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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

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Gigabyte Brix Intel Celeron N2807 GB-BXBT-2807 Fanless mini PC Review

From gigantic supercomputers to moderately sized desktop and even compact laptops, computer technology has taken gigantic leaps with decreasing the size and increasing the performance of all IT components. Gigabyte has pioneered the field with the launch of NUC or Next Unit of Computing which they call as the Gigabyte Brix.
Today I have with me the very sleek and very compact Gigabyte Brix GB-BXBT-2807 which is powered by an SilverMont Intel Celeron N2807 processor clocked at 1.58Ghz working on a BaytrailM chipset.
The Gigabyte Brix and I mean this for all the variants available in the market are BareBone DIY PC kits. This means that it comes with just a chassis and a motherboard fitted with a processor giving the user the flexibility to choose the desired HDD/SSD and RAM module as per the requirements and also making room for future upgrades.
So before we start with the review of the Brix GB-BXBT-2807 lets take a quick look at its specifications.

  • Processor: Intel Celeron N2807 Processor (1.58GHz Clock Speed, 2.16GHz Max Turbo)
  • Storage: Support 2.5" SATA Hard Drive or Solid State Drive
  • Slots: 1x Mini PCI-Express Slot (Half-size, Occupied by The Wi-Fi + Bluetooth Card)
  • Ports: 1x USB 3.0 Port (front), 2x USB 2.0 Ports (rear), 1x VGA Port, 1x HDMI Port, 1x RJ45 LAN Port, 1x Audio-out / Mic-In
  • Intel Celeron Processor N2807 up to 2.17GHz
  • Memory Support (not included): 1 x SO-DIMM DDR3L slots (DDR3 1.35V); 1333 MHz; Max. 8GB
  • VGA Resolution (Max.) 2560 x 1600 at 60Hz; HDMI Resolution (Max.) 1920 x 1200 at 60Hz (HDMI 1.4a)
The specs are truly impressive for a PC that is priced at just $123.
So we'll start the review and  mark the Gigabyte Brix on the following parameters:

  • Packing
  • Setting up the Brix
  • Benchmarks 

Packing

The Gigabyte Brix comes packed inside a small yet hard cardboard box with compartments to separate and securely place each part of the whole unit. Packing is good with modest details about the module printed on the rear end.

Apart from the Brix the packaging includes:
  1. One adapter to power the brix
  2. A couple of power plugs matching the different standards of various countries
  3. VESA monitor mount plate to mount the unit behind a PC monitor along with some screws
  4. Standard manual and driver CD

All in all its a very good pack that includes everything that one will need. The extra power adapters make it a really nice deal considering its a compact device and one may carry it anywhere he goes, so kudos to Gigabyte for keeping such small details in mind.

Setting up the Box

Under the Hood
Its a fairly easy process which doesn't require more than basic tool's knowledge and obviously a sane mind as you can't go crazy with small components.

On unscrewing the four screws at the bottom you'll be able to remove the top cover which revels the insides of the box with everything resting on a single piece of PCB. The Gigabyte Brix is based on SoC designs that is System on a Chip design which means that the entire system is based on one single PCB excluding the power supply unit. It is fan less and hence makes no hissing noises keeping it quiet in all conditions.
The PCI-e slot present on the board is pre-occupied by the WiFi and Bluetooth adapter that work once the appropriate drivers are installed. I had no problem in using the WiFi and Bluetooth on the device and worked like a charm.
Get it running!
As I mentioned earlier BRIX are barebones systems so you need to supply RAM, an Operating System and storage. RAM is easy as the system takes DDR3L SO-DIMMS and Gigabyte gives driver support for Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1. Storage presents you with a choice as the motherboard has an on-board slot for mSATA however Gigabyte also includes a conventional SATA connector and a 2.5-inch drive bay. This means you can use a conventional SSD or a 2.5' HDD

I used a 2.5' ADATA 256GB SX900 6Gb/s SSD along with a Kingston  4GB 1600Mhz SODIMM RAM to run and test the Gigabyte GB-BXBT-2807 Brix.

The installation was easy and I had no problem booting into the UEFI BIOS which is a very basic version and might feel odd to some. One thing worth noticing here is that you have to set the OS that you'll be using in the BIOS prior to the installation.

As the Brix lacks an optical drive I used a bootable version of Windows 8.1 through my flash drive & How I installed it will be covered in the video review of the same. The drivers were quick to install and were not at all complicated.

Benchmarks

I tested the Gigabyte Intel Celeron N2807 Brix on a variety of parameters. From conventional AIDA 64 benchmarks to real life usage.

An interesting thing to observe was that the SilverMont Intel Celeron processor had turbo boosted to 2.1Ghz automatically from its stock 1.5Ghz which is something that I really liked but on the other hand the 1333Mhz maximum frequency support of the Brix had down clocked my RAM from 1600Mhz to 1333Mhz though thats something which I really don't mind.

AIDA 64  Cache & Memory Benchmark


AIDA 64 GPGPU Benchmark


AIDA 64 CPU Queen


We see that the Intel Celeron dual core is giving quite impressive results considering its form factor and price.
CineBench R15 CPU
A score of 65 was obtained but then the Brix was never designed to render heavy images.

Real Life tests

Since the Brix especially the GB-BXBT-2807 is meant to be used as mini PC to handle your low to medium tasks along with  a portable media streaming device. I ran a few day to day tasks emulating a test environment.

MS Office 2013


The only processors that beat the Gigabyte Celeron Brix are desktop grade CPU which are obviously more powerful and need more space and power in comparison. So that's a commendable performance level.

WinRar 5.0


Similar results are seen in this test as well, making it evident that the SilverMont Intel Celeron N 2807 makes the Gigabyte GB-BXBT-2807 Brix one of the best mini PC kits out there.

Gaming

I chose a racing game Burnout Paradise Ultimate Edition to be run on the Brix due to its high traffice and environmental density combined with PC optimized game engine.

The game ran at medium graphic setting at 1920x1080 full HD resolution and frames were measured using FRAPS.
Min Frames/sec 18
Average Frames/sec 22
Max Frames/sec 28
This is a remarkable score for a device this small and compact. The temperatures were well within the safety mark at 48°C maximum.
Miscellaneous
I kind of like stretching things to the limit in real life so I did what any user might face while using a device. i ran a 1080p print of the movie Avatar sizing to an atrocious 9GB along with copying the same along with another file from one partition of the SSD to another, both files measured a total of 13GB in size.

I experienced no lag at all while doing all this simultaneously and the experience was worth enjoying on a 40' full HD TV!
Proving that the Gigabyte Brix with the Intel Celeron Processor inside is a perfect home entertainment system with enough performance to handle even more.
For the full video review on performance you can watch the video review here:

My Verdict

From a technical perspective, the Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXBT-2807 is a tour-de-force, packing a commendable amount of computing power into an incredibly small space-- but it's not for everyone. Since the BRIX doesn't come with memory (or even a hard drive), the overall performance depends on the amount of memory you put in but, even with a minimal amount of RAM it's decent enough for everyday activities but not for an enthusiast. The standout feature of the BRIX is the physical size of the machine which is ridiculously compact. At a dirt cheap prize tag of about $123 the Brix is a steal considering you just need a $100 more for the memory and storage devices.
I recommend the Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXBT-2807 to everyone who wants a great HTPC home entertainment system along with a portable gaming device all packed into one, that gives an elegant look and appeal with a size to fit even in your pocket!
I give it a 8.5/10

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4 comments:

  1. Thank god finally, something like this came to India.
    I was sick of using my entire PC or laptop for watching full HD movies or surfing the net on my Full HD LED TV.
    You always bring quality articles, for me its both a news and review. Will buy it soon now after reading this :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. I always try to keep my readers updated with facts and quality articles.
      Keep visiting.

      Delete
  2. Lo compré por que tengo un portátil y se me quemó la torre.
    Entonces no quería volver a comprar un armatroste...Compre este modelo por su portabilidad (lo puedes llevar casi en el bolsillo) y por que lo conectas en cualquier TV de hoy dia...
    Iva a comprar otro portátil, pero como tengo 2 pantallas LCD de 19 me decidi por este.
    Es Rapido y potente, Me ha sorprendido gratamente.
    Saludos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hola,
      Seguro que es un gran dispositivo que puede hacer casi todo lo que una lata portátil promedio .
      Buena decisión del buyin que más de un ordenador portátil para uso doméstico en especial!

      Delete