GIGABYTE BRIX GB-BXi7-4500 Review – The biggest difference between Gigabyte brix GB-BXi7-4500 and GB-BXi7-4770R is that BRIX GB-BXi7-4500 comes with a dual-core Intel Core i7-4500U, which is an Ultrabook-style processor that trades clock speed for energy efficiency compared to the BRIX Pro’s quad-core Intel Core i7-4770R. Intel’s Core i7-4500U offers a base clock speed of 1.8GHz and a max Turbo of 3GHz. It also features an exceptionally low max TDP of 15 watts, which is important because there’s not a lot of free space inside the BRIX GB-BXi7-4500. The whole unit measures a mere 1.18 x 4.24 x 4.5 inches (HxWxD).
In our testing, we found that the system generated hardly any heat and barely made a sound. The BRIX GB-BXi7-4500 barebones kit comes with everything you’ll need except for DDR3L SODIMM memory, storage, and an OS. For storage, the BRIX GB-BXi7-4500 requires an mSATA SSD. Previous ultra-compact systems we’ve looked at, such as GIGABYTE’s BRIX Pro and Intel’s NUC models, could take advantage of 2.5-inch drives. There’s just no room for a 2.5-inch drive inside the GB-BXi7-4500. Still, the mSATA requirement shouldn’t be a deal breaker, as mSATA drives can be found at similar capacities and prices as today’s 2.5-inch SSDs. You just won’t be able to pull an old 2.5-inch drive out of another system for use in the BRIX. Together, the BRIX’s two SO-DIMM slots support up to 16GB of DDR3L-1600/1333. You can access the SO-DIMM and mSATA slots by unscrewing the bottom panel. GIGABYTE provides driver support for Windows 7/ Windows 8/ Windows 8.1. For graphics power, BRIX GB-BXi7-4500 runs Intel’s HD Graphics 4400, which boasts 20 execution units and a max dynamic frequency of 1.1GHz. Naturally, you’ll also get support for Intel’s Quick Sync Video, InTru 3D Technology, Clear Video HD Technology, and WiDi.
GIGABYTE includes HDMI 1.4a and mini DisplayPort 1.2a outputs, which gives you some flexibility with video and audio connectivity. You can even use both ports at once to span video across two displays. A headphone jack is available on the front panel, and it doubles as a coaxial S/PDIF output that supports up to 5.1-channel surround sound. The BRIX GB-BXi7-4500 offers four USB 3.0 ports—two on the front and two on the back. GIGABYTE also integrates Bluetooth 4.0 via a mini PCI-E module, so you can wirelessly connect a Bluetooth keyboard, headphones, etc. Integrated 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet are both included, so you can add the BRIX to your network any way you want. The BRIX’s size means that it’s fairly easy to hide on a desk, and GIGABYTE takes it a step further by including a VESA mounting bracket with the kit. This way, you can attach the BRIX directly to the back of a VESA-compatible monitor or HDTV.
The mounted setup is ideal for home theater environments where you want a seamless look. Support for USB Power On (currently limited to Win8) is a nice perk, as it lets you fire up the BRIX using a connected USB peripheral; it’s excellent if you want to use the BRIX in your home theater, mount it behind a monitor, or stick it in a place where it’s a hassle to reach the power button. A Kensington lock slot is provided on the BRIX’s rear panel, too. We ran the GIGABYTE BRIX GB-BXi7-4500 through our series of benchmarks.
In 3DMark Professional’s Fire Strike test, it delivered an overall score of 734 and a Graphics score of 842. The GB-BXi7-4500 turned in a Cinebench 11.5 mark of 3.4 and a POV-Ray 3.7 score of 726.42. As you’d expect, the numbers were lower than what we saw with the BRIX Pro, but the GB-BXi7-4500 is still more than fast enough to handle productivity tasks. The BRIX is the slimmest of GIGABYTE’s ultra-compact PC kits, yet this hockey-puck-sized system comes with a pair of video outputs, ample USB 3.0 ports, and two flavors of wireless connectivity. And because GIGABYTE lets you choose your own memory, storage, and OS, you’ll be able to customize it to meet your specific needs. If you’re looking for a tiny, full-fledged PC, it’s worth your consideration.
GIGABYTE BRIX GB-BXi7-4500 Specifications
- Processor: Intel Core i7-4500U (1.8GHz/3GHz)
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE MMLP7AP
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4400
- Memory: 4GB Kingston DDR3L-1600
- Storage: 128GB ADATA SX300