Gigabyte is jumping into the mini PC market today with BRIX, a compact, customizable PC that’s powered by your choice of Intel’s Ivy Bridge series of processors. The whole mini PC category answers a question we didn’t know we had. Several times smaller than a laptop or CPU tower, but way more powerful than even the fastest smartphone, mini PCs are great for setting up home media centers and even small home computers where space is an issue. They’re also a good way to start building your own compact system without worrying about heat sinks and soldering.
The BRIX is remarkably small, measuring 1.17 by 4.23 by 4.5 inches and is customizable with a Core i3, i5, or i7 processor and up to 16GB of RAM. It includes two USB 3.0 ports (one in front and one in back), HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, Ethernet port, and even a Kensington lock slot. There’s one mSATA slot inside for SSD storage and one half-size mini-PCIe slot that holds the 802.11n Wi-Fi card. There’s even a VESA bracket for easy mounting behind an HDTV. It’s capable of powering two displays at once, too.
Use it to build your own personal media center with XBMC or set up your own Linux or Windows PC, just bear in mind that you’ll need to purchase RAM and an SSD separately just to get this little monster up and running before installing an operating system. Still, the Brix could be a much more economical investment if the family computer is showing its age and needs a speed upgrade.
Pricing for the BRIX with Intel Ivy Bridge processors is not currently available, but you can view the configurations on Gigabyte’s website.