Gigabyte Brix Pro Review – GB-BXi7-4770RFri, Feb 28, 2014 - 11:31 AM
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
We waited five months to get the Brix Pro in our hands to try out and we are left with mixed emotions. The Gigabyte Brix Pro looks amazing and we love the form factor. The Gigabyte Brix Pro is certainly chunky compared to the Intel NUC, but we can let that slide. The inputs and outputs on the device are good enough for our needs today and we really like the 4K Ultra HD monitor support. The only thing we’d change is the stacked USB 3.0 ports on the front of the Brix Pro as pretty much all of our high-end USB 3.0 Flash Drives blocked the other port. If Gigabyte went to a side-by-side USB port configuration with some spacing between them that would fix that issue. All in all the unit looks great and is highly function.
Inside the Gigabyte Brix Pro we found the motherboard to be solid, but the BIOS was a bit lacking. For a $500+ DIY PC we expect to see a full UEFI BIOS with more features and end user functionality, unfortunately you don’t get that with the Brix Pro. The latest BIOS added the ability to adjust memory clock speeds, so maybe Gigabyte will unlock more features like that down the road. The CPU Cooler on the Gigabyte Brix Pro might work well on models with lesser processors, but wasn’t up to snuff for the Intel Core i7-4770R and its rated 65W TDP. The Gigabyte Brix Pro struggles to keep this processor cool when you put it under any substantial load and it gets pretty load when the fan ramps up. Intel says that 100C load temperatures are within spec, but many of our readers will end up avoiding this system due to the temperatures and fan noise.
Overall system performance was impressive as this small system had incredible performance in both CPU and GPU intensive tasks. We were really impressed how Intel Iris Pro 5200 integrated graphics was able to play DirectX 11 game titles like Metro Last Light as we’ve never been able to play recent tier 1 game titles on Intel integrated graphics before! Intel has made good improvements when it comes to improving graphics performance and they’ve been keeping up on their promise of having quarterly driver updates. Intel doesn’t support game day drivers yet for big titles, but they are making big strides.
When it comes to pricing the Gigabyte Brix Pro GB-BXi7-4770R runs $649.99, but you can also step down to the models like the GB-BXi5-4570R for $499.99. In fact that model might be a better choice for many as it costs less, still has Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200 and might not have as severe the thermal issues that we saw on the Brix Pro GB-BXi7-4770R. Then again it also uses a 65W TDP processor. Here is a breakdown of our build cost for the model we reviewed today.
- Gigabyte Brix Pro GB-BXi7-4770R – $649.99
- Intel 525 Series 240GB mSATA SSD – $264.99 plus shipping
- G.Skill 8GB 2133MHz DDR3L Memory Kit – $89.99 shipped
- Windows 8.1 Pro – $96.88 Shipped
That puts the grand total for this build at $1101.85 shipped for all the parts.
At the end of the day we are excited by how much power Gigabyte was able to put in a tiny PC that was just 0.79 liters, but we are also disappointed that they couldn’t get better thermals. In fact we’d be happy with a slightly taller system if that would mean better thermals. For example, if Gigabyte should have made this system another 12.7mm (half inch) thicker to support a larger heatsink would we not be sitting at 100C and thermally throttling?
Legit Bottom Line: The Gigabyte Brix Pro GB-BXi7-4770R is a great system, but the thermal solution just isn’t keep the Intel Core i7-4770R from throttling and you end up with a noisy system.