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Gigabyte Brix S Review

Gigabyte Brix S Review

For some time now Gigabyte have been creating and refining their ultra compact PCs, calling them BRIX. Now with the latest Intel i5 CPU and the option for high performance storage and memory we test one of their current models in our Gigabyte Brix S Review.

Gigabyte Brix S Review – Packaging and Bundle

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Gigabyte package their Brix PCs in a compact box which gives us plenty of information on the unit inside. Full specifications and key features are all covered. Inside the system is protected on all sides by cardboard and bundled with it we have product documentation, a mount, software disc and a power supply.

Gigabyte Brix S Review – The Brix S

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The Brix S is also available in a barebones configuration ( CPU/GPU, audio, Wi-Fi all installed) however you may wish to receive a pre-configured build from one of Gigabytes partners. Our model is one such configuration so we get the standard compact case, 4x USB 3.0 ports, 3.5inch audio port, GB LAN port, DisplayPort and HDMI (4k compatible) but the inside is already set to go with CPU and drives installed.

Gigabyte Brix S Review – Specifications

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The removal of four screws gets us inside where we find that there is space for two hard drives, one an SSD using the mSATA interface and the second a 2.5” model which can be SSD or a traditional mechanical model. This gives us the option of using a speedy SSD for our Operating System and a larger but slower storage drive.

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The Brix S we are testing today uses an Intel Core i5-5200U CPU which is a dual core model with Hyper-Threading. That means each core can process two tasks at once, offering performance similar to a quad core CPU. It runs at 2.2GHz as standard, can increase speed up to 2.7GHz automatically, includes an Intel HD 5500 GPU supporting the latest DirectX and offers dual channel memory support (DDR3L-1600 up to 16GB).

Gigabyte Brix S Review – Performance

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We have access to a Brix system with Celeron N2807 CPU (dual core 1.6GHz) and 4GB of memory which we have also included in some results below. It is a system designed for media and productivity use, along with the odd basic game like Minecraft. NOTE: All Brix testing at 1280×720 with low detail, Brix S at 1280×720 with medium/high detail.

Temperature and Power use
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Memory Bandwidth
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SATA and USB)
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HD Video Playback (lower is better)
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Music Conversion (2CD to MP3)
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Minecraft
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Call of Duty Advanced Warfare
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DOTA 2
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F1
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World of Tanks
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Gigabyte Brix S Review – Conclusion

Looking first at the build quality and design of the Gigabyte Brix S we have a system which is discrete and compact. Its black chassis is easy to hide away, or mount out of sight. There are no garish LEDs and access to the internal components is very simple. Port layout is decent, USB and audio on the front with LAN, video and additional USB on the back.

Turning to performance and starting with thermals and power use, overall these results are good, temperatures are reasonable (and the system runs near silent to achieve these) with power use excellent. The Brix S uses just 8 watts when idle and only 34 watts when performing demanding tasks. When we look at the performance comparison between the Brix and Brix S models on storage we see that both offer good performance from their hard drives. The Brix S offers higher potential speed however for those using a mechanical/traditional hard drive the experience would be the same. Memory performance is better on the S model due to it using dual channels and faster DDR3 however USB speed is comparable between the two models.

In real world tasks, such as converting 2 CD’s worth of music to mp3, we see that the Brix converts in just 5 minutes. The S is very impressive, 1 minute 43 seconds for two whole albums. Playback of HD/1080 resolution video is great on either model, smooth playback all the way. The Brix with Celeron CPU is capable of some basic gaming tasks such as Minecraft and League of Legends with low detail. Those wanting a little more can consider the Brix S. For that system, as the charts above show, at the same resolution used by the likes of the Xbox 360, the Brix S is able to offer a decent gaming experience in some of today’s key games. World of Tanks, Call of Duty and Dota2 are all playable with medium detail.

Summary:
In a palm sized case the Gigabyte Brix offers us a system which is ideal for email/office tasks, surfing, media use (including HD video playback/streaming) and some basic gaming. The Brix S retains a compact size, in fact it is a touch smaller due to the more up to date design aspects, and enhances the productivity and media performance. It is more suited to casual gaming and offers some good performance in the latest games while also offering a flexible design as far as internal components go.

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About Author

Stuart Davidson

1 Comment

  1. Lately I like these micro systems a lot. I wish someone made a 4-core i7 model though. With the inreased CPU and “GPU” performance, with 32GB RAM capacity and a couple of SSDsM2s I would 100% buy one, as long as it didn’t have heat/throttling issues.
    More of these reviews please. 🙂

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