Gigabyte BRIX Pro Mini-PC Review

Others/All-in-one PC by leeghoofd @ 2014-04-22

Does size really matter? On some human levels it might, though a different trend has been observed in the PC market over the last year. Compact is the key word, featuring mITX sized motherboards and idem ditto enclosures. These compact PCs are playing a more and more important role in every manufacturers' lineup: Mini PCs, NUCs, they are all amongst us now. For most users the bundled power is more than plenty as the size maters the most. Nevertheless combining the raw power of a desktop setup inside a mini sized housing is a step in another direction. Gigabyte is having big success with their Brix boxes, time to step up one level. Today we are going to test one of these Gigabyte supercharged versions: the BRIX Pro.

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Inside the BRIX

After removal of the mSATA SSD and the Wireless card one can can lift the entire hardware out of the housing; too bad we didn't put a coin or such for reference, because this thing is tiny. What directly jumps into the eye is the massive copper heatsink and the blower cooler. The motherboard model is the M4HM87P-00 and is based on the Intel H87 chipset.



One notices that the copper heatsink covers nearly the entire motherboard, just a cutout near the three motherboard phases. The blower fan is from the brand EverFlow and a model which is commonly used in server racks, a solution that shifts serious air, with main disadvantage a low noise versus cooling performance ratio.




On the above picture one can spot the in yellow die shrink CMOS battery to isolate it a bit better from the heatsink. The picture on the right shows the neat cutout for the motherboard phases. These should be plenty to provide the required juice to the Intel I7-4770R 65W processor.


The Azurewave AW-CB161H mini PCIe card is included in the barebone; based on the Realtek RTL8821AE chip it provides the user with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi & Bluetooth 4.0 wireless functionality.


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