Introduction

Intel's high-end Crystal Well, the Core i7-4770R, has remained out of reach for consumers despite being introduced back in June 2013. While Apple's notebooks use the mobile Crystal Well parts, the 2013 iMac restricts itself to the Core i5-4570R. Users wanting to stay out of the Apple ecosystem have been left in the cold. Gigabyte is coming to the rescue with the launch of the BRIX Pro in the NUC form factor.

The BRIX Pro is a barebones desktop machine. We had looked at the various BRIX models before, and this model, while maintaining the length and width of the existing BRIX units, is equipped with the 65W TDP i7-4770R, and the unit comes in the NUC form factor! This means that the unit is really tiny. The length and width are almost the same as the other NUC form factor machines (as shown in the picture below). The BRIX Pro builds upon the BRIX s, which has support for a 2.5" drive. The height is still more than that of the BRIX s, in order to accommodate the thermal design for a 65W CPU.

Our review unit landed last Friday. With CES this week, and limited time at our disposal, we decided to split the coverage of the BRIX Pro into two parts. In today's article, we will look at the performance of the CPU and GPU, as well as the thermal performance of the package along with some power consumption numbers. In the second part towards the end of the month, we plan to go into more detailed benchmarks and how to outfit the BRIX Pro to get a well rounded system.

Gigabyte's BRIX Pro Kits Comparison
  GB-BXi5-4570R GB-BXi7-4770R
CPU Intel Core i5-4570R Intel Core i7-4770R
RAM 2 x DDR3L SO-DIMM slots 2 x DDR3L SO-DIMM slots
Display Outputs 1x HDMI 1.4a, 1x mini-DP 1.2 1x HDMI 1.4a, 1x mini-DP 1.2
USB 4 x USB 3.0 4 x USB 3.0
Gigabit Ethernet Y Y
mini PCIe (half-height) 1 1
mini PCIe (full-height, mSATA support) 1 1
Internal SATA 1 (with power) 1 (with power)
Power Supply External 19V / 7.1A DC External 19V / 7.1A DC
Suggested Pricing $529 $649

Since we wanted to get up and running quickly, the RAM and mSATA SSD were just transferred from the recently reviewed NUC kit to the BRIX Pro. In our second part of the review, we will evaluate the BRIX Pro with different SODIMMs / SSDs. For now, the benchmarks presented in the rest of this piece are based on the configuration below.

Gigabyte GB-BXi7-4770R Build Components
  Component Price
Chassis / CPU / Motherboard / PSU GB-BXi7-4770R $649
Memory Crucial CT51264BF160B 2x4 GB Kit $96
SSD Intel mSATA SSD 530 $183

Total   $928

Synthetic Benchmarks
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  • mfoley93 - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    The issue with the AMD APUs is that they have used different GPUs accross the line, whereas Intel only has 3 active GPU SKUs. So while the GPU in the 95 Watt A-10 7850 labeled only as R7 would likely smoke Iris Pro/HD 5200, the GPU in the 65 Watt A-8 7600 may only perform similarly to the Iris Pro when it finally launches. AMD using different GPUs may have changed though, since they haven't released the A-4, A-6, and A-8 models yet. Reply
  • mfoley93 - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    EDIT:
    A quick jaunt over to AMD's website shows that their tendency to use different GPUs has not changed. Even though there is no info about the A-8 7600, one can see that the A-10 7700K has two compute units disabled on the GPU compared to the 7850K.
    Reply
  • mikk - Tuesday, January 07, 2014 - link

    The GPU is probably comparable or maybe slightly slower than this Iiris Pro. It has more Gflops as well as more bandwidth with its edram. Reply
  • jeffkibuule - Tuesday, January 07, 2014 - link

    You need to go read the Iris Pro graphics review again to see why just measuring GFLOPs doesn't give you the result you seem to expect. Reply
  • ryrynz - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    Funny cos, they're gonna make you wait. Reply
  • XZerg - Tuesday, January 07, 2014 - link

    I am waiting to see the Zotac IQ01 availability and benches. 4770T in a small enclosure. Reply
  • Daisho11 - Tuesday, January 07, 2014 - link

    I really wish they would make one of these with the PSU built in, instead of having a power brick hanging off the back. Reply
  • patterson32 - Tuesday, January 07, 2014 - link

    At least it helps with heat minimization. Positive thoughts. Reply
  • MikeMurphy - Tuesday, January 07, 2014 - link

    This is a tech site. Instead of telling us the cooling is insufficient, I hope you'll show us the config and explore replacement fans etc. Are the cooling mounts LGA standard? Reply
  • patterson32 - Tuesday, January 07, 2014 - link

    I'd like AT to explore quieter replacement fans as well. Fanless cases might be okay too but they'll probably cost a lot compared to the system just like the NUC ones. Reply

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