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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  • jabber - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - link

    Nice to see more micro systems appearing.
  • PsychoPif - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - link

    Thanks for the quick review, can't wait for the last part.

    I'm currently looking for a HTPC / casual gaming machine for my home theater and this look like it could be it.
  • protomech - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - link

    I don't think you want server room noise coming from your htpc.
  • yterbiu - Sunday, January 12, 2014 - link

    hah,when you are seeing a movie/playing a game you can hear the noise from that are doing it wrong,mate
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - link

    If you define "casual" as a graphic quality setting, then this will get 60fps+ at 720p on low settings in modern games. Move to medium-to-high settings or higher resolutions and it will fall apart. You'll be better served by a new AMD Kaveri system... and probably save quite a bit of money while you're at it.
  • mikk - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - link

    I doubt Kaveri is faster than this Iris Pro 65W.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - link

    The GPU is probably faster, the CPU probably not. In most games the IGP will bottleneck before the CPU does.
  • Drumsticks - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - link

    Given that the iris pro is about as powerful as a 640M (a bit more) and the kaveri 7850k targets 7750 levels of performance, which is faster than the desktop 640 and I think possibly the 650, I think it is safe to say that the GPU will be better. I don't expect the CPU to beat 3+ Ghz Haswell, but we we will see!
  • TeXWiller - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - link

    This thing is about as fast in the 3DMark (2013) Ice Storm and little faster in the Cloud Gate test than my home 1055T with DDR2 800 and 7750.
  • frozentundra123456 - Saturday, January 11, 2014 - link

    Nobody really knows the performance of Kaveri yet, but I seriously doubt it will reach even close to HD7750 GDDR5 levels of performance due to bandwidth limitations. And dont forget that is a desktop part. I think 65 watt Kaveri and 65 watt iris pro would be very close in performance, and I actually think the iris pro would be faster. Problem is it is also more expensive, although 529.00 for the 4570R kit is not outrageous.

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