Introduction and Setup Impressions

GIGABYTE's BRIX Pro (using an Intel Iris Pro part) has made a big splash in the market, particularly as a Steam machine. Enthused by its success, GIGABYTE has introduced a set of mini-PCs under the BRIX Gaming moniker. The lineup consists of mini-PCs in a form factor similar to the BRIX Pro (which itself had the footprint of an Intel NUC kit). The current flagship in the BRIX Gaming line is the BXi5G-760, a machine featuring a Core i5-4200H Haswell CPU and a NVIDIA GTX 760 discrete GPU. Given the paper specifications of the GTX 760, the machine promises to be a gaming powerhouse in its size class.

Similar to the BRIX Pro, the BXi5G-760 comes barebones. Users have to bring in their own DDR3L SODIMM sticks as well as an mSATA or 2.5" drive for completing the build. We configured the review unit to end up with the following components.

GIGABYTE BXi5G-760 Specifications
Processor Intel Haswell Core i5-4200H
(2C/4T x 2.80 GHz (3.40 GHz Turbo), 22nm, 3MB L2, 47W)
Memory 2 x 4GB DDR3L-1866
Graphics NVIDIA GTX 760 (NVIDIA GTX 870M)
6 GB GDDR5
135 MHz / 941 MHz (Turbo)
Disk Drive(s) ADATA SX300 128 GB mSATA SSD + Spare 2.5" Drive Slot
Networking 1x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x1 802.11ac mPCIe
Audio Capable of 5.1/7.1 digital output with HD audio bitstreaming (mini-HDMI / mini-DP 1.2)
Operating System

Retail unit is barebones, but we installed Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Pricing (As configured) $800 (barebones) + $195 (DRAM + mSATA SSD)
Full Specifications GB-BXi5G-760 Specifications

The BXi5G-760 kit doesn't come with any pre-installed OS, but we do have a USB key with Windows drivers. In addition to the main unit, the other components of the package include a 180 W (19.5V @ 9.23A) adapter, a US power cord, a splitter for the single audio jack, screws for installing a 2.5" drive, a mini-DP to DP cable and a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable.

The stand-out aspect of the BXi5G-760 compared to mini-PCs in a similar form factor include the presence of three video outputs (2x mini-HDMI and 1x mini-DP). The gallery below takes us around the hardware in the unit. In particular, the dimensions of the unit are compared to the BRIX Pro. The width turns out to be slightly more in order to accommodate the side fans for cooling the GPU.

We configured our unit with an ADATA SX300 128 GB mSATA SSD as a boot drive and put in two Corsair Vengeance 1866 MHz SODIMMs. All BIOS settings were left at default. The DRAM configured itself to run at 1866 MHz without any user inputs

In the table below, we have an overview of the various systems that we are comparing the BXi5G-760 against. Note that they may not belong to the same market segment. The relevant configuration details of the machines are provided so that readers have an understanding of why some benchmark numbers are skewed for or against the BXi5G-760 when we come to those sections.

Comparative PC Configurations
Aspect GIGABYTE GB-BXi5G-760
CPU Intel Core i5-4200H Intel Core i7-3720QM
GPU NVIDIA GTX 760 Intel HD Graphics 4000
RAM Corsair Vengeance CMSX8GX3M2B1866C10
10-10-10-32 @ 1866 MHz
2x4 GB
Super Talent W1333SB4GH
9-9-9-24 @ 1333 MHz
2x 4GB
Storage ADATA XPG SX300 AX300S3-128GM-C
(128 GB, PCIe Module mSATA 6Gb/s, 25nm, MLC)
Intel® SSD 330 Series
(60 GB, SATA 6Gb/s, 25nm, MLC)
Wi-Fi Realtek 8821AE Wireless LAN 802.11ac
(1x1 802.11ac - 433 Mbps)
N/A
Price (in USD, when built) $995 $1300

 

Performance Metrics - I
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  • kgh00007 - Monday, September 15, 2014 - link

    Nice review, I hope you guys get in the Alienware Alpha for review. I think that's going to make a really nice HTPC depending on what GPU is announced for it! Reply
  • WatcherCK - Monday, September 15, 2014 - link

    Or as another possibility for a heating solution would be to hack on an external radiator ala R295x2, you will loose some of the convenience of the form factor with the addition of an external cooler but given the thermal load of the components it would be more than adequate for cooling this wee box :) Reply
  • SuperVeloce - Monday, September 15, 2014 - link

    6GB gddr5 ? are they for real? Reply
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    They are probobly targeting novice users that dont know better.
    And 6GB of graphics memory sound real nice.
    Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Monday, September 15, 2014 - link

    With the heat and throttling problems this BRIX has, how long until it BRIX itself (ba dum tiss).
    Seriously though, why not use a slightly bigger enclosure along with a geforce 860m? that would have been cheaper, cooler, and quieter.
    Reply
  • Laststop311 - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    Rather build a micro atx tower with a MSI gaming twin frozr cooler GTX 770 and i5-4690k tower 70 + psu 60 + 150 mobo + 100 ram + gtx 770 320 + i5-4690k 250 + 120GB crucial m500 70 + Noctua u14s heatsink +75 + 3x noctua fans to replace case fans 60 = 1135 so for the measly sum of 160 extra dollars you can build a MUCH more powerful PC that is much quieter. The msi gpu is one of the quietest twin frozr is excellent the u14s noctua heatsink is actually quieter than water cooling and even surpasses the 120mm close loops and is about equal to the 240mm closed loops in performance. Since all the case fans are noctua and there is no hard drive the only noise you are going to hear is power supply noise and gpu noise and the power supply fan only kicks on when under heavy load, Such performance such silence. Sure the size is bigger but a micro atx tower isn't THAT bad and I'm not hurting for space. Reply
  • Laststop311 - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    1155 it equals forgot to update that value Reply
  • Bob Todd - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    1) In general I agree. I'd just build something much more powerful that was larger.

    2) Tiny builds have always had a significantly worse power/price ratio, so the "I'd just build X that is Y times the size" could be a template response to any of these SFF machines.

    There is at least some back of the napkin math that shows these companies that there is enough of a market for these types of machines at these types of price points that they will be beneficial to their bottom line. Personally I think a cheap NUC form factor box with an A10-7800 @ 45W would be more interesting. Sure it could only do 720p gaming with low settings, but it could be comparatively cheap. But if I'm going to spend "desktop money" on one of these machines, I'd rather do a nice mITX build in a case with enough room for a full size graphics card. I guess that was a long winded way to say that your post was so obvious it doesn't add value...but that I agree.
    Reply
  • SirPerro - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    "Small gaming PC" concept is stupid

    People looking for a gaming PC are not Apple fans willing to pay more for something stilish

    Make this thing twice the size and it will be simply better.
    Reply
  • dmacfour - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    I completely disagree.

    People looking for gaming PC's range from home builders to noobs that'll pay for a pre-built computers with flashy LED lights, windows, sparkly paint, and unnecessary aftermarket coolers.

    They'll absolutely pay more for style. It's just a different kind of style.
    Reply

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