Gigabyte BRIX GB-XM11-3337 System Review



/ 10 months ago

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Intel’s NUC has spawned a new generation of mini PCs. We recently took a look at the Next Unit of Computing (NUC) from Intel and we found it to be a very impressive unit but was marginally let down by components lacking performance, a high price tag and a missing wireless module. Gigabyte’s BRIX looks set to take on two of those major flaws in Intel’s new reference NUC platform as they have opted for a Core i5 and have included a wireless module.

Today we are reviewing the Gigabyte GB-XM11-3337 BRIX which is like Intel’s NUC except Gigabyte have redesigned the chassis, changed the I/O, changed the BIOS and opted for some higher spec hardware. While Intel’s NUC measures in at 1.55 inches thick Gigabyte’s BRIX is much smaller at 1.18 inches thick. In fact the Gigabyte BRIX is just a generally more compact unit than Intel’s NUC. Furthermore the wireless module is included as standard and USB 3.0 has been added too. Finally there is a DisplayPort and HDMI instead of two HDMI meaning you have slightly more flexibility when it comes to display outputs.

Additionally the main change comes in the form of the CPU. The Intel NUC we reviewed had a dual core 1.1GHz 32nm Sandy Bridge based CPU whereas this Gigabyte BRIX uses an Ivy Bridge 22nm i5 3337U processor that has 2 cores and four threads at 1.8GHz stock and 2.7GHz turbo. It also supports more memory bandwidth at up to 1600MHz compared to the 1333MHz on the Intel NUC we looked at that had a Celeron 847. Finally it also boasts Intel HD 4000 graphics which aren’t going to play any games that well but are still a huge leap forward over the graphics part of the Sandy Bridge ULV processors like the Celeron 847. However, this comes at a cost as the Core i5 3337U has a tray price of $225 which is more than the entire Intel Celeron 847 based NUC system costs – straight away we know this isn’t going to be cheap but let’s see how much performance this device offers.

Below you can see the full specifications of Gigabyte’s BRIX GB-XM11-3337 system and without any further ado we will now proceed through the rest of this review.

gigabyte_brix_specs

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  • Wayne

    These kind of things only make sense to me in space constrained areas and they don’t appeal to me personally. I’m a died-in-the-wool desktop fan. That said, I wouldn’t mind taking one of these for a spin around the block out of curiosity if nothing else.

  • Paul

    great review – the only problem is that you had and installed version. I just bought one with a blank drive and can’t get the machine to boot from USB so that I can install an OS. No documentation anywhere… really frustrating!!!!!!

    • http://www.eteknix.com/ Ryan Martin

      Hi Paul,

      We had a blank version. We used a USB thumb drive with a Windows 7 ISO to install the OS onto an mSATA SSD. It wasn’t particularly tough but maybe your BRIX is encountering some minor technical stumbling blocks. I’d suggest (if you can) installing the OS onto your mSATA device on another PC and then adding it to your BRIX after.

      • Didier Meert

        Ryan, I got my brix to boot from usb, however the windows 7 setup does not recognize my msata drive (crucial). Any idea where I can download the driver required?

        • http://www.eteknix.com/ Ryan Martin

          Drivers aren’t needed for mSATA SSDs. It should work irrespective maybe you could try a BIOS update but I see no other reason for it not working other than a defective mSATA SSD


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