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 4096×2160 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.

Comments closed
    • uni-mitation
    • 3 years ago

    Apparently Apollo Lake will be the first iteration of Intel’s 2.0 binary blobs. Has anyone been running any Braswel Linux boxes?

    Uni-mitation

      • DrCR
      • 3 years ago

      Interesting question, as Linux is exactly what I would want to use on such a computer.

      • synthtel2
      • 3 years ago

      Intel binary blobs the what now? Did I miss something?

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 3 years ago

    No IR or front USB? So much for a Kodi/emulator box.

      • demani
      • 3 years ago

      Because a 6″ USB extender would be an unreasonable add on? It’s not like these are expensive.

        • DragonDaddyBear
        • 3 years ago

        W.A.F. (wife approval factor) she approves of my projects so long as the are unseen or pretty. Also, 1 year olds love cords. She leaves the computer I have now alone. The charging cord for the Harmony during next to it, not so much.

    • DPete27
    • 3 years ago

    I would’ve preferred the [url=http://ark.intel.com/products/95596/Intel-Celeron-Processor-N3450-2M-Cache-up-to-2_2-GHz<]N3450[/url<] instead since it's got a 6W TDP which ought to be low enough to be passively cooled.

      • Faiakes
      • 3 years ago

      You can passively cool even 15w cups, with a good aluminium chassis.

        • DPete27
        • 3 years ago

        With a $100+ aftermarket NUC case probably. I haven’t seen any OEM NUCs with passively cooled 15W CPUs though.

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