Earlier this year, we had our first look at the GIGABYTE BRIX Pro, along with a note about further benchmarks to follow. It was our first look at the Intel Core i7-4770R, a Crystal Well part with 128 MB of eDRAM built into the package. The part was aimed squarely at making integrated graphics competetive with low-end discrete GPUs. As a direct result of this, PC manufacturers could make compact gaming units. The BRIX Pro was even distributed at the Steam Developers Conference as a Steam Machine.

In our second look at the BRIX Pro, we changed the memory and storage subsystem to better reflect the expected use case. The table below provides the components utilized for the build along with pricing information.

Gigabyte GB-BXi7-4770R (2) Build Components
  Component Price
Chassis / CPU / Motherboard / PSU GB-BXi7-4770R $649
Memory Corsair Vengeance CMSX8GX3M2B1866C10 2x4 GB Kit $95
SSD Samsung SSD 840 EVO 120 GB $90

Total   $834

Readers may remember that the first part of our BRIX Pro review used Crucial DRAM modules and an Intel mSATA drive. Gamers usually go for higher memory speeds and SATA-based 2.5" drives are usually much cheaper compared to mSATA drives for the same capacity. The Corsair memory modules are rated for 1866 MHz (compared to Crucial's 1600 MHz) and, while the capacity of the 840 EVO (120 GB) is lower than that of the Intel mSATA drive (180 GB) used earlier, it is fine for applications where games and other heavy content are stored on an external drive.

Benchmark numbers change with the new configuration and so we reran our evaluation suite. The first two sections will deal with the updated benchmark numbers. Following this, we have a section presenting our gaming benchmarks. Recently, we have started evaluating the wireless networking and storage subsystem for mini PCs and results for the BRIX Pro are presented in a separate section. We touch briefly upon the HTPC aspects before discussing the thermal aspects.  However, prior to all that, we have a table presenting the details of various systems that are compared against the BRIX Pro in this review.

Comparative PC Configurations
Aspect GIGABYTE GB-BXi7-4770R (2)
CPU Intel Core i7-4770R Intel Core i7-3720QM
GPU Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200 Intel HD Graphisc 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 Samsung SSD 840 EVO
(120 GB, 2.5in SATA 6Gb/s, 19nm, TLC)
Intel® SSD 330 Series
(60 GB, SATA 6Gb/s, 25nm, MLC)
Wi-Fi Realtek 8821AE Wireless LAN 802.11ac
(1x1 802.11ac - 433 Mbps)
Price (in USD, when built) $829 $1300


Performance Metrics - I
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  • dylan522p - Saturday, June 14, 2014 - link

    Fair enough. The SSD market moves so fast can't blame you on that.
  • Yorgos - Monday, June 16, 2014 - link

    It doesn't matter which is inferior when we are talking for a small percentage in performance, actually in those speeds I don't think it makes any difference. What matters is that samsung offers the best silicon in the market and has the least problems with its ssds so most of the builds will prolly have samsung instead of crucial.
  • cubee - Saturday, June 14, 2014 - link

    How much impact will DDR4 have on iGPU performance?
  • schizoide - Saturday, June 14, 2014 - link

    Alienware alpha (steam machine) will be out in a couple months for $550, which is less than the barebones Brix Pro, with no RAM or storage. The Alpha is an i3 with 4GB RAM and a "maxwell" (real 750ti-ish) GPU and a 500GB HD. It will actually be capable of 1080p gaming, and costs less. It is quite a lot larger than the brix, but still small compared to any other computer. Oh, and you get an x360 controller and a win8.1 license too.
  • Morawka - Sunday, June 15, 2014 - link

    750ti wont run 1080p but in about 1/3rd popular titles.. A 760 is really needed to run 1080p comfortably with a decent list of settings.
  • Qwertilot - Sunday, June 15, 2014 - link

    The sort of people buying this sort of thing/ a 750ti aren't setting obsessed :) 750ti well ahead of this things performance of course and about the minimum you want to be taken half way seriously as a gaming desktop.

    Interesting to see how close Broadwell K can get though, with the improved/larger GPU stuff and I'd presume a somewhat larger overall power budget to boot.
  • schizoide - Sunday, June 15, 2014 - link

    Yeah pretty much this. It won't run 1080p on ultra settings in all titles, but if you turn down the options a bit they will run smoothly.
  • tipoo - Saturday, June 14, 2014 - link

    I'm curious in the lower end of the BRIX, especially for a parent computer. The one at $250 with the AMD APU. Seems like a whole lot of compute power for that much money.
  • schizoide - Saturday, June 14, 2014 - link

    The low-end brix/nucs are a lot more interesting, yeah. Either as perfectly fine little desktops, steam streaming clients, or HTPCs. The high-end ones suck, because the GPUs are not comparable to the current console generation.
  • TiGr1982 - Saturday, June 14, 2014 - link

    As a funny fact, this little box (based on Haswell i7) is faster than Core i7-4960X (Ivy Bridge-E) in single-threaded CPU performance (because the latter haxacore is based on older uarch).

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