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Palm-sized mini PC steps up to Intel Haswell CPUs

Sep 9, 2013  |  Eric Brown
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Gigabyte announced a Linux-friendly mini-PC that supports Intel’s 4th Generation (Haswell) Core processors clocked at up to 1.8GHz. The Brix comes in four different models, depending on the dual-core Core variant, supports dual HDMI/DisplayPort displays at up to 4K resolution, and offers and SPDIF, mSATA, four USB 3.0 ports, WiFi, Bluetooth, and gigabit Ethernet connections.

The new Brix models refresh a Gigabyte line of Brix mini-PCs that use the previous “Ivy Bridge” generation of Intel Core processors and can be found for as low as $285. The 114.6 x 107.9 x 29.9mm (4.5 x 4.25 x 1.2-inch) dimensions and glass surface mounted anthracite aluminum frame remain the same, as do most of the features. The key enhancement, aside from the faster, more power-efficient 4th Generation “Haswell” Core processors, is the addition of an SPDIF audio port, which is particularly useful in Home Theater setups that include discrete A/V receivers, says Gigabyte. In addition, the new Brix series switches to USB 3.0 for all four USB ports.



Brix can attach to the rear of a display
(click images to enlarge)

 

As before, the Brix is billed as a DIY kit offering, without memory, storage, or an operating system. Drivers are supplied only for Windows, but it should not be too hard to get Linux up and running. The Brix is designed for “compact HTPC builds, as a standard desktop in the home or office, or in commercial applications such as digital signage,” according to Gigabyte.

The Brix is offered in four dual-core models, with one representing each major 4th Gen. Core processor type: the 1.8GHz (3.0GHz turbo mode) GB-BXi7-4500, the 1.6GHz (2.6GHz turbo) GB-BXi5-4200, the 1.7GHz GB-BXi3-4010, and the 1.4GHz Celeron-branded GB-BXCE-2955. All the models support up to 16GB via user-supplied SODIMMs. Customers will also need to populate the mSATA slot with SSD storage.



Connectors and other features
(click images to enlarge)

 

A built-in Mini-PCI Express (Mini-PCIe) slot holds a WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 module that ships with the kit. Two of the four USB 3.0 ports face the front, along with the SPDIF jack. The other two USB 3.0 ports, as well as the gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, and Mini DisplayPort ports, are found on the rear. Dual simultaneous displays are supported, and the HDMI port can drive up to 4K video resolutions thanks to the new Core processors.

The Brix ships with an AC 100-240V power supply and adapter. VESA mounting is also standard.

Specifications listed for the 2013 generation of Brix computers include:

  • Processor — Intel 4th Generation Core “Haswell” processors:
    • GB-BXi7-4500 — Core i7-4500U (2x @ 1.8GHz/3.0GHz, 4x threads, 4MB L2, HD 4400 graphics)
    • GB-BXi5-4200 — Core i5-4200U (2x @ 1.6GHz/2.6GHz, 4x threads, 3MB L2, HD 4400 graphics)
    • GB-BXi3-4010 — Core i3-4010U (2x @ 1.7GHz, 4x threads, 3MB L2, HD 4400 graphics)
    • GB-BXCE-2955 — Celeron 2955U (2x @ 1.4GHz, 2x threads, 2MB L2m HD graphics)
  • Memory — up to 16GB user-supplied DDR3 (1.35V, 1333/1600MHz) via 2x SODIMM slots
  • Storage — mSATA slot
  • Wireless — WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 via half-sized mini-PCIe
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet (Realtek RTL8111G)
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 3.0 (2x front-facing)
    • SPDIF headphone jack (front-facing, Realtek ALC269 audio)
    • HDMI
    • Mini DisplayPort
  • Other features — VESA bracket supporting 75 x 75mm and 100 x 100mm; Kensington lock slot
  • Power — AC 100-240V input; DC 19V output; 3.42 Amp
  • Dimensions — 114.6 x 107.9 x 29.9mm (4.51 x 4.25 x 1.18 inches)

 

Pricing and availability for the new 2013 generation of Brix mini-PCs were not listed. More information may be found at Gigabyte’s Brix product page.
 

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