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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  • daddacool - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    The sooner Gigabyte bites the bullet and does a gaming brix with watercooling the better. Until they do that, the thermal constraints make it a little pointless IMHO Reply
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    where the hell would they put watercooling ? Reply
  • dj_aris - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    Just invest $50 more on R&Ding better cooling on a $1000 pc, Gigabyte. Bigger fans? Bigger chassis? A tiny water cooling module? How awesome would that be. Reply
  • DiseasedPidgeon - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    The reason they've made this small is for a living room unit. I prefer the solution provided by the G-Pack. http://piixl.com Reply
  • Haravikk - Monday, October 6, 2014 - link

    Another waste of money from the Brix line; anything in this form factor that requires cooling is a dead end on thermal and acoustic performance. But the really weird thing is that it might not be so bad if they'd just build their own cooling system; put the CPU at the top facing down, and the GPU at the bottom facing up, sandwiching a nice big heat-sink with a built-in blower fan and you might just improve things, but two tiny fans shoved into a position they can't possibly cool properly from is not the answer.

    It's silly really, as machines only slightly bigger are far more compelling. The Alienware Alpha for example is still extremely small, but ought to have similar, or even better, performance for a lot less money.
    Reply

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