpu-next video output driver is the most energy efficient of the lot. We also have hardware accelerated decode for AV1. However, the playback for that clip still has issues, with approximately 60% of the frames getting dropped in the video output (the decoder itself doesn’t drop any frames). This may warrant investigation by the mpv / gpu-next developers and/or Intel’s driver team. It does appear to be a software issue that can be resolved in the long run.

mpv 0.35 (GPU-HQ) Playback Efficiency

Activating the GPU shaders for video post processing (using GPU-HQ) does drive up the energy consumption numbers a bit, but the dropped frames statistics remain similar to the default profile case. Only the AV1 video output suffers from frames getting dropped.

The power consumption at the wall was measured with a 4K display being driven through the HDMI port of the system. In the graph below, we compare the idle and load power of the Intel NUC12WSKi7 (Wall Street Canyon) with other systems evaluated before. For load power consumption, we ran the AIDA64 System Stability Test with various stress components, as well as our custom stress test with Prime95 / Furmark, and noted the peak as well as idling power consumption at the wall.

Power Consumption

The numbers are consistent with the TDP and suggested PL1 / PL2 values for the processors in the systems, and do not come as any surprise. As expected, the numbers for both the actively-cooled NUC 12 Pro kits are similar. The Bleu Jour Meta 12 doesn’t seem to be able to support the default 40W / 64W PL1 / PL2 values. Instead, the peak package power tops out around 32W, translating to an at-wall power consumption number below 55W.

Stress Testing

Our thermal stress routine is a combination of Prime95, Furmark, and Finalwire’s AIDA64 System Stability Test. The following 9-step sequence is followed, starting with the system at idle:

  • Start with the Prime95 stress test configured for maximum power consumption
  • After 30 minutes, add Furmark GPU stress workload
  • After 30 minutes, terminate the Prime95 workload
  • After 30 minutes, terminate the Furmark workload and let the system idle
  • After 30 minutes of idling, start the AIDA64 System Stress Test (SST) with CPU, caches, and RAM activated
  • After 30 minutes, terminate the previous AIDA64 SST and start a new one with the GPU, CPU, caches, and RAM activated
  • After 30 minutes, terminate the previous AIDA64 SST and start a new one with only the GPU activated
  • After 30 minutes, terminate the previous AIDA64 SST and start a new one with the CPU, GPU, caches, RAM, and SSD activated
  • After 30 minutes, terminate the AIDA64 SST and let the system idle for 30 minutes

Traditionally, this test used to record the clock frequencies – however, with the increasing number of cores in modern processors and fine-grained clock control, frequency information makes the graphs cluttered and doesn’t contribute much to understanding the thermal performance of the system. The focus is now on the power consumption and temperature profiles to determine if throttling is in play.

Custom Stress Test – Power Consumption Profile

Custom Stress Test – Temperature Profile

The two actively-cooled NUC 12 Pro kits have expected power consumption and temperature profiles. A sustained package power of 40W is possible in both configurations, with around 32W being the maximum power budget of the iGPU. Package temperatures remain below 90C, and the SSD cooling is good enough to prevent throttling as it remains below 50C. However, the Bleu Jour Meta 12 is a completely different story. It appears that the thermal solution is capable of operating the board only in the cTDP down mode of 20W with a similar PL1 and a 32W PL2. Further investigation is a must from Bleu Jour’s viewpoint, and this is probably one of the reasons why the Meta 12 is not available for public purchase yet.

Thermal Performance

One of the key aspects of fanless systems is the thermal profile under load. Our stress test saw the internal package temperature go as high as 100C in the Bleu Jour Meta 12, and the chassis (doubling up as a heat-sink) tries hard to bring it down.

Using a FLIR One Pro thermal camera, the maximum case temperature under extreme stress at normal room temperature (25C) was determined to be around 78C.

Gallery: Bleu Jour Meta 12 Thermal Profile under Stress

The gallery above presents additional thermal photographs taken at the end of the simultaneous CPU and GPU loading segment of the custom stress test. Given that thermal throttling comes into play and the chassis struggles to keep up, the above temperatures are no cause for surprise.

Networking and storage are aspects that may be of vital importance in specific PC use-cases. The NUC 12 Pro kits come with the Wi-Fi 6E AX211 WLAN cards that also include Bluetooth 5.2 support. On the wired front, the vPro model has the I225-LM Ethernet controller, while the regular model has the I225-V controller with 2.5 Gbps support. Dual LAN options would be nice to have in the vPro SKU in order to enable a dedicated management network interface. Unfortunately, the NUC12WSKv7 has only one wired LAN interface.

On the storage side, the NUC 12 Pro kits do have support for PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSDs. However, cooling those within the space constraints imposed by the form-factor of the mainstream NUCs is very challenging. Even Intel’s review sample came only with the Kingston KC2500 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD. From a benchmarking perspective, we provide results from the WPCstorage test of SPECworkstation 3.1. This benchmark replays access traces from various programs used in different verticals and compares the score against the one obtained with a 2017 SanDisk 512GB SATA SSD in the SPECworkstation 3.1 reference system.

SPECworkstation 3.1.0 – WPCstorage SPEC Ratio Scores

The graphs above present results for different verticals, as grouped by SPECworkstation 3.1. The storage workload consists of 60 subtests. Access traces from CFD solvers and programs such as Catia, Creo, and Soidworks come under ‘Product Development’. Storage access traces from the NAMD and LAMMPS molecular dynamics simulator are under the ‘Life Sciences’ category. ‘General Operations’ includes access traces from 7-Zip and Mozilla programs. The ‘Energy’ category replays traces from the energy-02 SPECviewperf workload. The ‘Media and Entertainment’ vertical includes Handbrake, Maya, and 3dsmax. It is no surprise to see the SSD score being the same in both the actively-cooled NUC 12 Pro kits. The Bleu Jour Meta 12 suffers from extreme thermal throttling, with the SSD temperature going as high as 80 C. So, it is no surprise to see the score for the SSD getting pulled low in that system.

Closing Thoughts

The introduction of hybrid processors to the UCFF line is a major marker in the history of the Intel NUCs. It is only fitting that the ten-year journey of the mainstream NUCs is punctuated by this event. The ultra-compact form-factor has evolved significantly over that time frame, and we find the systems being put to use in a wide range of deployments.

At the end of our review process for the three NUC 12 Pro Wall Street Canyon kits, we have good insights into the key knobs that control system performance. The PL1 and PL2 values are important for delivering the performance improvements expected when going from one generation to the next. At the same time, these numbers also impact the design of fanless systems. OEMs designing such industrial PCs need to pay extra attention to the tuning of the BIOS parameters to keep the temperatures in check.

Between the NUC12WSKi7 and NUC12WSKv7, it appears that the slightly higher turbo clocks in the latter do not deliver any tangible performance benefits. However, the vPro capabilities of the processor may be a must for specific deployments. Unless AMT is absolutely essential, the NUC12WSKi7 is as good a system as the NUC12WSKv7. Intel’s new case design that was previewed in our NUC12WSKv7 sample is eye-catching and subjectively better than the current plain chassis. It might be worthwhile to investigate whether the case design for UCFF systems can also help improve the thermal profile.

I/O options in the NUC 12 Pro kits are excellent, given the form-factor of the system. The presence of two Thunderbolt 4 ports make up for the absence of a SDXC card slot and offers extensive expansion options. At the same time, the Lite SKU that removes the Thunderbolt 4 ports is also an attractive lower-priced option for industrial deployments that don’t have a need for such high-speed I/O. The Bleu Jour Meta 12’s use of the Lite board manages to convey that point.

Our performance evaluation showed that the NUC 12 Pro kits deliver tangible improvements over their Tiger Lake counterparts. Compared to the ASRock Industrial NUC BOX-1260P, the two actively-cooled kits have a much better power consumption and performance profile. Our doubts regarding the performance per watt metric for Alder Lake-P were laid to rest after our detailed investigation into the Wall Street Canyon NUC kits.

On the fanless front, the Bleu Jour Meta 12 is an interesting product that can only improve with more attention to BIOS tuning. The design itself could also do with some improvements in terms of SSD cooling support (the regular NUC 12 Pro kits have a better passive thermal solution for the storage subsystem compared to the Meta 12). Hopefully, the performance and temperature profile of the Meta 12 can change for the better before the product hits the market.

Supply chain issues have resulted in the Wall Street Canyon NUCs being offered in a wide range of prices. The official suggested price for the NUC12WSKi7 is $970 (inclusive of a 500GB NVMe SSD and 16GB of DDR4-3200 DRAM). However, equivalent configurations are being sold with a premium. End users are better off purchasing a barebones version for $660 and adding their own SSD and RAM. The NUC12WSKv7 has a recommended price of around $750 for the barebones version, but the only listing we could find has it for sale at $827. Fanless Alder Lake-P machines are yet to come to the market, though Akasa has announced a few DIY cases for the Wall Street Canyon NUCs. It remains to be seen whether Bleu Jour can eventually bring the Meta 12 to the market.

Categorie
HardwareSoftware

Ottima scopa elettrica senza fili Hoover in sconto del 40%!

Author: Tom’s Hardware

logo_toms hammer_toms

Tom’s Hardware vive grazie al suo pubblico. Quando compri qualcosa dai nostri link, potremmo guadagnare una commissione. Scopri di più

Offerta Più informazioni su Quando si parla di pulizie domestiche, uno degli strumenti più utili in assoluto è la scopa elettrica: comoda e pratica, vi consente di risparmiare tantissimo tempo e fatica, aspirando qualsiasi superficie della casa in men che non si dica. Se ne state cercando una, oggi è il vostro giorno fortunato, dato che un modello ottimo è in super sconto sul sito di Comet! La scopa elettrica Hoover H-Free 100 è infatti disponibile a soli 110,99€ invece di 190,00€; si tratta di un ribasso del 41%, che vi permetterà di risparmiare ben 80,00€. Inoltre, al momento dell’acquisto avrete modo di scegliere l’opzione del pagamento in 3 rate da 37,00€ senza interessi con PayPal, rendendo la spesa ancor più accessibile.

Hoover è uno dei brand leader nel settore degli aspirapolvere, e la scopa elettrica H-Free 100 rispecchia in pieno l’eccellenza dell’azienda. È stata progettata per garantire un’esperienza di pulizia accurata e senza sforzo, complice il contenitore ultra capiente, l’assenza di fili e il potente motore, che grazie alla modalità turbo vi consentirà di rimuovere anche lo sporco più ostinato da qualsiasi superficie.

La scopa elettrica è incredibilmente comoda da utilizzare, dato che vi basterà premere due volte la leva per attivare la modalità di aspirazione continua. In questo modo potrete aspirare tutta la casa senza utilizzare continuamente il tasto “on-off”, mentre le luci a LED collocate nella spazzola vi permetteranno di vedere ogni granello di polvere anche negli ambienti più bui, come le zone sotto i mobili o dietro ai divani.

Infine, il grande contenitore da 0,9 litri della H-Free 100 è stato ideato per ridurre la frequenza dello svuotamento, evitando così il più possibile il contatto diretto con polvere e allergeni e massimizzando l’igiene. Quando però sarà il momento di rimuovere il serbatoio, vi basterà un solo click per staccarlo e gettare il contenuto nei rifiuti, rendendo la procedura estremamente rapida e ordinata.

Ciò detto, non ci resta che lasciarvi all’offerta della scopa elettrica Hoover H-Free 100, rimandandovi alla pagina di Comet dedicata al prodotto. Il nostro consiglio è quello di concludere l’acquisto il prima possibile, dato che lo sconto potrebbe terminare a breve, mentre le scorte disponibili rischiano di esaurire ancor prima!

Inoltre, prima di completare il vostro acquisto, vi suggeriamo caldamente di iscrivervi anche ai nostri tre canali Telegram dedicati alle offerte, con canali specifici dedicati a: Offerte, Hardware & Tech e Abbigliamento e Sport. Buono shopping!

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Da non perdere su Tom's Hardware Fornelli da campeggio

I fornelli da campeggio permettono agli escursionisti di avere a portata di mano una piccola cucina. Ecco quali sono i…

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Hoover H-Free 100

Siete alla ricerca di una nuova scopa elettrica? Questo modello di Hoover è in super sconto da Comet e si…

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Categorie
Pc Games

The Elder Scrolls Online, la nuova espansione è Necrom: a giugno su PC, Mac e console

Author: GAMEmag

Sempre nel Developer_Direct di Xbox e Bethesda, durante il quale è stato presentato per la prima volta Hi-Fi RUSH, il team di ZeniMax Online ha svelato la prossima grande espansione di The Elder Scrolls Online, MMORPG ambientato nel continente di Tamriel. L’add-on s’intitola Necrom e porterà con sé una nuova classe giocabile, due zone inedite da esplorare e tanti altri contenuti extra.

L’annuncio di TESO: Necrom arriva con uno spettacolare trailer in CGI e con una presentazione approfondita da parte degli sviluppatori, che illustrano le principali novità del DLC.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom, l’avvento dell’Arcanist

Matt Firor, Studio Head di Zenimax Online Studio, ha presentato Necrom, prossima espansione di The Elder Scrolls Online (2014) – ad oggi, il gioco conta circa 3 milioni di utenti attivi ogni mese. Il successo dell’MMO ha spinto il team di sviluppo a soddisfare una delle richieste più frequenti della community: una nuova classe giocabile. Ecco dunque che viene presentato l’Arcanist, un potente mago dotato di abilità uniche, basate a loro volta su una serie di tecniche ritenute proibite.

Come da tradizione, con una nuova espansione arriva anche una nuova zona di Tamriel da esplorare. Gli eventi di Necrom si svolgeranno nell’est di Morrowind, territorio che non si vedeva in un gioco del franchise da ben 28 anni. Più precisamente, visiteremo la penisola di Telvanni, dove sorge la città di Necrom e dove soggiornano i misteriosi maghi della potente Casata Telvanni.

A dirla tutta, l’espansione introdurrà anche una seconda zona inedita, Apocrypha. È il regno di Hermaeus Mora, il principe daedrico della conoscenza e della memoria, che ritorna nel mondo di The Elder Scrolls dopo essersi reso protagonista degli eventi di Dragonborn (add-on di TES V: Skyrim). A giudicare dal trailer, sarà proprio lui a conferire all’Arcanist i suoi formidabili poteri: Hermaeus Mora è infatti minacciato da un misterioso nemico e ha bisogno dell’aiuto di un campione per “difendere un segreto che, se rivelato, potrebbe ‘svelare’ la realtà stessa”.

the elder scrolls online necrom

Ogni ambientazione accoglierà quest, sfide e ricompense nuove di zecca, così come NPC alleati e nemici. Necrom introdurrà anche due nuovi companion, un redguard chiamato Al-Cybiades e un argoniano dal nome decisamente originale, Sharp-as-Night.

Firor coglie l’occasione offerta dall’annuncio di Necrom per invitare i nuovi giocatori a scoprire The Elder Scrolls Online, affermando che la community dell’MMORPG “è una delle più accoglienti, se non la più accogliente, del mondo” – oltre a sottolineare che ci sono migliaia di ore di contenuti già disponibili. Per questo motivo, da qualche ora è possibile accedere a tutti i capitoli precedenti di TESO in maniera del tutto gratuita per un periodo di tempo limitato.

Il nuovo capitolo di The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom sarà disponibile dal 5 giugno su PC/Mac e dal 20 giugno su console, ovvero su Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5 e PS4.

Categorie
Energia

Machine Learning and AI Combined Can Boost Energy and Chemical Production

Author: Schneider Electric

machine learningmachine learning

Today’s energy-intensive processes are looking to artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, including machine learning (ML), to help deliver smart automation capabilities needed to decrease machine downtime, expand asset utilization, and unlock immediate insights into real-time process optimization.

Organizations with a “digital-first” mindset understand the potential ML offers to vastly increase daily decision-making accuracy, speed, and flexibility. According to a recent study, 84% of C-suite executives believe AI is necessary to achieve their growth objectives, yet 74% concede that significant barriers to implementation exist.

Core constraints to building automated analytics into automation and control applications are a lack of access to technical skills, diversity in domain expertise, and deployment tools.

Numerous organizations, including Schneider Electric™, have found that a fundamental enabler of successful and ground-breaking ML deployment is to team up with expert outside partners. Dynamic collaborations can significantly enhance the skills and abilities of cross-functional and interdisciplinary teams. Such cooperation is the core philosophy behind our Partnerships of the Future program, an initiative designed to develop mutually beneficial professional relationships to speed innovation and generate superior business outcomes for customers and partners alike.

A collaborative approach to digital development strategy pays off

With valuable input from specialists at Alkhorayef Petroleum, Schneider Electric was able to develop edge analytics-enabled AI capabilities into the EcoStruxure™ Autonomous Production Advisor platform for oil and gas production facilities. It’s one example of the several successful digital co-innovation efforts Schneider is currently executing across multiple industrial segments. The goal of both partners was to build an AI-based solution incorporating ML and pattern recognition models that could detect anomalies in the Oil and Gas extraction process and positively impact several key challenges, including:

  • Harnessing and replicating the insights and expertise of the most proficient well operators so their abilities could be automated and deployed across a broader range of production conditions.
  • Actively managing equipment lifecycles to optimize well intervention schedules and generate maximum value from the physical asset base.
  • Monitoring and reacting to downhole conditions in real-time to optimize petroleum production, reduce unplanned downtime, maximize oil volumes, and improve safety.

Because traditional automation architectures and strategies wouldn’t deliver the required capabilities, particularly for remote oil and gas wells, a new cooperative development approach was undertaken. Together, the team was able to leverage Schneider’s expertise in IIoT-enabled control systems and AI-based process optimization with Alkhorayef Petroleum’s knowledge and expertise of electrical submersible pumps to create novel techniques to capture and automate expert knowledge.

Cloud computing and edge analytics combined

EcoStruxure Autonomous Production Advisor merges the power and flexibility of cloud and edge computing with the value-generating capabilities of artificial intelligence and machine learning. In conjunction with remote terminal units (RTUs), the platform runs on industrial-grade edge controllers that combine supervised and unsupervised ML models running directly at the edge.

Replicating the actions of highly skilled human operators, the AI monitors the pump operation, assesses production variables, and analyzes the interactions and relationships between them, to identify anomalous operations. As a next step, the AI model classifies the detected anomalous events (such as sand intrusion, interfering gas, or mechanical problems) as specific issues. Continuous validation of the AI model’s event classifications by operators and experts helps to retrain the model, developing increasingly accurate diagnostic and predictive abilities.

The implementation of machine learning models in industrial applications forms an exciting new area because they can be trained to optimize operations and asset performance in a variety of important areas, such as:

  • Identification of asset deterioration
  • Early detection of abnormal behavior
  • Prediction of equipment failure and smart alarming
  • Asset performance management (digital twin)

An additional benefit of AI models is that such a solution can be trained for image recognition, enabling it to be an automation aid for several applications, including:

  • Product quality
  • Man down and intrusion detection and alarming
  • Leakage detection and contactless flow measurement
  • Machine vision and object and shape detection

Vendor-agnostic hardware enables the platform to be deployed to existing architectures without requiring significant modifications.

Co-innovation delivers tangible results

In offshore and onshore wells in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, the EcoStruxure Autonomous Production Advisor model training process has proven to be very effective at capturing the skills and expertise of the most senior operators and having the system automate and reproduce them. In one use case run by Schneider Electric, the customer reported a 13% increase in production and a 33% reduction in energy consumption.

Innovation isn’t just about technology; there’s no “one size fits all” strategy for partnering to invent new solutions that deliver major dividends. Success depends on nurturing conditions for a dynamic, mutually beneficial partnership. With a depth of co-innovation experience unrivaled in the smart control systems and process automation space, Schneider Electric is ready to work with true partners looking to overcome our greatest challenges.

Click to learn more about EcoStruxure™ Autonomous Production Advisor and Alkhorayef Petroleum.

Co-author

Khaled Elsheikh is Vice President of Artificial Lift at Alkhorayef Petroleum Company (APC), a position he has held since September 2018. Based in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Elsheikh helps operators overcome the challenges of producing oil from the increasingly complex reservoirs the industry faces today. With his global perspective, Elsheikh is a recognized expert in Artificial Lift, where, prior to joining APC, he spent 16 years at Schlumberger.

At Schlumberger, he enjoyed a rich carrier that spanned many roles and different country assignments. Most recently, he was the Global Marketing and Technology VP for Schlumberger’s division of Artificial Lift. Elsheikh joined Schlumberger in 2002 as an Artificial Lift field engineer in the US after earning a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine in the UK. Over the years, he has held a variety of positions around the world in R&D, strategy, quality, engineering, technology, and management. He has worked in eight countries and spanned several product lines, including wireline, artificial lift, and general oilfield services roles. He speaks Arabic and English fluently.

Tags: Artificial Intelligence (AI), co-innovation, machine learning, Partnerships of The Future, Process optimization

Categorie
HardwareSoftware

Robot che passano dallo stato solido allo stato liquido e viceversa potrebbero diventare realtà

Author: IlSoftware

Un gruppo di studiosi presenta un materiale che permette di passare rapidamente dallo stato solido a quello liquido e viceversa: a cosa può servire.

In un film di fantascienza ormai diventato iconico, Terminator 2, si vede un robot, il malvagio androide T-1000, passare dallo stato solido a quello liquido e viceversa.

Un gruppo di ricercatori dell’Università di Hong Kong afferma di aver realizzato qualcosa di molto simile: in video pubblicato a sostegno della ricerca consultabile in queste pagine si vede un “omino” che dapprima “si scioglie” passando dallo stato solido a quello liquido, riesce ad evadere dalla gabbia per poi ricomporsi nella fase finale libero da ogni catena.

Diciamo subito che il video risulta “montato”: il materiale non ha memoria delle sue fattezze iniziali e si ricompone in forma solida senza però presentarsi come l’omino di partenza. Nel video l’omino che riappare nelle ultime fasi della sequenza è stato infatti ricomposto manualmente. Ciò premesso, il lavoro degli scienziati asiatici è di grande valore.

Robot che passano dallo stato solido allo stato liquido e viceversa potrebbero diventare realtà

Gli accademici hanno utilizzato un materiale MPTM (Magnetoactive phase transitional matter) che può passare da uno stato liquido allo stato solido in risposta all’applicazione di un campo magnetico esterno. In base all’intensità e alla direzione del campo magnetico il materiale può cambiare la sua fase ovvero la sua struttura a livello molecolare.

Il meccanismo in base al quale avviene questa transizione può variare a seconda del tipo di MPTM usato ma il passaggio da uno stato all’altro avviene in modo graduale e reversibile: si può insomma tornare allo stato iniziale in base alle condizioni del campo magnetico.

Queste proprietà possono essere utilizzate in molteplici campi applicativi: nei dispositivi di memoria, nei sensori, nei dispositivi di raffreddamento termico e così via.

Robot che passano dallo stato solido allo stato liquido e viceversa potrebbero diventare realtà

Nel loro studio i ricercatori di Hong Kong hanno proposto la realizzazione di “oggetti” fatti di microparticelle ferromagnetiche di neodimio-ferro-boro (NdFeB): la solidificazione è dovuta all’allineamento dei momenti magnetici delle particelle nella direzione del campo magnetico che porta a una diminuzione della mobilità delle particelle con conseguente formazione di una struttura simile a quella solida (peraltro caratterizzata da un’eccellente resistenza meccanica). Nella sua forma solida il materiale può sostenere oggetti fino a 30 volte la sua massa.

Viceversa, il passaggio allo stato liquido avviene attraverso il riscaldamento induttivo mediante l’applicazione di un campo magnetico alternato (AMF) e il raffreddamento ambiente a temperatura ambiente.

La magnetizzazione stabile delle microparticelle ha permesso di sfruttare il materiale per compiere movimenti veloci e versatili (salti, rotazioni,…). In fase liquida, il materiale è fluido e le microparticelle magnetiche sono in grado di ruotare e riorientare la loro polarità magnetica per ottenere adattamenti morfologici: si possono così ingenerare allungamenti, suddivisioni e fusioni.

A cosa può servire tutto questo? Gli studiosi spiegano che i materiali MPTM, così come utilizzati nella ricerca, potrebbero essere sfruttati per creare macchine per saldatura intelligenti che manipolano e fondono componenti elettronici per l’assemblaggio e la riparazione dei circuiti, per assemblare parti in uno spazio confinato, in ambito medico per rimuovere dallo stomaco un oggetto estraneo o per rilasciare farmaci al bisogno.

Concentriamoci su due degli “scenari” descritti: immaginate una pillola solida MPTM che viene ingerita. Una volta raggiunto lo stomaco o un’altra “zona bersaglio” potrebbe trasformarsi in un liquido utile a circondare il corpo estraneo. Attraverso il processo di solidificazione l’oggetto potrebbe quindi essere naturalmente espulso attraverso il sistema digestivo.

Immaginate anche una macchina dalla quale si sia distaccata una vita in una zona molto difficile da raggiungere e senza possibilità di movimento con gli strumenti di riparazione convenzionali: il materiale MPTM potrebbe essere utilizzato per raggiungere l’area d’intervento sotto forma di liquido. Tornando allo stato solido, potrebbe essere utilizzato per ripristinare la vite in posizione.