Gigabyte's latest Brix IoT packs a Core i3 for extra grunt


— 1:00 PM on April 20, 2017

A couple of weeks ago we wrote about Gigabyte's Brix IoT PCs—a pair of fanless miniature computers with Intel Apollo Lake SoCs inside. We read over at Fanlesstech that the company has expanded the Brix IoT range with models packing a dual-core 2.4 GHz Intel Core i3-7100U CPU. The brawnier GB-EKi3A-7100 also packs two USB 3.1 ports, though it loses some of the connectivity options present on its less-powerful siblings.

The Core i3 machine has an HDMI jack and a mini-DisplayPort. When the appropriate DisplayPort daisy-chaining hardware is in play, the PC can drive three independent displays, something that's bound to be useful in digital signage applications. The Kaby Lake integrated graphics can drive 3840x2160 displays at up to 60 Hz, a step up from the 4K-at-30 Hz limitation of the Apollo Lake versions.

 

For peripheral connectivity, the EKi3A-7100 has a pair of USB 3.0 jacks, plus one USB 3.1 Type-A port and one USB 3.1 Type-C connector. The included Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity are all provided by Intel controllers. The Core version of the Brix IoT can run on input voltages from 12V to 19V. Gigabyte supplies a 65W, 19V external power brick with the machine. Serial UART connectivity is available with a standard nine-pin connector. Buyers who opt for the EKi3A-7100 instead of its smaller cousins will have to give up the microSD slot, the second Gigabit Ethernet port, and the GSM connectivity. The extra CPU power and graphics grunt make that exchange mostly a fair one, though.

The Core version of Gigabyte's Brix IoT fanless mini PC measures a diminutive 7.1" x 4.6" x 1.4" (18 cm x 12 cm x 3.6 cm)—just a bit larger than the Apollo Lake versions in every dimension. Gigabyte did not provide pricing or availability information, though we expect the Core version to cost a bit more than the Celeron and Pentium versions.

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