Hands-On With Gigabyte’s Skylake BRIX Mini-PCs, Aorus Gaming Notebooks And WINDFORCE Graphics Cards
We had a chance to visit Gigabyte this week at CES, and as always, the company had plenty to showcase for our eager eyes. On tap were new Skylake BRIX mini-PCs, new WINDFORCE graphics cards, a new gaming laptop and a familiar 34-inch curved AIO machine.
First up, however, is Gigabyte’s refreshed BRIX mini-PCs which feature a high-quality, brushed aluminum finish to class things up a bit. Customers can choose from three Skylake processor, all with a TDP of 15W and all with Intel HD Graphics 520 onboard: the Core i3-6100U, Core i5-6200U or Core i7-6500U.
Two M.2 slots are included in the BRIX machines, with one already occupied by a combo Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module, and the other awaiting an SSD that you have to provide. Interestingly, while Intel’s Skylake NUCs take advantage of DDR4 SO-DIMMs, the new BRIX machines use DDR3L. Other features of mention include four USB 3.0 ports, Intel GbE, HDMI and and mini Mini DisplayPort.
The new Skylake BRIX models will be available in a standard configuration — GB-BSi3-6100, GB-BSi5-6200 and GB-BSi7-6500 — which only support a single M.2 SSD. However, there will also be taller “H” models — GB-BSi3H-6100, GB-BSi5H-6200 and GB-BSi7H-6500 — that accommodate an M.2 SSD and a 2.5-inch SATA SSD or HDD.
Next up, Gigabyte had a new Mini Gaming PC on display complete with a swanky Enermax case. Inside, you’ll find a GA-X150M-PLUS WS motherboard (Intel C232 chipset) which support Skylake processors along with the eon E3-1200. You’ll also find dual DDR4 DIMM slots and a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 graphics card. Other products on display included the GA-Z170N-WIFI Skylake motherboard and an updated WINDFORCE GPU lineup that includes light pipes around the fans across the board. One model in particular, the GV-R9FURYWF33OC-4GD includes a WINDFORCE 3X cooling system, AMD Radeon R9 Fury GPU with a core clock of 1010MHz and 4GB of GDDR5 memory.
Gigabyte also showed four new members of the Aorus notebook family: the X5 v5, X5S v5 2016 Limited Edition X5 and the X7 Pro v5. The 15-inch X5 v5 includes a Skylake Core i7 processor paired with up to 64GB of RAM, and your choice of a GeForce GTX 980M (8GB) or dual GeForce GTX 965M in SLI (2x4GB). Your screen choices include either a 4K UHD (3840x2160) or 3K WQHD+ (2880x1620) panel. And it should be noted that the X5 v5 is Gigabyte’s first notebook to be available with the optical Fusion Keyboard, which provides per-key LED backlighting.
There are two additional X5 models to speak of: the X5S v5 and the 2016 Limited Edition X5. The former is available only with the GeForce GTX 980M GPU and can not be had with the Fusion Keyboard. The latter comes with a special camouflage paint job for the exterior.
Last, but not least, on the laptop front is the X7 Pro v5. This particular model comes with a Skylake Core i7 processor, dual GTX 970M GPUs in SLI and a 17.3-inch Full HD display.
The final product that we had the chance to look at was a familiar 34-inch curved all-in-one gaming desktop. We say familiar, because MAINGEAR announced the same basic machine earlier this week. We don’t have any specifics yet from Gigabyte on how it plans to differential its offering from the rest of the pack, but we’ll give you details as soon as they are available.