Gigabyte Brix Pro: A Compact PC for Basic Computing Needs


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Gigabyte Brix Pro Review

Sometimes, you don’t need a desktop PC to fulfill your computing needs, and even the smallest Mini-ITX systems can throw off the aesthetic of the room. In order to serve this market, a slew of compact PCs has been released from all the major players, including Intel (NUC), HP (Elitedesk/ProDesk), MSI (Cubi), and more. Today, we’ll take a high-level look at the Gigabyte Brix Pro.

Gigabyte Brix Pro Review

Specifications and Features

Gigabyte has 14 Brix Pro models that vary in both size, and installed hardware. This article focuses on the latest generation we have in our hands. As far as size, the Brix Pro measures in at 7.7″ x 1.7″ x 5.5″ (196.2 x 44.4 x 140 mm) or about 1.16L if you’re interested in total volume. The unit can easily hide with other AV Components or not take up much space on the desk. If you are using this device with a TV/Monitor, it can also mount to the back using a standard VESA (100 mm x 100 mm) mount.

The latest Brix Pros use either the 11th generation Intel Tiger Lake-based processor or an AMD Ryzen based embedded processor. The Ryzen embedded CPUs are V1605B quad cores with eight threads or a 2c/4t option. The V1605B CPU runs at 2 GHz to 3.6 GHz with a 25W TDP. The Intel processor is also a 4c/8t unit. It runs from 1.2 GHz up to a smoking fast 4.8 GHz while fitting in a 28W TDP.

On both systems, there are two SO-DIMM slots for RAM. The Intel systems support up to 64GB and speed up to DDR4 3200 MHz. The AMD systems use up to DDR4 2400 RAM with a maximum capacity of 32 GB. This is plenty of processing power for a web or streaming PC. Worth noting is these are barebones units, and you will need to purchase RAM (and storage) for the devices.

Video is handled by the new Intel X or the Radeon Vega 8 integrated graphics. Both of these iGPUs can easily handle web-based gaming or even some very light games at 1080p. These aren’t gaming powerhouses but do suffice for basic needs.

The AMD models (GB-BSRE-1505 / GB-BSRE-1605) sport up to four HDMI outputs supporting a maximum resolution of 4096 x 2160 @ 60 Hz (same with the Intel models). There are two GbE LAN ports and integrated Wi-Fi (802.11ac / BT4.2). The Intel-based models (BSi3-1115G4 / BSi3-1135G7 / BSi3-1165G7) sport integrated Wi-Fi 6 and 2.5 GbE.

Inside the Gigabyte Brix Pro

These tiny PCs include two M.2 sockets for your storage needs. One socket supports both PCIe and SATA modes, while the second socket only supports SATA based modules. Additionally, there is a single SATA3 6 Gbps port. For the expected use scenarios, there is plenty of storage capability.

For audio, the AMD-based Brix Pros use the Realtek ALC269 codec, while the Intel machines use a model a bit down the product stack in the Realtek ALC255. While these aren’t premium audio solutions, the stereo sound (no surround, note) worked well in games and in TV shows/movies I watched when using it.

Below is a list of specifications:

Specifications
Model AMD (1505/1605) Intel (115G4/1135G7/11657G7)
CPU V1505B: 2c/4t @ GHz – 3.6 GHz
V1605B: 4c/8t @ 2 GHz – 3.6 GHz
i3-1115G4: 2c/4t @ 1.7 GHz –
4.1 GHz
i5-1135G7: 4c/8t @ 0.9 GHz – 4.2 GHz
i7-1165G7: 4c.8t @ 1.2 GHz – 4.8 GHz
Memory 2x – SODIMM Dual-Channel supports up to 32 GB 2400 MHz 2x – SODIMM Dual-Channel supports up to 32 GB 2400 MHz
Video Vega 8 Integrated Graphics (3/8 SIMD, respectively) Intel X Integrated Graphics (48/80/96 EUs, respectively)
Display Output(s) Up to 4 x HDMI 2.0 (4K/60p) Up to 4 x HDMI 2.0a (4K/60p)
Storage 1x – M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4
1x – M.2 PCIe x4/SATA
1x – SATA3 6 Gbps
1x-  M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4
1x – M.2 PCIe x4/SATA
1x – SATA3 6 Gbps
LAN / WAN 2x – Realtek RTL8111H GbE LAN
Intel Wi-Fi 902.11ac / BT 4.2
2x – Intel I219V + Intel 225V
(2.5 GbE)
Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 / BT 5.0
Audio ALC 269 Codec – 2-ch, w/Amp ALC255 Codec – 2ch, w/Amp
IO Front
4x – USB 2.0
1x – Headphone/Mic Jack
1x – Power buttonRear
4x – HDMI 2.0
2x – USB 3.1 Gen 2
2x – GbE LAN ports
1x – DC-in
Front
4x – USB 3.2
1x – Headphone/Mic Jack
1x – Power buttonRear
4x – HDMI 2.0
1x – Thunderbolt 4/USB 4.0
2x – USB 3.2 Gen 2
2x – GbE LAN ports
1x – DC-in
Warranty 3 Years
Price GB-BSRE-1505 ($249)
GB-BSRE-1605 ($299)
(Waiting to hear back from Gigabyte)

Use and Conclusion

After purchasing and installing the RAM and M.2 storage module, we installed Windows 10 from a USB stick. This process only took around 10 minutes, which is about right even for much faster desktops. The Gigabyte website lists all the drivers, BIOS, and software you need to start. It even has a driver package with everything in it (called EZ Install) for one-click installation. I used this, and it worked without issue.

For my household, we used the Brix Pro to smarten up a ‘dumb’ TV. Using the included VESA mounting bracket, I attached the device to our TV and powered it up. Windows boots just as fast on the Brix Pro as it does with my desktop, thanks to the fast PCIe/NVMe based drive we used.

On the streaming front, our device had no issues running content from Netflix or Hulu. The Wi-Fi proved plenty capable even through two floors where the router is located. The audio is stereo only, but for its intended use, that shouldn’t be a problem for most users.

On the gaming side of the house, I plowed through several web-based games and even some Roblox games that my kids enjoy without issue. For giggles, I installed PUBG and PGA Tour 2K2. Surprisingly, both of these games were playable with a mix of settings, but just barely. The PUBG experience wasn’t optimal, being a first-person shooter where every FPS counts, but the golf game played without issue.

There are many different uses for these diminutive PCs, including basic office type work. Even with large(ish) Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, the Brix didn’t flinch. If you need more horsepower, you’ll want to step up to the higher-end Intel-based units.

In the end, Gigabyte has produced several compact PCs that vary in performance and price. Starting at $249, these are a good option for a basic office PC, signage, or even a basic home PC, so long as you aren’t doing anything really gaming heavy. The use of Ryzen based APUs and Intel’s 11th generation low-powered CPUs with the new Intel X graphics pack enough punch to cover the basics and do so in a compact package. If you’re looking for something performant enough for basic computing with a tiny footprint, the Gigabyte Brix Pro is a great option.

Joe Shields (Earthdog)

Discussion

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  1. Honestly seems like a really nice little box. Tossing a cheap 500GB NVMe drive and 16GB RAM kit into that 2c4t AMD unit keeps it below $400, and will probably fill most roles for a good number of people out there - I know I don't need more than that >90% of the time. Will have to keep it in mind for the next time the family starts asking for a new Facebook machine.
    I've got a similar size/similar spec. (Dell) unit in the lab. to drive some equipment - I guess these are basically laptops but cheaper due to not needing to be truly portable and being a lot simpler to construct.
    But yeah, this should handle standard office/web tasks easily.
    I still use an Intel NUC as a daily machine, and have for many years now. Current box is the good ole Skull Canyon with the 6770HQ cpu. I also have an NUC with I3-7100 that is basically a backup. I have always been impressed with them for what they can do vs their size
    freakdiablo
    Honestly seems like a really nice little box. Tossing a cheap 500GB NVMe drive and 16GB RAM kit into that 2c4t AMD unit keeps it below $400, and will probably fill most roles for a good number of people out there - I know I don't need more than that >90% of the time. Will have to keep it in mind for the next time the family starts asking for a new Facebook machine.

    I don't understand why you'd need a computer for facebook at all, a tablet with a keyboard would be cheaper and probably have a longer usable life too.
    Computers seem to be going back to how they originated - in the realm of professionals, scientists, programmers, etc. Most everyone else can get away with a tablet for computing.
    Culbrelai
    I don't understand why you'd need a computer for facebook at all, a tablet with a keyboard would be cheaper and probably have a longer usable life too.
    Computers seem to be going back to how they originated - in the realm of professionals, scientists, programmers, etc. Most everyone else can get away with a tablet for computing.

    I was only using FB as an example - meaning they don't do anything more stressful than basic web browing and maybe the occasional HD vid. But I'm curious how you came to this conclusion. I only ask because I recently fished out an E450 based Zotac barebones, surprisingly similar to if slightly buliker than one of these units, that I used back in college. A good 8 years old at this point. I dropped on the latest version of Mint, and within 20 minutes or so it was not only up and running, but running well. Doubt you can say the same about an 8 year old tablet without some serious cludging- especially one below the $400 mark when new.
    As for "going back how they originated", maybe with some but not all. My parents actually just went back to a pair of mid-ranged laptops after using primarily iPads for the past few years - they figured carrying around the tablet, a stand, and a keyboard just wasn't worth it. My grandparents were the same.