AMD APU, discrete Radeon GPU team up in Brix Gaming mini PC

Remember that mini Maingear Steam machine we saw at CES a couple weeks ago? The tiny system combines a quad-core AMD APU with discrete Radeon graphics, and enthusiasts will soon be able to build their own version of it. Gigabyte has formally introduced a Brix Gaming barebones with the same chassis and motherboard. Behold the Brix Gaming GB-BXA9G-8890.

Like the Maingear build, this overgrown NUC sports an A8-5557M processor. The quad-core chip has a 2.1GHz base clock speed, a 3.1GHz Turbo peak, and a 35W power envelope. Surprisingly, though, it’s based on AMD’s older Richland silicon rather than the latest Kaveri APU. We haven’t seen 35W versions of Kaveri yet, so perhaps that’s why Gigabyte went with the older chip.

Richland has its own integrated graphics, but this Brix configuration features a discrete Radeon R9 M275X, as well. Although the M275X isn’t listed on AMD’s website, Gigabyte’s spec sheet suggests that the GPU is derived from the Radeon HD 8800M series. That family has 640 shader processors, clock speeds in the 575-775MHz range, and a 128-bit path to 2GB of GDDR5 memory. We were told at CES that the R9 275X has roughly equivalent performance to the desktop Radeon HD 7750, which has fewer shader processors but a higher GPU clock speed.

Gigabyte pairs the R9 M275X with 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 RAM. The system also has a couple of SO-DIMM slots for system memory, an mSATA slot for mini SSDs, and a 2.5″ bay for larger SSDs and mechanical hard drives. There’s a separate Mini PCIe slot, too, but it’s occupied by the system’s wireless card. 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 are both on the menu.

The Brix Gaming’s wired connectivity includes HDMI and Mini DisplayPort video outs, a Gigabyte Ethernet jack, an analog headphone connector, and four USB 3.0 ports. Everything is squeezed into a diminutive chassis that measures only 4.5″ x 5.0″ x 2.3″ (115 x 128 x 60 mm). Gigabyte’s press release doesn’t mention pricing details, but we’ve asked the company for clarification. We’re also due to receive one of these units for testing. Stay tuned.

Comments closed
    • DarkMikaru
    • 9 years ago

    Beautiful, absolutely beautiful!! Sign me up! Sold…. hopefully the price isn’t astronomical, say 300 to 600 bones depending on the configuration and I’d retire my current HTPC setup in a heart beat. 🙂

    • ColeLT1
    • 9 years ago

    Gloss finish right?? jk

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    He was just trying appease his American sponsors.

    • willyolio
    • 9 years ago

    you’re not familiar with the term “quantify” are you?

    • Xenolith
    • 9 years ago

    By how much… I need numbers.

    • Xenolith
    • 9 years ago

    This is what I am using – [url<]http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Mini-ITX-enclosure-PicoPSU-compatible/dp/B003DXI288[/url<] The Brix has a volume of 369 cm3. The m350 case has a volume of 186 cm3.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    My laptop (Samsung Ativ Book 6) has a Radeon 8870m… and the drivers for it are terrible because it’s constantly fighting the jurisdiction of the Intel HD 4000 IGP. it’s not very powerful at all. I would not recommend this Gigabyte Brix…

    • madmilk
    • 9 years ago

    What’s the point? The A8-5777M is VLIW4 and the M275X is GCN, so the iGPU is useless. No support for hybrid Crossfire or Mantle “Crossfire.” Might as well have gone for Intel and a 35W i3.

    • cynan
    • 9 years ago

    Actually the Streacom case has 1x PCIe slot that you can use with a limited TDP video card. You just need a PCIe extender.riser adapter. However, with the lower profile/smaller passively cooled cases with their limited surface area, your choice of video card is quite limited by TDP.

    See this [url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=65463<]build thread[/url<] where someone put a GTX 660Ti in one (second img down from top). [i<]Edit[/i<]: It seems he ran into temp issues above 80% load on the 660Ti. However, I bet a card with around 100 TDP or lower (ie, r7 260x or 650Ti) would be OK. I'd probably get the larger (taller) version of this case if I was interested in passively cooling discrete video cards.

    • ermo
    • 9 years ago

    It would be interesting to see a 1080p oriented test with a 65W A8-7600 APU + passive 65W R7 250 w/DDR3 RAM in CrossFireX. Having the R7 250 use DDR3 instead of GDDR5 would ensure that the bandwidth of the APU roughly matches the bandwidth available to the discrete GPU.

    The combined shader engine count would be around 768 or so, which is Radeon HD 4850-ish territory.

    Also, the combined power output would be <= 130W, so you would be able to use e.g. a 200W SFX power supply in a low-profile flexATX or mini-ITX case for this particular combination.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    But Geoff is Canadian. He should be used to rest-of-world mm

    • bittermann
    • 9 years ago

    History of mobile vs. desktop says no need…

    • Sadheal
    • 9 years ago

    Hum, Mini-ITX form factor is already much bigger than this. Even Micro-ITX

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    It’s almost like a turbo, only cheaper. Drilling a few holes into your muffler will also give you a nice boost because it improves airflow. You can literally [i<]hear[/i<] the power

    • sschaem
    • 9 years ago

    Apu = 300 to 500 extra compute core.

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    As far as I understood, the discussion was about mobile CPUs, in which case S2011 chips don’t really count

    • Airmantharp
    • 9 years ago

    Wouldn’t the S2011 Core series count (technically)?

    • LostCat
    • 9 years ago

    There is still the difference between dedicated and shared RAM in that case.

    • DPete27
    • 9 years ago

    What will the G1. Sniper edition be packing?

    • Xenolith
    • 9 years ago

    Nice to see it quantified.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    Intel has the ‘p’ variants of Core CPUs. Not sure if there are any out for the 4000 series CPUs yet but they came out halfway through the lifetime of the 3000 series so maybe they will again. (Plus Xeons if you want to count them).

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    That’s what the optional 5″Wx10″H wing is for.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    You mean…

    Make it ALL-BORING, please?

    Not that I’m against a black version, but it’s nice to see some colors.

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    We don’t have Rolling Stones in Finland, only metal.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    Neat, but still no discrete GPU since there’s no PCIe riser.

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    Metallica Edition? Lars Ulrich would want a 50% cut, though

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    Johnny Cash or Darth Vader Edition.

    • Pwnstar
    • 9 years ago

    Racist!

    • cynan
    • 9 years ago

    While arguably somewhat of a niche product, cases like this [url=http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA-009-SR<]Streacom[/url<] beg to differ. Expensive, but the built inpassive CPU cooling is, erm, pretty cool. However, I think max recommended TDP for the CPU is only 65W... ([url=http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/30942-hush-build-simple-passively-cooled-htpc/<]Build thread with this case[/url<])

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    1 American metric millimeter = 7 2/3 millimetres

    • Deijya
    • 9 years ago

    But is has no red door to paint black…

    • PenGun
    • 9 years ago

    Paint it black you devils. (crowd noise)

    • DPete27
    • 9 years ago

    Ok Henry Ford

    • chuckula
    • 9 years ago

    ROLLING STONES FAIL!

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    Having a red AMDNUC is like having a red Honda Civic.

    Red color doesn’t make either of them fast

    • bittermann
    • 9 years ago

    Don’t bother…both cpu/gpu are the mobile variants so “desktop” apu anything will be faster than this thing. All show, no go…at least for gaming.

    • ALiLPinkMonster
    • 9 years ago

    I’d take one with the option of adding a low end R7 for dual graphics. Maybe they can make some low profile cards with blowers for just such an occasion.

    • chuckula
    • 9 years ago

    Neely sees a red [s<]NUC[/s<] [u<]AMDNUC[/u<] and he wants to paint it black.

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    Make it all-black, please

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    I might be alone, but I wish more of this stuff was stackable. Game consoles have been guilty far longer than HTPCs, but all this stuff looks kind of goofy in a nice TV stand/entertainment center. The only stackable HTPC cases out there are all like 5 inches tall (due to expansion card height). Something like the Steam Box with its angled riser would fix that.

    • chuckula
    • 9 years ago

    YOU’RE HOLDING IT WRONG!

    • jdaven
    • 9 years ago

    Is it just me or do all the ports look upside down?

    • Xenolith
    • 9 years ago

    When you do your benchmarks, please compare to Kaveri 7600 APU. My current plan is to build a mini-itx box smaller than this using the 7600.

    • Alexko
    • 9 years ago

    No, they don’t. Neither does Intel, actually.

    • drfish
    • 9 years ago

    So close! Nice effort though. Stick a 45w Kaveri in there and ditch the discrete GPU and you’ve got a winner.

    • chµck
    • 9 years ago

    No +1, it was a serious question, not a point I was trying to make.

    • Dissonance
    • 9 years ago

    Should’ve been 115. Fixed.

    • internetsandman
    • 9 years ago

    I think you may have stated those metric conversions wrong, I can’t see a measurement on there that looks to be 15mm 😉

    • Deijya
    • 9 years ago

    I’m sure the red color scheme only makes it perceived as louder, faster, and sexier… Gawd i wantz one

    • chµck
    • 9 years ago

    Does AMD make mobile CPUs that don’t have an integrated GPU anymore?

    • dale77
    • 9 years ago

    Nice looks for Cantabs

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    It’d probably be more interesting with an Intel CPU for sure, but my guess as to “why APU?” is for dual-graphics support.

    • uni-mitation
    • 9 years ago

    At the risk of stating the obvious, it is quite clear you are giving up too much for such small space for hardcore gaming.

    And if you are gonna put a discrete GPU, why bother with an APU?

    If the price is within PS4 territory then at least it has a saving grace.

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