Gigabyte intros Brix mini barebones PC

As PC platforms consolidate more features in fewer chips, small-form-factor systems are becoming a lot more appealing—and a lot smaller. Gigabyte appears to be ready to throw its hat into the ring with the Brix, a NUC-sized box that measures just 4.2" x 4.5" x 1.2". ComputerBase has the scoop on the system, which has much in common with Intel's Next Unit of Computing.

Like the NUC, the Brix sports dual SO-DIMM slots for system memory, one Mini PCIe slot for a wireless card, and an mSATA slot for solid-state storage. On the outside, you get dual USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, and both HDMI and Mini DisplayPort video outs. The DP out doesn't appear to be tied to a Thunderbolt controller, but the Brix's SuperSpeed connectivity probably makes more sense for typical users. Intel still doesn't have a NUC system with USB 3.0 ports.

The presentation screenshots posted at ComputerBase suggest that the Brix chassis will be available with one of three different motherboards. Processor options will include 17W models from the Core i7, i5, i3, and Celeron families, and it looks like the CPUs will be soldered rather than socketed. The motherboards will all measure just 3.9" x 4.1", so they would probably be too small to accommodate a full-sized CPU socket.

The first Brix systems will be based on Ivy Bridge processors, but Haswell models may be on the horizon. The presentation's roadmap slide only shows the 7-series motherboard models persisting until the end of the third quarter. I suspect we'll see Haswell models after that and perhaps derivatives based on AMD's upcoming Kabini APUs, as well. (The roadmap slide leaves everything from Q4 onward up to your imagination.) Unfortunately, there's no word on pricing or availability for the current models. They'll apparently come bundled with WiFi cards and VESA-friendly mounting hardware, though.

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