Let’s analyze the Gigabyte BRIX Pro, an ultra-compact PC kit, with an Intel Core i7-4770R CPU, two slots for DDR3 memory modules, one 2.5” bay for hard disk drive or SSD, HDMI and Mini DisplayPort outputs, and four USB 3.0 ports.

Mini PCs are not new in the market: there are plenty of compact and ultra-compact desktop computers. But the Gigabyte BRIX Pro (model GB-BXi7-4770R) has three characteristics that make it unique. First, it is really tiny, measuring only 2.4” x 4.4” x 4.4” (62 x 111 x 111 mm).

Second, it does not come “ready to use”. Gigabyte sells the BRIX Pro (as well as less powerful, and even smaller, versions) as a kit: you got the case, power supply, motherboard, CPU, and Wi-Fi adapter, but you have to buy and install the RAM and the hard disk drive (or SSD).

And third, but not less important, unlike most ultra-compact desktop computers, the BRIX Pro does not use a low voltage, low TDP (and, consequently, low performance) CPU. It uses a mighty fourth-generation Core i7-4770R CPU, with four cores and eight threads, 3.2 GHz standard clock and 3.9 GHz turbo clock. This processor also includes an Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200 GPU, which has 128 kiB dedicated memory to work as a cache, presenting higher performance than “usual” Intel integrated GPUs.

In Figure 1, you can see the box of the Gigabyte BRIX Pro (GB-BXi7-4770R).

Gigabyte BRIX ProFigure 1: box of the Gigabyte BRIX Pro (GB-BXi7-4770R)

Figure 2 shows the accessories that come with the computer. It uses an external 135 W power supply, and comes with a small manual, drivers disc, and a VESA mount for installing it behind your video monitor.

Gigabyte BRIX ProFigure 2: accessories

Figure 3 unveils the Gigabyte BRIX Pro, and Figure 4 shows it in our hand, so you can have an idea of how small it is.

Gigabyte BRIX ProFigure 3: the Gigabyte BRIX Pro

Gigabyte BRIX ProFigure 4: in hand

In the following pages, we will look at the BRIX Pro in detail.

Rafael Otto Coelho is a physicist with a master's degree in Education, and is a college professor in Brazil.