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Gigabyte unveils new mini PC — can it rival the Mac Studio?

Gigabyte has just revealed its upcoming mini PC, the new Brix Extreme, launching in the second quarter of 2022. Although on the surface the PC resembles the Apple Mac Studio, on the inside, it’s a whole different story.

The small, square-shaped computer comes with a host of connectivity options, 12th generation Intel processors, and Gigabyte’s proprietary hydro-cooling system. Will it be able to keep up with the Mac Studio?

Gigabyte Brix Extreme mini PC.

This isn’t Gigabyte’s first rodeo in the creation of a mini PC — the 2022 version of Brix comes as a successor to previous models. This time around, the Brix Extreme will feature Intel Alder Lake processors, access to Wi-Fi 6E, PCIe Gen 4.0, and support for up to four displays. Let’s take a closer look at what Gigabyte has already unveiled.

Brix Extreme will be available in two variants — a Slim version and a Tall version. They obviously vary by size, although both the PCs remain compact and portable. The Tall version, however, offers extra storage capacity and has the space to accommodate a 2.5-inch SSD or HDD.

Gigabyte used strictly 12th-gen Intel CPUs, ranging from Core i3 to Core i7. All of these processors are the mobile versions of Alder Lake, are based on a 7nm technology, and offer up to 12 cores. The hybrid architecture means that four of those cores are P-cores (performance) and eight are E-cores (efficiency). Gigabyte promises clock speeds of up to 4.7GHz.

The company cites benchmark results (SYSMark25 and CrossMark) to prove that the latest Intel CPUs will deliver a performance increase over the previous generation, claiming that we can expect to see gains of up to 28% compared to 11th Gen Intel. Gigabyte also boasts a 10% increase in GPU performance.

In terms of graphics, the Brix Extreme doesn’t come with a discrete graphics card and has to rely on Intel’s integrated Iris Xe technology with 96 execute units (EUs). Gigabyte claims that this will allow users to play the latest games on ultra settings, but it’s best to take this with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, the Brix Extreme can be used for casual gaming.

Gigabyte BRIX Extreme with four displays.

Aside from the above, we’re getting DDR4 memory and PCIe Gen 4.0 SSD storage. The mini PC supports 2.5G Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6E, promising fast and stable connections. Connectivity is made safer due to the integrated TPM module.

The Brix Extreme comes with a large number of ports and it can support up to four displays at once running at 4K. This is done via two HDMI 2.1 ports, one USB-C DisplayPort, and one mini DisplayPort. Although the mini PC supports 8K resolution, users will have to use DisplayPort 1.4 to take advantage of that.

Gigabyte’s new mini PC should be a good pick for a variety of use cases, ranging from office work to setting it up as an entertainment center with multiple displays. However, it’s hard to imagine that it will truly rival the staggeringly powerful Mac Studio. The new M1 Ultra chip found in one of the versions of the Mac Studio mini PC is a real powerhouse, combining two M1 Max chips into one. We will have to wait and see benchmarks of the Brix Extreme once it arrives, but it’s likely that Gigabyte isn’t trying to launch a real Mac Studio competitor here.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

One key information is missing from Gigabyte’s reveal — the pricing of the new Brix models. As the second quarter of the year is almost here, we’re likely to learn more about this in the near future.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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