Gigabyte Brix S BXi7H-5500 Broadwell Mini PC Review

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Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: The Brix S BXi7H5500 holds its own amongst its tiny competitors. None of these systems will ever blow anyone away with their performance; it's just the nature of the beast as it's essentially like putting an ultrabook in a box. We do love how it's absolutely silent though, and that we can upgrade the storage and RAM. The selection of mSATA SSDs isn't as big as it is for SATA drives, but there are 1TB options out there, so making sure the Brix has enough storage won't be a problem. Plus there's always a secondary SATA port, which is a welcome feature for such a small PC.

On the RAM front 16GB is also more than enough for the vast majority of users, and we like that the Wireless card also supports 80211.AC, so it should also be good for a few years at least. Probably the biggest "legacy" part of the Brix S is the mSATA port, but like we said, it should be just fine for a while, or at least until PCI Express has become the de facto interface for storage. That's something that is coming down the pike, but is still very far from being implemented.

Though this is certainly not a machine targeted towards enthusiasts, we really enjoyed our time with it. We like the DIY and barebones aspect of the Brix since we prefer to be able to hand-pick the storage and RAM that goes into any system we build. The system's built-in CPU cooling did a great job of keeping the Broadwell processor quiet, and we like the form factor too. Add to this the fact that it has both HDMI and miniDisplayPort, plus four USB 3.0 ports, and you have a tiny little system that should be able to handle almost any desktop workload aside from hardcore PC gaming.

Pricing for this Broadwell-equipped PC is around $500, which does not include an SSD or memory, so this is a mildly expensive machine as you'll be looking at around $700 once you've purchased all the parts for it. It's not a surprise to have to pay a premium for the form factor though, and this is one amazingly small PC with impressive performance (for its size), so the price seems reasonable to us. However, it is $100 more expensive than the Intel NUC5i5RYK, so though the Gigabyte Brix S offers more performance than the Intel machine and the ability to add a second SATA hard drive, so that may be worth it to some people. Overall this is an excellent machine that should certainly be on your shopping list if you're in need of a PC with an absolute tiny footprint.

 


  • Decent Performance
  • Customizable
  • Cool and quiet
  • 802.11ac WiFi
  • M.2 slot occupied
  • Not for gaming

Tags:  SFF, Gigabyte, Broadwell, brix

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