Concluding Remarks

Intel's Core i7-4770R, despite being announced along with the rest of the Haswell family, had been impossible for consumers to source throughout 2013. Earlier this year, GIGABYTE became the first to come out with a PC based on that. The fact that they managed to cram the silicon into a NUC-sized motherboard in the BRIX Pro was no mean engineering feat.

After evaluating the BRIX Pro in detail over the last six months, we can say that it will turn out to be a trendsetter for compact gaming PCs. It has already made boutique PC vendors sit up and take notice. Recently, both iBUYPOWER and CyberPowerPC introduced SFF gaming PCs which use the BRIX Pro and provide consumers with options to complete the build (and create an off-the-shelf solution). In addition, GIGABYTE has already exhibited a number of different configurations in the same form factor.

However, with great power, we end up with much noise too. We simply can't recommend the unit for users who want a quiet HTPC for madVR capabilities or casual office work. But, the unit definitely excels as a compact machine for gaming with medium quality settings. In fact, it comprehensively beats what qualified as a bonafide mini-PC targeting gamers (the ASRock Vision 3D 252B) less than a couple of years ago. The powerful CPU makes sure that extensive multi-tasking as well as heavy duty office work can be carried out without any problems (as long as the acoustics are not a matter of concern). In terms of internal components, it is good to see that the 2.5" drive support is much easier to utilize compared to the Intel D54250WYKH NUC kit. We were a bit worried about the Realtek WLAN solution being foisted on consumers, but it turns out to be a surprisingly good performer (particularly with the Broadcom-based Netgear R7000 in our testbed).

On the whole, the GIGABYTE BRIX Pro has plenty going for it. The only aspect that we would like to see addressed in future versions is the thermal solution. Even while maintaining the same motherboard size, it might be possible to go in for a larger heat sink at the cost of increasing the unit's height. This might allow for better acoustics and extract even better performance from the processor by avoiding the throttling. In our opinion, the target market (gamers) would probably not mind it.

Thermal Performance & Power Consumption
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  • mikk - Saturday, June 14, 2014 - link

    No driver version as usual, crap.
  • extide - Saturday, June 14, 2014 - link

    A little disappointing, I mean if you are building an iGPU system, you should be going for the best memory you can. 1866 is hardly much of an upgrade over 1600, you can easily get 2133 for a decent price, and 2400 or more if you want to spend.
  • extide - Saturday, June 14, 2014 - link

    Also would love to see some AMD APU benchmarks on here as well,
    And you left in: "(Add note about GT540M if possible)."

    Otherwise pretty good!
  • ganeshts - Saturday, June 14, 2014 - link

    Thanks, I fixed that :) I wasn't sure about getting the benchmark numbers from the Vision 3D 252B since I hadn't even booted that up in a long time. Actually, the whole piece was written up even before I started benchmarking that PC (which is why the references to the 540M probably stand out like a sore thumb!)
  • monstercameron - Saturday, June 14, 2014 - link

    Intel apus dont respond quite the same as amd ones...ddr3-1600 is as good as it gets.
  • hojnikb - Sunday, June 15, 2014 - link

    Yep, crystalwell can really help
  • ddriver - Saturday, June 14, 2014 - link

    Disappointing? The best CPU performance you can get in that factor, in which BTW graphics performance is pretty much irrelevant.
  • NeatOman - Sunday, June 15, 2014 - link

    1866/cas10 im sure was chosen to show what "normal ram" would result in. Also, if it where 2133/cas12 you would only be trading Mhz for Lantancy NOT resulting in any better performance at all. In fact you may even regress in compute heavy situations.
  • Cellar Door - Monday, June 16, 2014 - link

    Absolutely!! I'm also very disappointed in the ram choice of the reviewer - this is 2014 for crying out loud, if you are going to test a $900 system, what's another $30 for a 2400mhz kit - which is what this system should be running. Absolute waste of time... I'm a big fan of this site but its things like this that make me question their integrity. And where is an AMD APU for comparison?!?
  • Wixman666 - Monday, June 16, 2014 - link

    Have you guys all forgotten the absolutely miniscule performance differences, in the big picture, between RAM speeds? The higher speed memory just has higher and higher latency, ultimately producing nearly no net gains, and sometimes resulting in WORSE performance. There is a huge article here somewhere that supports that in the memory section. LATENCY has a massive impact on the performance!

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