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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  • ryrynz - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - link

    Will the Brix be able to run beyond 1600Mhz RAM speeds?
  • ryrynz - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - link

    Seen on Gigabtyes website the G.skill F3-1866C10D-8GRSL is supported to run at 1866Mhz hope you guys manage to chuck something that speed or 2133Mhz in for testing.
  • dwade123 - Thursday, January 23, 2014 - link

    Yeah... I rather get a PS4 for less the price.
  • ryrynz - Monday, January 27, 2014 - link

    Please test the AMD based GB-BXA8G-8890 as well.
  • luukp - Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - link

    What I'm interested in is the difference in performance and noise between the 4570r and the 4770r. I notice that they have the same TDP, but the 4570R has lower clock speed, less features (no hyperthreading) and a higher maximum operating temperature. Based on that, in my mind the 4570r should be able to run much quieter and also be much less likely to throttle. Does that make sense, or am I missing something?
  • ibex333 - Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - link

    ummm... lol? For this much money I can build a computer that is only slightly larger and heavier but which will completely obliterate these boxes in gaming performance. Do you want to pay several hundred more just for smaller size and less weight or do you want to have MUCH more performance instead? Is that even a hard decision?
  • DriesV - Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - link

    I'm interested in CPU performance only.
    I need another quad core render node, but my office is cluttered as it is. I don't like to put systems on the floor and I don't have a spare 'server room'.
    Then the Brix Pro is an extremely compelling solution. I'd happily pay (I already did actually...) for the much smaller desk real estate required.
  • DriesV - Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - link

    There's always a market for everything. :-)
  • Andresen - Friday, January 31, 2014 - link

    "In the second part towards the end of the month...."

    I'm holding my breath now!
  • ryrynz - Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - link

    And.. you're dead.

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