Gigabyte BRIX packs a full-fledged desktop PC into a 4.5 inch case

Gigabyte’s BRIX computer measures just 4.5″ x 4.2″ x 1.2″. But the company seems to be out to prove that big things can come in small packages. The little computer supports up to an Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor.

The company first started showing off its small form-factor desktop PC in January, and now you can find more details (and photos) at the Gigabyte website. Unfortunately one thing you won’t find is any mention of how much these little guys will cost.

Gigabyte BRIX

The Gigabyte BRIX bears a more than passing resemblance to Intel’s NUC mini computer design. But Gigabyte’s version is a little more powerful — so far Intel’s version only supports chips up to a Core i5 processor.

Gigbyte’s mini-desktop also features 2 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and Mini DisplayPort, Ethenert, and 802.11n WiFi. Under the hood there’s an mSATA slot for solid state storage and 2 memory slots for up to 16GB of RAM.

Gigabyte plans to sell the BRIX devices as barebones systems. While they’ll come with Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7 chips, you’ll be expected to supply your own storage, memory, and operating system.

If you’re looking to build a powerful PC for gaming or work, odds are you can find a model with more expansion options, support for discrete graphics, and more. But the BRIX looks like an interesting option for a home theater PC or any other application where small size and decent performance trump bleeding edge specs.

It should also be interesting to see whether Gigabyte upgrades the BRIX with Intel Haswell chips once they become available this summer. That could bring better graphics performance and lower power consumption to the little computer line.

Engadget

  • Greg

    That looks pretty nice for a dedicated XBMC machine. I been trying to find something specifically for XBMC. Tried the android stick (MK802 IIIS) while it worked well it didn’t handle my 1080p movie files from my NAS. I am currently using the RasPi but prefer something with better performance. Hopefully they get the price right on these. Keeping my fingers crossed but not holding my breath. Thanks Brad!

    • Lucky

      It’s overkill for a media center.

      I’m looking forward to a Kabini powered unit in a similar form factor

      • Jml

        AMD is NOT worth it this is much faster and will cost about the same. Intel is superior in every aspect.

      • raddude9

        A Kabini machine would use a lot less power at idle and at load, it would also likely be a lot cheaper, so much more suitable as a media center machine.

      • Jml

        It might be cheaper but it will be slower for emulation. SO slow in fact that I wouldn’t even be able to emulate DOSbox properly. Dosbox is a single threaded app and it needs decent IPC which Kabini JUST DOESN’T HAVE!!!!! Kabini Won’t even be able to emulate PS2 or GC games at all.

      • raddude9

        The poster was talking about a media center, for which Kabini with it’s much lower power usage would be a far better choice.

        He wasn’t talking about niche interests like emulation.

      • Jml

        Yeah that’s true and Intel is still superior to AMD. A Kabini version might cost less $$ but it will be far slower CPU and a slower GPU it also will use less power.

      • raddude9

        It’s still good enough to play a lot of games, and I thought you were all about low-power.

      • Jml

        I am all about low power but also important to me is performance per watt.

      • Kevin Mai

        what are you talking about? maybe not for laptops, but for desktops they they aren’t that slow, i get really good FPS on GC and PS2 emulation on my athlon X3, and that’s like a 5 year old CPU. emulating PS2 and GC is going to suck on most laptops under 400, and should be fine on most modern desktops, but dosbox should be fine on any modern computer, it flys on my e450 cheapo laptop. The laptop chips are getting better, the Kabini’s has actually really decent IPC, but it’s low end stuff so they aren’t really putting a lot of power into it, if it was clocked higher, it would probably match the Pentiums that sell for around the same price, Richmand is going to match CPU performance for mid range intel cpu’s and destroy intel in GPU performance.

      • Jml

        Wrong AMD is slow and they use twice the power and have Horrible IPC which is needed for PS2 and GC emulation not to mention Dosbox. You kidding Kabini had TERRIBLE IPC it can’t even match an old core 2 duo in IPC so NO AMD still has horrible IPC which is important. Wrong AMD Richland not Richmand will BARELY match Core i3’s in performance and it will use more power while doing so.

      • Kevin Mai

        Only the older FX chips have horrible ipc and use twice the power. AMD’s newer laptop chips match or use less power than intel chips. Kabini HASN’T EVEN CAME OUT YET. how do you know if it has horrible IPC? it’s an atom competitor, and it destroys atom, IPC and performance in general. Have you even read reviews for AMD chips as of late? They have been improving since the abomination that is bulldozer. Richmand will not use more power, they finally got good efficiency in their new chips. If you said this 3 years ago, i’d agree, but now, no.

      • Jml

        Wrong Piledriver is no better at power usage then crapdozer was. Kabini only increases IPC by 10-20% over Brazos. Wrong you idiot Kabini uses too much power to be an Atom competitor it competes Haswell and it LOSES BADLY!!!! TDP is what I am going by not what AMD wants Kabini to compete with. Richland will still suck power down like candy while Intel Haswell reduces idle power usage by 10. Piledriver is NO better than AMD’s Crapdozer and neither is Richland they all use too much power.

      • Kevin Mai

        Intel is better in both, but AMD doesn’t “LOSE BADLY!!!!!”. AMD is still behind, but that doesn’t mean it’s totally rubish like you think it is. a 10-20% ipc increase is pretty good. Ivybridge/haswell only improves it by about 5%-10%, and alot of people use those and think it’s a large improvement.
        Piledriver was a huge improvement, over crapdozer, but it’s still not close to intel in power usage, and they are working on that, but trinity closed the gap on laptops and richmand is going to continue the trend. Anandtech’s battery tests show that kabini destroys ivybridge/haswell in battery tests, and TDP wise, it does compete with atom. it uses half the battery that the intel chip does, and that’s an ivybridge chip. Compared to atom, it’s pretty much the same, amd is just more generous with their TDP number. On desktops they use too much power, but on laptops, they don’t.

        http://www.anandtech.com/show/6981/the-kabini-deal-can-amd-improve-the-quality-of-mainstream-pcs-with-its-latest-apu/2

      • Jml

        AMD has a long long way to go in IPC so Intel’s small IPC increase doesn’t matter because AMD IS WAY WAY behind. Piledriver was a VERY small improvement and it didn’t even use less power just offered slightly better performance. AMD kabini is better than Brazos however at that TDP they are competing with Intel haswell and Intel haswell WILL DESTROY AMD’s Kabini NO contest!!!! Typical AMD fanboi YOU DON’T Compare AMD’s Kabini to Intel’s Atom because AMD still uses too much power to in that range Instead they compete with Intel Haswell ULV and the Netbook market IS DEAD so AMD no longer is competing with Atom they are against the big boys and they will LOSE BADLY!!!

      • Kevin Mai

        Stop typing in caps, it makes you look dumb. Piledriver was a decent improvement, and now their 8 cores match the i5’s in Real world performance, beating it in several games, which is single treaded stuff. Haswell isn’t out yet so don’t yell at me saying that there is no contest, from what i’ve seen, haswell hasn’t changed anything. Typical intel fanboi, not admitting that AMD has a great design. Kabini is based on brazos, the atom competitor, and atom is probably the most important chip intel has right now because the windows 8 tablet market is exploding, and if amd can get a design win there (which they have, with temash) then they can get financially better, AMD’s been slowly improving their staff, and the next time they make a new chip design, it’s going to blow the socks out of their current chips. Even if kabini isn’t compared to atom, it’s still a really efficient chip TDP wise and performs good enough.

      • Jml

        Wow talk about a dumb child you are. NEVER!!!! Also Kabini is NOT an atom competitor that’s Temash it is also fails HARD. Intel’s Atom uses so much less power that it isn’t even funny. Here take a look at this review: http://techreport.com/review/24856/amd-a4-5000-kabini-apu-reviewed/10. No it Kabini doesn’t perform good enough not when you compare it to Intel’s Haswell ULV. Intel Haswell Will cream Kabini INTO DUST in every aspect. Really AMD’s next chip is going to blow the socks out their current chips now this I’D LIKE TO SEE!!!! One more thing that really defines You’re UTTER ignorance is the fact that you think M$ Windows 8 is doing well when the truth is you couldn’t be MORE wrong. M$ Windows 8 IS tanking the Xbox ONE is going to tank HARD and Metro will be the end of M$ for good.

      • Kevin Mai

        Why do you hate AMD so much? Same with kabini. did they kill your dog? Competition is good, even if AMD isn’t doing great, it’s still better than nothing and encourages innovation. Intel’s still the performance and power champ, but amd’s slowly and surely catching up, and they did great with temash. Haswell will probibly not go into the cheap laptops that kabini will go into, and it wont “cream Kabini INTO DUST” like you say it will. I’ll give you that kabini shouldn’t be compared to atom, and i was totally wrong about that. I Never said windows 8 was doing well, but out of the windows 8 stuff, windows 8 tablets are doing relatively well, and they have the most potential. People like the idea of windows tablets, but they are all shit because of atom, and overpriced. Temash will fix that. Windows 8 is horrible for everything except touchscreens, and metro is something MS fucked up so bad….. Xbox one was one of the worst console announcements i’ve seen, the only worse one was the sega saturn. Metro was a good idea, when it uses the same design ideas as regular windows and only changes aesthetics, like office 13 and zune for desktops, it works well, but when they do crap like windows 8, it’s horrible. metro is nice aesthetics wise, but not usability wise. I don’t think i’m ignorant, i’m just an optimist, one who thinks that these chips are pretty good for what they are aiming for. I never said Windows 8 was good, you said that i said that.

      • Jml

        You kidding Metro was a VERY bad idea that should of been scraped A LONG TIME AGO!!!! M$ Windows 8 is doing horribly no one wants and they people who do use are forced to use it and they hate it as well. M$ Windows 8 is ugly as shit!!! I was comparing TDP’s and AMD loses BADLY!!!!!! What did AMD do its simple they sucked so much and so hard with Crapdozer!!! Zune is butt ugly and Metro is bad for tablets because its an eye sore. I agree with you on the Xbox ONE and let me also say that it will TANK HARD!!!!! You’re and AMD fanboi from what I have seen. Temash uses too much to compete against atom. Atom also wastes Temash in battery life 2 to 3 times OVER!!!!

      • Kevin Mai

        Winsows 8 is ugly, metro was great when they came up with it but they ruined it. I don’t even think your reading my posts, I’m saying it has potential but it sucks right now. From what I’ve seen, your an intel fanboi, so let’s agree to disagree. I’m done wasting my time, you just hate AMD with a passion, and nothing will change that. Competition is good, but fanbois like you will never understand that.

      • Jml

        Yeah it sure is. How was Metro Great its butt ugly, its clunky, and it doesn’t work for keyboard and mouse users like me. And You’re an AMD fanboi and I am not a fanboi AT ALL!!!! Bad Competition is just as bad as no Competition.

      • CyberGusa

        I doubt Temash will help too much for Tablets because of the lack of mobile features like always connected standby and the inability to provide ARM like battery life.

        Battery life is especially important for tablets and similar small mobile devices.

        While the performance is clearly better than ATOM but also less than anything in the Core i-Series range as well… It takes a quad core Temash just to provide about a 3rd of the performance of a Ivy Bridge Core i5 for example.

        Also, neither Temash or Kabini are providing better than Sandy Bridge HD3000 graphics… Since they are intended for the low end solution market.

        Basically, they’re more comparable to Intel’s Celeron series and would probably compete well against the Ivy Bridge update to Celerons that’s almost done rolling out now… though they’re still releasing Sandy Bridge Celerons at the moment, but in either case AMD would still hold a price advantage against the Celerons as well, just not as much as against the Core i-Series.

        So Kabini has a better chance IMO, it’s still a SoC like Kabini but doesn’t try to push down towards low end mobile devices where ATOM and ARM compete, like Temash does. While keeping the price advantage against Intel’s higher end offerings.

        Though, Temash should see better success than either Desna or Hondo ever did… but without providing as good battery life as ARM and ATOM offer then I don’t think it presents enough value for performance and price to make it stand out enough.

        While, a lot of people would probably either go for a Haswell… May cost over $150 more but could easily provide multiple times the performance and still potentially greater battery life than even Temash can offer… Or wait for Bay Trail/Valley View to come out by the end of the year for something that should rival Temash performance but still provide ARM like cost and battery life…

        As for W8, it’s not as bad as a some people try to portray it. The fact that there are a lot of people who actually like it seems to be largely ignored for example.

        Even details like the fact the percentage of Windows tablets has gone up since W8 was released from virtually non-existent percentage to over 5%… a growth that for example blows the adoption of Chromebooks from the total of the last 3 years compared to the months W8 has been out!

        There are even some companies adopting it despite the fact most companies don’t usually upgrade unless they have to… Even still using XP despite the fact it will meet end of life April 2014… Windows 7 was still a minority compared to XP usage up to the point MS announced ending support date and only in the past year has Windows 7 suddenly become the new dominantly used version of Windows and that’s after being around for over 3 years!

        While people have been customizing and altering Windows to their liking for about as long as Windows has been around… It has never appealed to everyone!

        So the aversion to Windows 8 is greatly exaggerated, it does need improvement but that’s being done and will be done annually because the upcoming Windows 8.1 update is just the first and they have one scheduled for release on a annual schedule.

      • Jml

        AMD Mobile has however gotten better as much as I hate to admit it. AMD Kaveri will have GDDR5 memory and will be faster than Intel’s Haswell and should give Broadwell a run for its money. AMD however has a long way to go in single core performance because not many games use quad cores they use dual cores.

      • Kevin Mai

        modern games use quad cores now. The new consoles have 8 cores, in the future, games will be usingmore cores, but they do need to improve ipc.

      • Jml

        You’re just a child I don’t think you would know very much AMD fanboi!!! Yeah in the future games will use more cores that is fact. AMD needs to dramatically Increase IPC It needs to be twice what it is now.

      • CyberGusa

        Kabini does well against Ivy Bridge but not Haswell, there has been no comparisons made to Haswell yet!

        Remember, Intel is claiming a 50% power efficiency improvement with Haswell and that’s much greater than the advantage Kabini has over Ivy Bridge.

        While that Anandtech article concluded that Kabini competes only with Core i3, Intel still has better single threaded processing performance and maintains it even with lower clock speeds as the review included the lower end Intel Pentium 2020M for comparison.

        Mind also that the Kabini they tested was a quad core and they were comparing it to Intel dual cores… and even in the multi-threaded benchmarks the two Intel processors still pulled ahead…

        Also, the Kabini they tested seems to lack the Turbo Core feature and that reduces the power efficiency advantage it would otherwise have…

      • Greg

        I also see that Intel makes the NUC in a few different flavors. Same concept and I seen a few videos of them running xbmc along with some type of os and I don’t think they are overkill at all. Better to have more power than not enough. I think I am really leaning towards one of these.

    • Adam

      Greg I also looked for XBMC machine, to run 1080p movie files, I found the Cubox of solidrun and it gives me good performance, it’s also synchronized with rutorrent, so i can search for torrents in my
      Pc or Laptop and save it automatically in the Cubox. and the price is
      reasonable also, you should check it

      • Greg

        Adam I searched for the Cubox and didn’t find much info on it. I want something that’s going to have a large community behind it and something that isn’t going to be irrelevant in a few months. The reason I purchased the RasPi is because of the large community and the popularity of the device. The Cubox looked decent but I think I want a little more, if it meets your demands than that’s all that matters. Thanks for the recommendation.

      • adam

        Hey Greg you are righ about the big community arrounf the raspberry pi, but the cubox has his own community also, you can check their forums here http://www.solid-run.com/phpbb/

  • Jml

    This is awesome. I have been waiting for a product like this for a long time. Too bad it doesn’t have a haswell version just yet.

    • raddude9

      It’ll be months before there’s a Haswell version, and then, that enclosure looks like it would be far too small to cool one of the power-hogging GT3e machines, they start at 45W.

      • Jml

        I don’t think the GT3e will be in one those cases. The 15 watt GT3 version will be and that’s the one I want to get.

      • raddude9

        Nope, no chance of Gt3e in those cases.

        Sure the 15W GT3 looks fine, but even using intel’s estimates it’s at best just 50% better at 3DMark 11 than the last gen 17W chips. Now, a 50% 3Dmark improvement will never translate to a 50% improvement in real games, so the performance is going to be nothing special, barely enough to get some games running at 720p.

        If you play games so much, why do you put up with such crappy visuals?

      • Jml

        Yeah I just said that. But it will use far less power. 40EU’s at low clock speeds = less load and idle power used. At the ridiculous setting you gamers use maybe. AA, AF, and Vsync are all pointless and don’t do much to enhance the visuals. Here let me ask you a question why do like playing games with MAXED out setting all the while HOGGING POWER like no tomorrow? Because I can’t I can’t afford the heat or noise that high power gaming components that gamers like you use to game on.

      • raddude9

        I don’t need completely maxed out settings and neither do most gamers, for most games, the “high” detail setting at 1080p with a decent frame rate is sufficient. Maybe you think 1080p is a “ridiculous” setting, but I consider it a minimum, any less and you can run into nasty scaling issues which ruin the image.

        Sure, I burn a bit more power when my PC is maxed out, but I can well afford the extra $2 a month it costs me, remember I didn’t shell out extra for unnecessarily expensive mobile components.

        It’s strange that you can’t afford this $2, did you waste all your money getting expensive stuff you didn’t need?

        Also, there’s a Big difference between heat and noise, a well built computer can dissipate a lot of heat without making noise. One of me gripes with small computers is that even though they don’t produce a lot of heat, they can make a lot of noise with their nasty little fans..

      • Jml

        1080p is high but my SUCKY AMD Radeon 5570 can’t even play borderlands 1 at 800×600 at low settings it sucks that much.

  • toronado455

    requires fan = fail

  • Jon

    I see a fan :(

  • Alan

    If people want a fanless Intel PC now then there’s the Intense PC with either the Intel Celeron 847E or i7-3517UE. The barebones (no RAM, HDD and OS license) model costs $329 and $799 respectively. USB 3.0/2.0, dual GigE ports, WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, etc.

    • me

      I hope a smaller fanless version of these get made for Haswell. I want an HTPC that doubles as a transcoding machine. Maybe when QuickSync is working under Linux, I’ll upgrade to a fanless HTPC/transcoder. For now, I’ll stick with my loud fan cooled one.

      • Alan

        The downside of the Intense PC is that it uses a Realtek wireless adapter. This and pretty much most Realtek WiFi Linux drivers are well known to be unstable especially with 802.11n. Even worse on 5 GHz.

        I wonder what adapter the BRIX uses. I hope it’s not a Realtek.

      • Karl Alfred

        Intel wifi card is not expensive. So one can exchange it, i wonder if bt combo card works without interference in this little box.

  • Davey Williams

    +1 for a dedicated XBMC that can handle everything i throw at it.

  • Tsais

    hmm, given it has only USB to hook up storage, there’s not enough USB ports to also add keyboard and mouse…