Gigabyte repurposes Brix platform as a tiny gaming PC

By on September 11, 2013, 3:45 PM

Last month we took an in-depth look at Gigabyte’s Brix Mini PC featuring Intel’s third generation Ivy Bridge Core processors. The machine was impressive given its compact footprint but it also wasn’t terribly practical as there really isn’t much of a need for a pocket-sized desktop computer.

Gigabyte isn’t giving up on the platform, however. Instead, they’re repurposing it a bit by marketing new models to space-conscious gamers. The aptly named Brix II barebones system ups the ante in the graphics department thanks to Intel’s Iris Pro – the company’s top integrated graphics offering.

The system also includes a Haswell CPU, HDMI and mini DisplayPort output, four USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, built-in Wi-Fi and a 3.5mm audio jack on the front. The chassis is a bit bigger than previous offerings but given the boost in hardware, I doubt most people will mind too much.

If you aren’t familiar, Intel claims Iris Pro is up to three times faster than their current HD Graphics 4000 offering and is in line with Nvidia’s GeForce GT 650M discrete graphics. The combo can even run Crysis 3 to some degree, we’re told.

Keep in mind, however, that it’s still a barebones machine. That means you’ll need to supply your own storage, memory and operating system. Pricing starts around $199 and can balloon up to $699 depending on how you spec it out. Intel said we can expect to see the Brix II ship by December.




User Comments: 14

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ikesmasher said:

Gimme a break. this is pointless, even gaming laptops (for "space conscious" gamers) are massive.

A x86. windows gaming tablet would have been cooler IMO.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hmm, maybe an interesting candidate for the whole "Steambox" concept?

Throw a slot-load Blu-Ray into that package, and I might be tempted to replace my aging HTPC with one... The shots I've seen of the new Brix (including the one on Techspot's main page) show a taller case than the pics in this article... Reusing the old original Brix photos maybe?

TheBigFatClown said:

Hey Mr. Shawn Night,

Why don't you let other people decide whether there are "needs for a pocket-sized desktop computer" and stop representing yourself as "everybody". Sound fair?

If you don't have a "need" for it don't buy it. And please, in the future, don't speak for me. I'll speak for myself.

I shutter to think what the cellphone world would like if you were the CEO of Apple 10 years ago. "Hey Shawn, I had this idea about shrinking the footprint of mobile phones down and putting an OS on them." "Nah, sounds stupid. There really isn't a practical need for a phone that has an operating system." "Yeah, your right I guess. Stupid idea. Next.."

Personally, I think it's one hell of an idea. Packing the performance and power of a desktop-sized computer into smaller and smaller spaces. Why would anybody whine about that?

I guess Mr Night lives in a mansion with 50-foot high ceilings. Maybe he doesn't worry about saving space like the average american does.

Injecting your opinions in the articles you write is your decision. But when doing so try to remember to start the sentence with these 3 words. "In my opinion". Thank You.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Personally, I think it's one hell of an idea. Packing the performance and power of a desktop-sized computer into smaller and smaller spaces. Why would anybody whine about that?

I was just thinking that the box is almost small enough to mount to the back of a monitor, and it's powerful enough that I could probably replace 75% of the PCs in my office with these little guys... Kind of the middle ground between the cheap low-end desktop-level PCs that get purchased for these office computers, and the more flashy and expensive all-in-one PC which is overkill... Hmmmmmmmm.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Hey Mr. Shawn Night,

Why don't you let other people decide whether there are "needs for a pocket-sized desktop computer" and stop representing yourself as "everybody". Sound fair?

Almost certain that's not what he did, everybody agrees.

Personally, I think it's one hell of an idea. Packing the performance and power of a desktop-sized computer into smaller and smaller spaces. Why would anybody whine about that?

They probably wouldn't if that's all there was to it. The BRIX computers are grossly overpriced for what they are, leaving countless better options. "In my opinion" you need to do some more research before blasting someone who is trying to help.

I was just thinking that the box is almost small enough to mount to the back of a monitor, and it's powerful enough that I could probably replace 75% of the PCs in my office with these little guys... Kind of the middle ground between the cheap low-end desktop-level PCs that get purchased for these office computers, and the more flashy and expensive all-in-one PC which is overkill... Hmmmmmmmm.

The entire idea is to mount this on the back of a monitor, though you can do that with PC's that are considerably larger as well. There is nothing wrong with the idea, just the price. For the same money you can get a faster laptop which includes a screen and battery, a much better option in our opinion. Check out our review if you want to know more, Shawn linked to it in his news post above.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

This just might be a replacement for my htpc. I'm also curious if apple will take the iris pro and add it to mac mini when it gets refreshed.

TheBigFatClown said:

Almost certain that's not what he did.

They probably wouldn't if that's all there was to it. The BRIX computers are grossly overpriced for what they are leaving countless better options. "In my opinion" you need to do some more research before blasting someone who is trying to help.

The entire idea is to mount this on the back of a monitor, though you can do that with PC's that are considerably larger as well. There is nothing wrong with the idea, just the price. For the same money you can get a faster laptop which includes a screen and battery, a much better option in our opinion. Check out our review if you want to know more, Shawn linked to it in his news post above.

Your trying to interpret his intentions. I am guessing you know him somehow more than I do. When I have to make decisions about what somebody is attempting to say I can only attempt to interpret what they are saying by 'words alone' in the case of an article on the internet. It does, in fact, look like he is making statements that could be interpreted as facts. If he wants to help people that's fine. You don't do it by injecting opinions in articles as facts. Words mean things. The only way I can determine what he is trying to say is 'by his words'. A lot of technologies are overpriced because of convenience. Some people will pay, some won't.

If your trying to use the fact that brix computers are overpriced as a justification for his statement that there 'really isn't much of a need for a pocket-sized desktop computer' then you have failed also. The fact that they are overpriced has nothing to do with whether a need exists for a product.

I am guessing you jumped to defend somebody you regard as a friend and that's okay. Just some friendly advice for the future. Words mean things. And if you inject opinions, state them as such. Don't state them as facts. Its good common sense.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

No what happened here was I reviewed the BRIX not long ago and having seen Shawn's news post I took a closer look as it interested me. I then scrolled down to the comments section and saw your unbelievably ridiculous post which was nothing more than an unwarranted attack and decided to comment myself.

When Shawn said there really isn't much of a need for a pocket-sized desktop computer I guess he said that because there isn't, at least as far as we could tell. I'm not sure if you fully understood that sentence because the way you are carrying on suggests you don't.

By saying "there really isn't much of a need" doesn't mean he said there is no need. It means there isn't much need, as in 1 in 10 people might find it useful for example.

Anyway this was the same conclusion I came to when writing my review on the BRIX so Shawn is really just relaying that same opinion. If we have got it completely wrong please tell us why, you seem to know best and I really would like to hear why not just ramblings.

In fact when we check out the upcoming BRIX models it would be great to know what people want to use them for and why they need to be pocket size.

Although it's none of your business I don't know Shawn very well, I have never met him and we have only spoke briefly just a handful of times. It wouldn't matter if it was Shawn or anyone else on the planet, your comments were unwarranted.

If you are that offended by a tech expert giving his opinion I urge you to stop reading what he publishes, it will just cause you further anguish.

TheBigFatClown said:

By saying "there really isn't much of a need" doesn't mean he said there is no need. It means there isn't much need, as in 1 in 10 people might find it useful for example.

Anyway this was the same conclusion I came to when writing my review on the BRIX so Shawn is really just relaying that same opinion. If we have got it completely wrong please tell us why, you seem to know best and I really would like to hear why not just ramblings.

In fact when we check out the upcoming BRIX models it would be great to know what people want to use them for and why they need to be pocket size.

Although it's none of your business I don't know Shawn very well, I have never met him and we have only spoke briefly just a handful of times. It wouldn't matter if it was Shawn or anyone else on the planet, your comments were unwarranted.

If you are that offended by a tech expert giving his opinion I urge you to stop reading what he publishes, it will just cause you further anguish.

Just like 1 in 10 people might find a portable cellphone useful? Okay, you win. My mistake.

JC713 JC713 said:

Lol you have to add in your own 2.5inch SSD and your own RAM. That is pathetic.

ypsylon said:

As far as supposedly basic model is 200$ I have no problems with that. Even considering that as with all barebones you need to add hdd/RAM/OS on your own. From my point of view I needed tiny PC with a bit of guts, with minimal power drain when needed, for 24/7/365(6) operation, but all BRIX PCs (and overwhelming majority of other barebones) have 2 colossal problems - limited connectivity and freaking noise.

1. Take LAN for example. Only 1 port. Can't connect DAS/NAS to it. Can't fail-over to another port if one goes dead.

2. In this one particular model. Only USB3. Anyone who is not casual PC user know that USB2 devices not always work properly in USB3 slots, which is fail from the start.

3. For those who believe in WiFi (I certainly don't) there is no antenna sticking out of the box.

4. Price of most models is simply ridiculous (system built on mITX/mATX boards will be much cheaper, although in slightly bigger box).

5. Barebones don't support classic PSUs - another hot brick on/under the desk... When classic PSU fails, you buy another one. When custom PSU for barebone goes AWOL you don't (unless you are in luck and find a compatible model).

6. And finally probably biggest problem of (almost) ALL barebones - NOISE. All these 40/50 mm overworked fans. Yelling at 5000-10000 rpms inside the case, trying their best to remove heat. ALL fail miserably. Here obvious advantage of custom mITX/mATX system where 120mm fans (for silent operation) can be used is plainly visible.

The bottom line is:

Answer yourself: do you prefer tiny, expensive, noisy & uber hot* barebone box or slightly bigger, quieter, cooler, cheaper and with certain degree of expansion possible mITX/mATX system)? It is a no-brainer!

* - some of i7 barebones I have seen hit 85-90C when at full tilt!!! That's just mad&stupid.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

1. Take LAN for example. Only 1 port. Can't connect DAS/NAS to it. Can't fail-over to another port if one goes dead.

One port for connecting DAS/NAS isn't a problem in my opinion, just use a cheap Gigabit switch. These are not really designed for mission critical applications so fail-over shouldn't be a huge issue. That said if a port does die it's all over, same deal as laptops though. You would have to use the wireless which is obviously much slower. Thankfully the wireless can be replaced if it dies.

2. In this one particular model. Only USB3. Anyone who is not casual PC user know that USB2 devices not always work properly in USB3 slots, which is fail from the start.

I haven't found that but I don't doubt it. Still I don't have a problem with no USB 2.0, good riddance as far as I am concerned.

3. For those who believe in WiFi (I certainly don't) there is no antenna sticking out of the box.

I don't like WiFi either but it works fine in the BRIX without an external antenna, it's built into the chassis.

4. Price of most models is simply ridiculous (system built on mITX/mATX boards will be much cheaper, although in slightly bigger box).

100% agree!

5. Barebones don't support classic PSUs - another hot brick on/under the desk... When classic PSU fails, you buy another one. When custom PSU for barebone goes AWOL you don't (unless you are in luck and find a compatible model).

The power brick for the BRIX doesn't get that hot and replacing it shouldn't be an issue. Get on eBay type in the model number and a few dozen pop up. Also universal laptop power supplies should work fine as well.

6. And finally probably biggest problem of (almost) ALL barebones - NOISE. All these 40/50 mm overworked fans. Yelling at 5000-10000 rpms inside the case, trying their best to remove heat. ALL fail miserably. Here obvious advantage of custom mITX/mATX system where 120mm fans (for silent operation) can be used is plainly visible.

The BRIX is near silent, even under load the fan is barely auditable. The BRIX also run very cool as they use mobile processors which is why the performance isn't up to scratch with the desktop variants.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

It's still a newish concept and hasn't really caught on yet. Give it time to mature, prices to drop and who knows?... It could be the next big thing. At the moment I'm not the least bit interested in it.

Guest said:

Steve,

I did find TheBFC's tone unnecessarily offensive, but yours is equally so and unbecoming of Techspot staff in my opinion.

BFC's point is valid however, if the article is intended as journalism it is a poor specimen. Opinions should not be expressed as facts. When I read the phrase it cast doubt in my mind on the author's of the subject and my interest in his article.

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