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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  • kgh00007 - Friday, January 31, 2014 - link

    Come on its been 3 weeks now, us this going to be like the Galaxy S4 where part two of the review just never happened?
  • ryrynz - Saturday, February 1, 2014 - link

    Taking far too long to get this second bit out. One word. SLACK.
  • kgh00007 - Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - link

    Hi, if you are still testing this system, could you please check if Hyperthreading can be switched off in the BIOS? Cheers!
  • AngryCorgi - Saturday, February 8, 2014 - link

    The reviewer ponders the logic of maybe using the 4950hq cpu instead. The problem being that the 4950hq retails at roughly twice the cost of the 4770r. So, no, I don't think that would make sense. Anandtech needs to review the new brix 8890 with dedicated R9 m275x GPU as soon as it's available. That could be a far wiser direction for gamers and potential steam box usage.
  • funtasticguy - Monday, February 10, 2014 - link

    When is the rest of the review coming? I have been eagerly anticipating the second half since early January.
  • Antronman - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - link

    Still more expensive than configuring a better PC build, that runs way quieter. When I say better, I mean better performance in videogames, as I could include a pretty good GPU for the same price. <- the only reason it is more expensive is because it includes the cost of the OS and a CPU cooler. Factor that out, and you get a much better machine. CPU computing power equal to an i5 for 50USD less, OC capability with the H100i. Wayy better graphics that can run almost every modern game with the exception of a small handful (not BF4) on max settings at 60+ fps. Only disadvantage is the lack of an SSD.
  • ryrynz - Saturday, February 15, 2014 - link

    Thing is you can't factor those things out, its oart of the build. The great thing about this is portability.. the size for the performance is phenomenal. You don't need to splash out on a good cooler (though you might have to to get the nosie down...) No PSU.. No case. I'd actually save money buying one of these over the usual upgrade.. but it's noisy.. so meh.
    Gigabyte dropped the ball, they should have given this a silent option.
  • alpha754293 - Monday, June 16, 2014 - link

    I'm using a Mac Mini to drive my 55" TV right now and it works REALLY, REALLY well. And as HTPC system, other than I can't do BluRay (which I've been told that there are workarounds for that) - it's cheaper and smaller and consumes less power than these systems.

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