Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXi5H-5200 Review

Introduction


Today we are taking a look at Gigabyte’s Intel i5 5200U powered BRIX. Gigabyte has an impressive array of BRIX models that come in at all different performance levels with many CPU options and even options with discrete GPUs. The small form factor computer business has been exploding the last few years due in part with parts shrinking and their abilities skyrocketing. Many people have been buying small form factor units deciding to use them as business or daily workstations due to the low power consumption, helping to lower costs. Others love these small boxes for use as home theater PCs (HTPCs) since they can be tucked out of the way and will generally not be heard over ambient sound in the home theater. The specs for this BRIX look promising for use in both situations so let’s take a closer look and see just how well it would perform in these tasks.

Specifications
  • Name: Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXi5H-5200
  • CPU: Intel i5 5200U (2C/4T, 2.2 GHz w/ 2.7 GHz Max Turbo, 14nm, 15W)
  • RAM: User Supplied – We tested with Crucial Ballistix 2x4GB DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24 1T 1.35v 
  • SSD: User Supplied – Crucial MX200 SSD 250GB
  • GPU: Integrated – Intel® HD Graphics 5500
  • LAN: Realtek RTL8111G 10/100/1000/Gigabit Base T
  • WLAN: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
  • I/O: 4x USB3.0, 1x HDMI, 1x Mini isplayPort, Headphone-out, Microphone in, RJ-45/GbE LAN
  • OS: Supplied Barebones, Windows 10 preview used in this review
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Price: $364.99

Retail Packaging

Printed materials and hardware that the BRIX comes with. You will get a power adapter and power cord to hook up the BRIX as well as all the screws that you will need to mount your SSD or HDD and use the VESA mount if you wish. The DVD and printed materials are toss away materials in my opinion since the most up to date drivers and materials can be downloaded from the support website.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

iBuyPower Noctis Intel Z97 Review

Introduction


Once again, it is review time at eTeknix HQ and iBuyPower gives us the chance to test their Noctis Intel Z97. The case is a brand new iBuyPower version of the equally new NZXT Noctus 450. Inside we have an Intel i7 4790K, an EVGA Superclocked GTX 980, 16GB of DDR3 1600, and a 240GB SSD. Cooling the 4790K is a 120mm AIO CPU liquid cooler with two fans in a push-pull configuration. The 4790K has a Turbo frequency up to 4.4GHz, and with the EVGA Superclocked GTX 980 running up to 1505MHz core and 3505MHz memory makes this system well suited for some great gaming performance.

The system was put together using the iBuyPower Z97 system configurator, and parts were chosen to make a system that would make a very capable gaming system while not going overboard and trying to stay budget conscious. I was trying to stay under the $2,000 and what I ended up with was a system that comes out to an affordable $1,530, so lets give it a go and see how it does. I will also look for ways I could improve on the build while still staying within that $2,000 budget that I was aiming for.

Specifications

  • Name: iBuyPower Noctis Intel Z97
  • Case: NZXT Noctis 450 iBuyPower Version – Blue
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97-D3H (Socket 1150) DDR3 ATX Motherboard
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 4790K Quad Core Haswell Processor
  • Processor Cooler: 120mm CPU Water Cooler
  • System Memory: 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 Memory (2 x 8GB sticks)
  • Main Boot Drive: 240GB Kingston V300 SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): None
  • Graphics card: EVGA GeForce GTX 980 4GB Superclocked
  • Power Supply: Thermaltake SMART SP-650 650W 80PLUS Bronze
  • Optical DriveNone
  • Wireless: Not included
  • Monitor: Not included
  • Peripherals: Not included
  • OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit
  • Warranty: Three Year Standard Warranty
  • Price: $1549 as configured Delivered

The shipping box is immense and will likely need two people to move it unless you are capable of carrying large precarious objects safely.

Inside is the box for the iBuyPower NZXT Noctis 450, well padded with heavy foam that will be great for keeping the systems intact.

Inside the Notcis case box, the original case packaging is used, with closed cell foam keeping it very secure and stable.

The unboxed system is striking with the matte black finish and the blue mesh accents.  The matte finish can pick up fingerprints and dust so keep some cleaner and a microfiber cloth handy if you are picky about that kind of thing. There is a piece of printed paper on the side of the case illustrating how to remove the Instapak foam that keeps the internals of the system secure while shipping.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

AMD Super Pi Performance Fixed With Patch, Benchmark Record To Be Smashed

AMD has always been very poor at Super Pi test scores since the Bulldozer architecture was released. You only need to take a quick glimpse at the graph below to see that both Bulldozer and Piledriver based AMD CPUs flat-out suck, there is no other way to put it. The reason is because the benchmark is very old and uses an instruction set that just doesn’t work very well with AMD.

Unsurprisingly it turns out that the program not AMD CPUs are what is causing the unusually low scores. The Stilt from Finland, according to the HWBot forums, have developed a fix for AMD Bulldozer/Piledriver on Super Pi. For the real world this is totally irrelevant but for the extreme overclocking and benchmarking community this is quite a huge break through.

Apparently the Stilt used BIOS developers guides, that are made available to motherboard vendors, to figure out this performance issue and devise a solution. It’s an impressive achievement and shows how just one person can develop something the entire motherboard industry ignored/missed. The patch for Bulldozer/Piledriver systems can be seen here.

A rough idea of performance is that a 4.1GHz Richland A10-6800K managed 17 minutes and 34 seconds with this patch while without the patch a 5GHz Richland A10-6800K could manage only 18 minutes and 15 seconds. The patch clearly makes a huge difference and we look forward to seeing some more results.

Image courtesy of the Stilt