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.
The Gigabyte BRIX XM11-3337 comes in four different processor configurations, including the 1.8GHz Celeron 1037U, 1.9GHz Core i3-3227U, 1.8-2.7GHz Core i5-3337U and 2-3.1GHz Core i7-3537U and 8GB of 1600MHz SO-DIMM RAM. It's worth noting that Brix also offers more USB 3.0 ports and Wi-Fi out of the box, a 128GB mSATA SSD and a copy of Windows 8 Professional.
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