In April, Intel introduced a fanless NUC powered by its Bay Trail SoC. We were briefly excited, but it turns out the machine has a single-core Atom chip that runs at a measly 1.46GHz. That's cutting it close even for a basic desktop or home-theater PC.
Luckily, the NUC isn't the only Bay Trail-based mini PC with passive cooling. FanlessTech has confirmed that Gigabyte's Brix GB-BXBT-2807 is free of fans, blowers, and other active cooling elements. The system has a Celeron N2807 processor with dual Bay Trail cores clocked at 1.58GHz with a 2.16GHz Turbo peak. It also comes in a delightfully tiny 4.5" x 4.2" x 2.2" chassis.
Inside, you'll find one SO-DIMM slot for memory, one 2.5" bay for storage, and one mini-PCIe slot for the included wireless card. Bay Trail silicon has dual memory channels, but this Celeron implementation is restricted to single-channel RAM, so there's no need for a second SO-DIMM slot. The wireless card supports both 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
External connectivity is limited to one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0, one GigE, a 3.5-mm combo audio jack, and dual video outputs. The old-school VGA out should be handy for low-cost desktops, while the HDMI out provides easy compatibility with loads of LCDs and most big-screen TVs.
Gigabyte is bringing its Bay Trail mini PC to the U.S., but the company hasn't set pricing yet. Odds are it'll be pretty affordable. Intel's fanless NUC is selling for $143 online, and there's an actively-cooled Bay Trail NUC with a faster Celeron CPU available for only $138.
Now, if only someone would make a fanless mini PC with a quad-core Bay Trail part. If tablets can squeeze quad-core SoCs into their ultra-slim bodies, surely NUC-like boxes can handle similar chips without relying on noisy fans.