Gigabyte builds Brix on Apollo Lake SoCs

Just a few weeks after refreshing the Brix lineup with Kaby Lake CPUs, Gigabyte is launching a couple of Brix mini-PCs based on Intel's Apollo Lake SoCs. The awkwardly-named GB-BPCE-3455 and GB-BPCE-3350 are minuscule black boxes packed with the latest low-power silicon from Santa Clara. The GB-BPCE-3455 uses the quad-core Celeron J3455, while the GB-BPCE-3350 comes with a dual-core Celeron N3350 SoC. The machines are otherwise identical.

Don't be fooled by that picture. The new machines are much smaller than the Brix Pro and Brix Gaming mini-PCs we've reviewed. In fact, they're even smaller than the last Brix mini-PCs we looked at earlier in the month, at only 2.2" x 4.2" x 4.5" (or 5.6 cm x 10.7 cm x 11.4 cm). Recent Brix models have a somewhat flat form factor, but the new models have a boxy shape since they include a 2.5" drive bay, despite their diminutive dimensions. That drive bay hooks up to a SATA 6Gbps port and can take in drives up to 9.5 mm tall.

Put the biggest disk you can afford in that slot. Apart from dual DDR3L SO-DIMM slots and MicroSD card reader, that's all the expansion you get with the baby Brixes. There's an M.2 slot, but it's occupied by an Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi card with Bluetooth. Given the 10W-or-less nature of the SoCs inside the new Brixes, we'd expect them to be fanless. Update: Alan from Gigabyte tells us that the quad-core 3455 model has a fan, while the dual-core 3350 model is fanless.

Displays can be connected to Gigabyte's new ultra-compact PCs via a HDMI 2.0 output and a side-firing VGA port. Both ports can be used simultaneously, and Gigabyte says the little Brixes can output 4096x2160 video at 60Hz from the HDMI connector. Realtek chips power the Gigabit Ethernet and analog audio jacks. These machines get four USB 3.0 ports—more than some laptops we could name—and a regular old 3.5mm headphone jack, too.

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