When you can have a credit card sized PCB powering all sorts of connected devices, you know it should be possible to get a high powered CPU inside a package not that much bigger. That’s certainly the case with Gigabyte’s new BRIX mini PCs, which it’s been showing off at CES 2016. The micro-systems come complete with whatever Skylake chip you want, all the way up to a Core i7.
As small as these systems are, they’re still big enough to fit a 2.5 inch hard drive, or SSD if you prefer, as well as a M.2 SSD. That gives the Brix a huge storage potential, and there’s plenty of space for volatile memory too, with twin DDR3L-1600 SODIMM Slots, so if you find the right modules you could fit 32GB of RAM in there.
Graphically it’s no power-house, but comes with an Intel HD Graphics 520 core on-board the CPU, and that should be more than capable for general office tasks, web browsing and media viewing. Its overall capability will really depend on the choice of CPU.
Externally there’s a number of USB 3.0 ports, mostly in the Type-A configuration, though there will be some BRIX models that come with Type-C. Those will be compatible with Thunderbolt 3, which offers bandwidth up to 40Gbps and the ability to fast charge external USB devices.
Each BRIX also comes equipped with a pair of headphone and microphone jacks, as well as HDMI, mini DisplayPort outputs and a Gigabit Ethernet port. Wirelessly you can connect it via Bluetooth 4.2, or dual band 802.11 ac Wi-Fi.
To celebrate the new generation of BRIX hardware, Gigabyte even changed up the exterior chassis. It’s now a little bigger, measuring in at 46.8 x 112.6 x 119.4mm, rather than 46.8 x 107.6 x 114.4mm. Its casing is also now a silver, brushed aluminium rather than glossy black.
In truth, the BRIX line isn’t much different from Intel’s NUC, but it’s nice to have options. Unfortunately, pricing and availability weren’t announced. That’s a bit disappointing given that Intel’s Skylake NUCs are already available.