The Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXi5H-5200 currently retails for $364.99 at both Amazon and Newegg, £344 from Overclockers UK and 390 EUR from Compuland. We chose to test the system with two 4GB DDR3-1600 SO-DIMMs of Crucial Ballistix and a 250GB Crucial MX200 SSD, The choice to go with the Crucial MX200 was based on the fact that it is the fastest SSD that we have on hand, our MSATA SSD options are a bit slower. The total for the system as tested is $522.23 which was without the cost of the OS which would be another $100 or so when Windows 10 is released next month.
The BRIX couldn’t be any easier to put together than Gigabyte has made it, and installing everything took maybe three minutes mainly due to the all the screws. When you are installing an OS you will want to do it via a USB drive and if you want a dead simple tool to help do that I would strongly suggest giving Rufus a try. This BRIX model is pretty great with the storage options since it allows you to have room for a MSATA SSD as well as a 2.5″ SSD/HDD. This will allow some users to cut costs by using some storage that they already have on hand.
When using the system the first thing that really stood out was the speed and ability of the unit. It did a great job with multitasking and doing what would be some of the intense work during setup of the system. Unzipping files that were over 2GB were done very fast. Now when using the system it is actively cooled so you can hear the fan when it spins up and when it does get going it does make a bit of sound. Unfortunately, this is something that most small form factor units will have to deal with since they will use small fans and to be effective they have to spin at very high RPMs. That is the only drawback that I can see for people who will be using this unit as we all have varying amounts ambient noise in our offices. Another unique thing that you might notice about the unit is that it has a singular 3.5mm headset jack that combines the mic and headphones into a single plug. This is fairly uncommon to see in PCs, but as having a many headsets and mics that have standard individual plugs one might think that it would have been better to keep them separate.
Overall this BRIX unit surprised me with the performance that it provided. Media playback was extremely smooth and every other daily task that I did with the system was extremely smooth. I will honestly be looking into getting one of these units to use as my work desktop and my PLEX media server. It definitely hits the key points of being cost-effective, energy-efficient, and more than capable processing power. If you are looking at small form factor systems there is no reason that this BRIX shouldn’t be considered.
- Energy Efficient
- MSATA SSD and 2.5″ SSD/HDD options
- Small Form Factor
- Better than expected performance
- Under load, the fan spins up and get very noticeable – A common trade-off for SFF units
- High CPU Temps
- Would have been better to have separate mic in and headphone out rather than a headset jack
- No OS
Thank you Gigabyte for providing us with the review sample.