Users who want a Windows desktop that's small enough to fit in a pocket were intrigued when Gigabyte released its Brix series of mini PCs last spring and later updated them with Haswell. Now, the company is kicking things up a notch, showing off an attractive new Brix that comes with Intel's high-end Iris integrated graphics, plenty of ports and a colorful new aluminum chassis.
We spotted two of the new Brix mini PCs sitting inconspicuously next to the current-generation Brixes at Gigabyte's IDF booth. A Gigabyte rep told us that these new Brixes have not yet been announced publicly so the company has not disclosed an official model number, an MSRP or the exact weight and dimensions. However, we were able to see that the new models were significantly taller than the current-generation Brix and felt like they weighed quite a bit more, but were still more than light enough to carry around from room to room, though not small enough to fit in a pocket.
Available in glossy red or yellow, the Brix with Iris comes with one of three different CPU choices: 2.7-GHz Intel Core i5-4570R (turbos up to 3.2-GHz), a 3-GHz Intel Core i5-4670R (turbos up to 3.7-GHz) or a 3.2-GHz Core i7-4770R (turbos up to 3.9-GHz). All three CPUs come with Intel's high-end Iris 5200 Pro graphics chip.
As with other Brix systems, users will have to supply their own RAM and internal storage device. The Brix with Iris has two PCIe slots you can use to install SSDs. Gigabyte did not say whether the system comes with Wi-Fi and how many DIMM slots it has, but if it is like its predecessor, it will had an 802.11n PCIe card and 2 slots that support up to 16GB of RAM. It will also have a 2.5-inch SATA 3 Gb/s bay you can use to install a mechanical hard drive.
On the outside, the Brix with Iris graphics has a lot more ports than most notebooks. The front surface has two USB 3 ports and an audio jack while the back side houses two more USB 3 ports, Ethernet, HDMI out and mini DisplayPort, along with a Kensington lock slot. The system can output to dual monitors by using both ports at once and the HDMI port can work with a 4K display. Both the back and front sides features air vents that have a very futuristic aesthetic.
With its bold looks, small footprint and strong graphics performance, the new Brix could be an attractive option for users looking to build a home theater PC, businesses that want to save desk space for their employees and Internet cafes or schools that want to set up rows and rows of powerful workstations. Gamers will appreciate the Iris Pro 5200 graphics, which should be able to handle some demanding games, but those looking for a lot of punch may prefer a larger system with discrete graphics from AMD or Nvidia.
In addition to the Brix Mini PC with Iris graphics, Gigabyte also displayed its Brix projector, a mini PC with a Haswell processor and a 75 lumen projector built on top of it. The projector, which has been shown previously but isn't due out until October could be great for users who need to do presentations on the go and want to take their entire setup with them.
According to a Gigabyte rep, the Brix Mini PC with Iris graphics is due out in December. The MSRP is still TBD.
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