Gigabyte Brix S BXi3H-5010 Review – Mini PC That Fits Anywhere
Bearing the size of a peanut butter sandwich, Gigabyte’s Brix S BXi3H-5010 is built on Intel’s NUC concept and surprisingly has an unexpected amount of flexibility and power. If you want something not as big as a full-sized PC tower, but at the same time, something that could deliver better performance than a laptop, Brix S BXi3H-5010 might just be the perfect alternative for you.
The mini PC can easily be mistaken for an accessory for it is smaller and less conspicuous than many routers and desktop hard drives, and could be easily hanged at the back of a monitor or a TV. However, you have to deal with wires when you need to connect external devices like hard drives to the CPU. Also it needs an external power brick. The Gigabyte logo is located at the rear on the top and a power button which glows blue when powered on. There are two USB 3.0 ports and a 3.5mm audio socket in the front and thus you don’t have to reach to the back in order to plug in a pair of earphones. Also, there are two more USB 3.0 ports at the back with a mini-display port, an HDMI output, a Kensington lock slot and a DC power inlet. However, not complaining, but an USB Type-C or at least a SD card slot could have been great, keeping the future devices in mind. Not to miss out the ability to drive two displays concurrently. You also get a VESA mounting bracket and two bags of screws in the box in order to install the hard drive and get started.
The BXi3H-5010 runs on an Intel Core i3-5010U CPU, which in other words is a 15W laptop processor running on the 5th generation 14nm Broadwell construction. It is connected to the Brix’s tiny motherboard and involves a cooling fan. The Brix S has two physical cores with Hyper Threading and is clocked at 2.1GHz, but does not support Intel’s Turbo Boost tech feature. It integrates Intel’s HD 5500 GPU and therefore should perform well for all the basic needs. Although you can run two displays at the same time, the resolution for both the outputs isn’t the same. You also have to add your own RAM and storage. The CPU has two SO-DIMM DDR3L slots which lie flat against the motherboard and each can deal with low-power modules of up to 8GB. A thin SATA cable comes attached to the motherboard with a non-standard connector and the 2.5-inch bay is at the detachable base. There’s also a PCIe-only M.2 slot which is pre-populated with the Brix’s Wi-Fi ac/Bluetooth 4.0 module. The antennas are internal, and we would have liked at least the option of external ones to boost reception.
Setup and performance
It is really easy to install the Brix S. There’s tiny four-inch-square motherboard attached nearly two-thirds of the way inside – this planning leaves space on the other side for the CPU, cooling fan and components which don’t need to be accessed. All the slots on the bottom are easy to deal with and you could have your RAM and SSD in place within seconds.
You can choose between the entry level hardware choices like 160GB Intel X25-M SATA SSD and a single 4GB Kingston DDR3L module. You might find it difficult installing an SSD but the tiny screws provided will make it a little easier. You can install Windows 10 and download all the latest drivers available on Gigabyte’s website. You will also be pleased to find that the fan is not loud enough to be noticeable. You can play 4k videos smoothly without exceeding your CPU usage over 15%.
Brix S is a solid machine for productivity but if you want a high-end gaming desktop, then this is not what you are looking for. The Gigabyte Brix S BXi3H-5010 provides plenty of processing power and connectivity from your desk to the inside of your entertainment cabinet.
Picture courtesy – techradar.com
by techtalks @TechTalks August 23, 2016 4:59 AM UTC