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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  • funtasticguy - Saturday, June 14, 2014 - link

    After some of the initial results with the Brix Pro came out from professional reviewers (which I really wanted to purchase), I decided to go with Asrock VisionX 420D with AMD Radeon R9 M270X.

    I was able to install two 2TB hard drives and a 250GB mSATA drive. I was also able to upgrade the CPU chip from the pre-installed i5-4200M to an i7-4702MQ without much effort or trouble.

    The noise levels are nearly non-existent. Not once has anyone in the household complained about the noise levels. The thermal levels are also superior when compared to the Brix Pro. These are my highest temperatures it recorded under the following scenarios using the i7-4702MQ CPU:

    Surfing: 67C
    1080P Movie: 64C
    Steam Games: 77C
    PSX2 emulator: 80C
    Dolphin emulator: 82C

    The size of the VisionX 420D is similar to the old Dell's Zino. It is very portable. I recently took it with me on a family trip, hooked it up in the hotel room, and we were able to play games and watch movies via XBMC after we retired in the evenings. It was a hit with my boys and wife. No regrets!
  • ganeshts - Saturday, June 14, 2014 - link

    Your choice is a wise one (I talked about the VisionX 420D towards the end of the gaming section in the article).

    The two things that the BRIX Pro has got going for it are power efficiency and physical footprint. I will present more details in the dedicated VisionX 420D review (another review that has been in the works for more than a couple of months)
  • schizoide - Sunday, June 15, 2014 - link

    $870 at newegg barebones, add $80 for RAM and $100 for storage and you're looking at a $1200 computer. 270x is a markedly better performer than the 750Ti in the alienware alpha, but you're paying a lot for it.
  • ganeshts - Sunday, June 15, 2014 - link

    I see on Newegg [ ] that the $870 includes 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB HDD., so, price-wise, I think the VisionX 420D wins out (compared to the BRIX Pro). As for the Alienware Alpha, let it hit the market first and then we can decide :)
  • schizoide - Sunday, June 15, 2014 - link

    Hey, so it does. I saw barebones and moved on, totally missed that.

    I wonder what makes it barebones if it has all the hardware included?
  • smartypnt4 - Sunday, June 15, 2014 - link

    I assume they're calling it barebones because it ships sans an OS...? This is what happens when the marketing people decide what to name products haha. But it has everything you could want for a computer besides that - halfway decent mobile GPU, pretty good dual-core Haswell part, and supports 802.11ac out of the box.

    The odd thing is that it's not far off what I spent on my last desktop, which is an i5-4670K, AMD R9 290, a 1TB HDD, a run-of-the-mill case and a big (not super great quality) power supply. And my desktop isn't *that* loud... I suppose that thing wins on portability, but goodness. I can't imagine spending $900 on that when I look at what else you could get. But I suppose for taking on trips, etc., it's an excellent little box.
  • Wixman666 - Monday, June 16, 2014 - link

    The CPU in that is an i5 4200m... you are comparing apples and oranges. The BRIX will be WAY, WAY faster for anything CPU related.
  • vampyren - Monday, March 21, 2016 - link

    I'm sick of my NUC that i thought would work very well as Plex server. On paper it should be able to handle it with ease but in reality it suffer from low CPU speed. I got NUC D54250WYK. I come to realize that the CPU's with U are lousy, in my case i5-4250U. It should work well but it does not.
    I'm looking at this due to the powerful CPU, also considering the newer one with I7-5775R. Not sure how much worse it is sound wise compared to my NUC.
  • funtasticguy - Sunday, June 15, 2014 - link

    Looking forward to your upcoming review.
  • mikk - Sunday, June 15, 2014 - link

    Most likely outdated drivers or different drivers used.

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