Gigabyte Brix S BXi7H-5500 Broadwell Mini PC Review

A look inside the BXi7H-5500

When you flip the Brix onto its back you can access four extra-long screws that hold the bottom lid onto the unit. Once they are loosened you can pull the lower lid off the unit and see one side of the motherboard. Remember – there are components on BOTH sides of the motherboard. Here's what you see when you remove the cover.


The Brix with both RAM (on the left) and mSATA SSD (on the right) installed.

With the cover removed we can see the guts of the Brix. We filled our test unit with the requisite parts for testing, but if you order one from Gigabyte you would need to B.Y.O. RAM and SSD too. You also need to install an OS.

Peeking inside the unit we see the SO-DIMMS, and across from them are two add-in card slots for M.2 and mSATA. This particular box has a wireless card in the M.2 slot, which is below the mSATA drive. The long black cable leads to a SATA power and data cable, which you can attach to an SSD or hard drive, and then mount on the lid that is not in the photo. In other words, you can pull the bottom lid off the unit, attach a 2.5” drive to it, and then re-attach the lid to the unit, sealing it up nice and tight.


The Brix with RAM sticks removed, but mSATA drive installed (on the right), which sits on top of the wireless card.


The Brix with RAM and mSATA drive removed. You can see the tiny M.2 card on the right. Note the SATA connector above the RAM slots.


The Brix atop a 60lb. dog for scale. 

One design note that is important - the Brix comes with both an mSATA and an M.2 slot that uses PCI Express, but the M.2 slot comes with a wireless card pre-installed. That leaves just the mSATA and the regular SATA cable for storage duties. We just want to make sure you didn't read "M.2" port on the spec sheet and think you could install a PCI Express-based M.2 drive, like you can on the newest Intel NUC. Even if you were to ditch the wireless card, the size of the M.2 port at 42mm would make it difficult as this is not a very common size for PCI Express storage. We found a few generic SSDs on Amazon but in general, consider the storage options for this drive to be SATA-only.

Tags:  SFF, Gigabyte, Broadwell, brix

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