CompuLab's Airtop 3 Is The Most Powerful Fan-Less Computer We've Tested Yet
Written by Michael Larabel in Computers on 9 September 2019. Page 2 of 5. 23 Comments

For putting the performance -- both raw performance and thermals -- into perspective I ran some fresh benchmarks of the Airtop 3 against other similar devices in its class. These other devices tested included the original Airtop (Core i7 5775C + GTX 950), an Intel Skylake NUC with Core i7 8770HQ CPU bearing Iris Pro 580 graphics, and the CompuLab IPC3 computer with an Intel Core i7 7500U with HD Graphics 620.

Ubuntu 19.04 was tested on all of these systems. Ubuntu 19.04 worked out well with the Airtop 3 along with other Linux distributions and didn't encounter any issues with other modern distributions, sans needing to use the proprietary NVIDIA driver due to Nouveau's open-source NVIDIA Turing support being in its very early stages and not yet practical without hardware acceleration.

Through a variety of benchmarks, the CPU temperature was being monitored along with the overall AC system power consumption to be able to generate performance-per-Watt results. The NVIDIA GPU temperature in the Airtop and Airtop 3 were also being monitored. All of this benchmarking was being done using the Phoronix Test Suite.

First up was a run of the Blender modeling software while using the purely CPU-based renderer option. The Airtop 3 with Xeon CPU was about twice as fast as the original Airtop with Intel Broadwell CPU and much faster than the other devices tested.

The Airtop 3 while running Blender saw an average temperature of about 70 degrees and peaked at 77, well below the original Airtop hitting 91 degrees and an average of 85 degrees. The Skylake NUC quickly soared into the 90s during testing and did hit thermal throttling while the coolest system tested was the CompuLab IPC3 that has just the Core i7 7500U mobile processor that was the slowest of the components tested.

During this CPU rendering work, the CompuLab Airtop 3 had an average power draw of 113 Watts with a peak of 161 Watts, more than any other system tested but also the fastest.

The Airtop 3 with the NVIDIA RTX 4000 was also tested when exploiting Blender's CUDA renderer.

Not only was the Airtop 3 much faster for CUDA than the original Airtop with Maxwell GPU, but the various vitals were also better while consuming just ~20 Watts more than older system.

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