The Next Unit of Computing (NUC) computers were an unusually successful Intel initiative: they managed not only to achieve widespread popularity in narrow circles, but to become a kind of standard that many other companies began to follow. These included first of all the leading manufacturers of motherboards, and the main follower of Intel in promoting ultra-compact form factor UCFF (ultra-compact form factor) was Gigabyte, which created its own NUC-like line of Brix computers. And Gigabyte Brix is not a simple clone of Intel NUC. While Intel considers NUC solutions only a suitable substitute for common computers, Gigabyte went much further and decided to pursue its own strategy. According to Gigabyte engineers, compactness is a property that can be useful regardless of the application. Therefore, in the Brix lineup in its present form there are models of different classes: they are even divided into several subspecies: BRIX s (the most compact models), BRIX Gaming (game family), BRIX Pro (professional family) and BRIX Projector (with embedded projector). In other words, Gigabyte clearly shows that the UCFF format does not limit either performance or functionality, and computers of this size can not only solve primitive everyday tasks, but also be something more.
Last year, our editorial staff was already visited by a representative of the series Brix Pro which was able to demonstrate a typical desktop performance in solving computing problems. Now we have an opportunity to get acquainted with the model GB-BXi5G-760 from the series BRIX Gaming, which is positioned by the manufacturer as an ultra-compact gaming system.
In our review Brix Pro we talked about the fact that such a system, in which the Intel Core i7-4770R graphics accelerator integrated into the processor was able to become an HD Graphics 5200 graphics accelerator A good platform for the Steam game machine. And then it seemed quite convincing. Now, we do not even want to remember about this scenario of using Brix Pro, because BRIX Gaming GB-BXi5G-760 is a computer much more suitable for modern games. In it, Gigabyte left the use of a built-in graphics processor core and integrated the Core i5 CPU with a full-featured NVIDIA GeForce discrete video accelerator. At the same time, engineers at Gigabyte were able to leave intact the dimensions of the BRIX housing. Although it seems improbable, the BRIX Gaming system, stuffed with gaming-grade components, really preserved the usual UCFF form factor with a volume less than a liter, which means that it can quite claim leadership in its ultra-light weight category
How did Gigabyte engineers manage to place such a powerful stuffing in such a small package? What kind of compromises had to be made? And if you close your eyes to the small size, can BRIX Gaming GB-BXi5G-760 compete with the game desktops of the average level? This is what we will discuss in this review.
⇡ # Outside
The name BRIX Gaming GB-BXi5G-760 gives a completely transparent indication of the filling of this computer. It also hints at the appearance of the cube, which is made in a contrasting black-and-green color scheme. There can be no doubt: the GeForce GTX 760 discrete video accelerator is responsible for the high gaming performance in this system, and the processor is based on the Intel Core i5 processor.
But the BRIX Gaming GB-BXi5G-760 system is attractive not only for its filling. Designers did a good job both on the external performance of this PC. Of course, in many respects the feeling of admiration arising from the acquaintance with the Gigabyte cube is explained by its size – it’s not every day that you can see a full gamer system enclosed in a parallelepiped of 60 × 128 × 114 mm. However, one can not fail to note a successful color tune, as well as smooth curves of the lines of contact of colors, which contrast well with the correct geometric shape of the body imbued with the aesthetics of constructivism . And even the fact that the plastic from which most of the exterior surfaces are made, glossy and, generally speaking, incredibly marble, does not particularly upset – in this case the choice of such material seems quite justified. Brilliant and reflective texture only enhances the effect produced by the appearance of the computer. It’s a pity, the kit does not include a cloth made of microfiber.
At the same time, some external light-mindedness does not mean that the structure of the hull is frail. On the contrary, it is very rigid in the system under consideration, as it is assembled on the basis of a metal chassis, and everything that is visible from the outside is just plastic overlays. Because of this, by the way, the Gigabyte cube is characterized by a relatively large mass, not very much in tune with its miniature.
Despite the fact that a whole discrete video card is installed inside the BRIX Gaming GB-BXi5G-760, it does not differ in size from the Brix Pro series. If we compare this system with the “plump” NUC, which recently visited in our laboratory, it turns out that the Gigabyte gaming computer is about a centimeter tall and a centimeter deeper.
Speaking of appearance, it should be mentioned and the availability of BRIX Gaming GB-BXi5G-760 a good set of external interfaces. So, on the front panel of this system, two USB 3.0 ports and an analog composite audio connector for connecting the headset are displayed. By the way, for this connector a special splitter is included in the delivery set, which allows to connect a microphone and headphones separately to it.
Behind the mini-computer in question, you can find a couple of USB 3.0 ports, a gigabit network outlet, two mini-HDMI outputs and one mini-DisplayPort port. Usually we are not too happy to see only a set of mini connectors as video outputs, but Gigabyte promises to include adapters with mini-HDMI to HDMI and c mini-DisplayPort on DisplayPort, which greatly simplifies the connection of monitors to the GB-BXi5G-760.
In addition to adapters, manuals and a set of required drivers, the package includes an external power supply. The UCFF form factor does not allow it to be placed inside the case, so to connect the GB-BXi5G-760 to an electrical network, you must use a notebook unit with a power of 180 watts. Since there is discrete graphics in the system under consideration, it is possible to consume such a configuration, therefore the power supply unit has such characteristics. It does not differ from the special compactness, especially against the background of the BRIX Gaming system itself.
The side walls of BRIX Gaming GB-BXi5G-760 do not carry any connectors on themselves – their surface is given for the organization of cooling. Therefore, they are covered with mesh, air-permeable panels. At the same time, an air intake is made on the left side of the system, and exhaust air is discharged to the right side of the shell.
The only available GB-BXi5G-760 control – the power button – is located on the top of this computer. During operation, the button is illuminated from the inside by a blue LED. The drive activity indicator for BRIX Gaming is not provided.
⇡ # Inside
Access inside the BRIX Gaming GB-BXi5G-760 is via the bottom. It is fixed on four screws and completely removed. Since this computer is supplied in the form of a skeleton system, lacking memory and a drive, the user will in any case have to spend some time for disassembling, completing and reassembling. However, engineers took care that this procedure did not cause any difficulties – the necessary side of the motherboard with the necessary slots are in very easy access.
The idea of the internal layout of Brix Gaming, obviously, is borrowed from the NUC. The 2.5-inch SATA drive bay is located directly on the underside of the case, and the necessary cable that simultaneously combines both the SATA interface and power is already fixed to the board. Also, there are two SODIMM slots for installing DDR3L SDRAM on the bottom side of the motherboard surface (note that only modules with 1.35 V supply are supported), a mini-PCIe slot that is occupied by the preinstalled AzureWave AW-CB161H card with 802.11ac support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, as well as an mSATA slot. Thus, in GB-BXi5G-760 you can install two drives at once: for example, mSATA SSD and 2.5-inch mechanical hard disk.
If you do not ask how Gigabyte engineers managed to place on such a small board with an area of just over 100 mm 2 – not only the processor, but also other necessary hardware components, the GB- The BXi5G-760 looks elementary in its layout. However, if you dig a little deeper, it turns out that the filling of this dice is not so simple as it seems at first glance. The fact is that it actually consists not of one but of two parallel, lying layers of printed circuit boards, between which is a copper low-profile cooling system with heat pipes, which removes heat from the heating chips on that and on the other board.
The lower board, which the user has direct access to, is a “motherboard” in the full sense of the concept: it carries a mobile set of Intel HM87 system logic and a central processor Core i5-4200H.
This processor belongs to the Haswell generation and is a dual-core supporting Hyper-Threading technology with a working frequency of 2.8 to 3.4 GHz. The thermal package of this CPU is 47W, that is, this system uses a much more powerful (in all senses) chip in comparison with 15-watt processors, which are usually installed in NUC-class systems. Another feature of the Core i5-4200H is the integrated graphics core of the GT2 class, but it does not work in the BRIX Gaming GB-BXi5G-760 system at all.
Really, why use the processor’s built-in graphics, if there is an external video card? And do not be surprised that it is not visible on the motherboard – it, as it usually happens in large computers, is made in the form of a separate board, which is connected via a special bridge that implements the PCI Express 3.0 x8 interface.
The video card, although it has an unconventional performance, is based on a completely standard GK104 chip from the Kepler generation and is equipped with an impressive amount of GDDR5 video memory of 6 GB. Although Gigabyte calls this video card the name GeForce GTX 760, emphasizing its desktop, rather than mobile nature, it’s not very similar to the usual accelerators of this kind.
The fact is that in the GBK-BXi5G-760 version of the GK104, the number of graphics processor shaders is increased to 1344, and the frequency is 941 MHz (with auto-acceleration up to 967 MHz). The memory uses a 192-bit bus and operates at an effective frequency of 5 GHz. In other words, in terms of performance, it’s not exactly the GTX 760, which should have fewer shader processors and texture blocks, but more rasterization blocks and a wider memory bus. The same as that installed in Brix Gaming, rather like a mobile graphics accelerator GTX 870M. It remains to be wondered why the manufacturer did not begin to call the solution applied by him the most logical name. Perhaps, because the GB-BXi5G-760 does not have NVIDIA Optimus technology, which allows to switch to the use of the integrated graphics core in the absence of a 3D load. But especially frustrating is not this, but the fact that Gigabyte has overlooked the newer graphics chips of the Maxwell generation, which certainly would allow to optimize the energy consumption of the system under consideration.
As already mentioned above, the motherboard and graphics board are arranged in two tiers, one above the other, and between them is a radiator consisting of two halves. The removal of heat from a 47-watt CPU and a 100-watt GPU is quite an easy task. Therefore, the radiator is made exclusively of copper and, in addition, its design uses four heat pipes. The air is pumped through this structure by two 50-millimeter fans that are located at the left side of the shell.
Unfortunately, the cooling circuit developed by Gigabyte engineers is still not as effective as we would like. The GB-BXi5G-760 not only gets very hot during intensive use – the video card often has to lower its frequency below the nominal value, and the noise produced by the fans during the game load can be described as horrifying without exaggeration.
And nevertheless, BRIX Gaming GB-BXi5G-760 is a very interesting miniature computer. If we proceed from what components are used in this system, even gamers with experience can remain happy with its gaming performance. However, do not forget about the price factor. The fact is that the GB-BXi5G-760 is sold for more than $ 800 – and this is without a memory, drives and operating system. So, the mark-up for miniature was very significant. After all, a similar desktop system with a desktop dual-core processor Core i3 and a GeForce GTX 760 graphics card will cost at least $ 300 cheaper.
⇡ # Specifications
For completeness, our informal description of the BRIX Gaming GB-BXi5G-760 system should be supplemented with a list of specifications.
 The processorThe processorThe processorThe processorThe Gigabyte BRIX Gaming GB-BXi5G-760Intel Core i5-4200H (two cores + HT, 2.8-3.4 GHz, 3 MB L3 cache)There is no comment in this website.Location [Russian Federation, Belgorod]There are no translations available.Here you can confirm the accuracy of the information specified in the description.There are currently no product reviews.
|Chipset||Intel HM87 Express||The memory of||Two slots for dual-channel DDR3L-1600/1333 SDRAM in SO-DIMM modules Maximum capacity is 16 GB||Drawing||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
It supports the connection of three independent monitors: two – through mini-HDMI and one – through mini-DisplayPort
|Audio||High Definition Audio via mini-HDMI or mini-DP
Realtek ALC283 HD Audio via 3.5mm stereo jack on the front panel
|The accumulators||One SATA port 6 Gb / s for 2.5-inch drives
One mSATA 6 Gb / s slot for SSD
|The periphery||Four USB 3.0 ports (two in front and two in back)||Network||Built-in Gigabit LAN controller Realtek RTL8111G Built-in dual band
wireless adapter AZUREWAVE AW-CB161H (802.11ac, 2.4 / 5 GHz, Bluetooth 4.0)
|Additional expansion options||None||The monitoring||Control of the fan speed of the processor cooler
Temperature and stress monitoring
|Indicators and buttons||Power indicator
On / off button
|Dimensions||The case dimensions: 128 × 115.4 × 59.6 mm
The dimensions of the board: 100 × 105 mm
|The food||Continuous current, 19 V, maximum 180 watts|
If you notice an error – select it with the mouse and press CTRL + ENTER.