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Monday, 15 June 2015


Gigabyte BRIX S GB-BXi3H-5010 Intel i3 5010U mini PC kit review

It was only a matter of time. Intel’s teeny tiny, energy-efficient Broadwell processors always seemed like a perfect fit for Gigabyte’s miniature Brix PCs, and now the fifth-generation Intel Cores have found their way inside the bare-bones desktops.

Today I have with me the smallest of the "fit in the palm of your hand" lot the Gigabyte BRIX S running on the i3 5010U 2.1Ghz Broadwell CPU. Not only is it considerably faster than its older versions but also the inclusion of the Intel HD5500 graphics has made it at least 20% faster working on the same sweet power rating of 10W-30W giving it a higher power-to-performance ratio.
So without any delay lets take a quick peek into the specifications:

  •     Intel Core i3-5010U 2.1GHz
  •     2 x SO-DIMM DDR3L slots (DDR3 1.35V) 1600 MHz: Max. 16GB
  •     LAN Gigabit LAN (Realtek RTL8111G)
  •     Audio Realtek ALC283
  •     Graphics Intel HD Graphics 5500
  •     HDMI Resolution (Max.) 4096 x 2304 @ 24Hz
  •     Mini DP Resolution (Max.) 3840 x 2160@ 60Hz
    Expansion Slots
  •     1 x mSATA slot
  •     1 x PCIe M.2 NGFF 2230 A-E key slot occupied by the Wi-Fi+BT card
    Front I/O
  •     2 x USB 3.0
  •     1 x head phone jack with mic
    Rear I/O
  •     1 x HDMI
  •     1 x Mini DisplayPort
  •     2 x USB 3.0
  •     1 x RJ45
  •     1 x DC-In
  •     1 x Kensington lock slot
    Wi-Fi Card 802.11ac, Dual Band & BT 4.0
    Storage Support 2.5” HDD/SSD, 7.0/9.5 mm thick (1 x 6 Gbps SATA 3)
    Support OS
  •     Windows 7 32/64-bit
  •     Windows 8.1 64-bit
A few things that are worth noticing over here is that measuring at just 1.8 x 4.2 x 4.5 inches, these classically designed yet stylish mini-PCs pose a real danger of misplacement and loss when carried around. So it’s probably best to just leave them in the living room, where they can be connected to two monitors at once as it supports dual display!
Also it has 4xUSB 3.0 ports which compensates for the absence of any PS/2 port and two in the front means that you won't have to swap USB devices all the time.


The Gigabyte BRIX S come in a premium sliding box that contains all the components in a two layer format housing the BRIX on top and the VESA plate along with the driver CD and installation screws in the middle separating the bottom where the power cord is safely placed.

The front has almost no detail about the product but on the back you can find almost everything you need to know about the BRIX S with features and even a small guide on installation.

The box itself is very premium and gives the feel of a thick and solid packing & is sure shock proof considering mine came in just a bubble wrap around the box itself!

I've done an unboxing video for the same which you can watch if you want details on the same.


Some of the features worth mentioning over here regarding the Gigabyte BRIX S are:
Dual Display 

With support for HDMI and DisplayPort, the BRIX can power two displays simultaneously, making a perfect choice as a high productivity PC in professional and home environments, or in any number of industrial and commercial multi-display applications. 
Flexible Compact PC Kit with a silent fan support

The BRIX S is sold as a DIY PC kit, shipping with a NGFF M.2 Wi-Fi module pre-installed, plus a power adapter and cable conforming to local standards. Requiring only system memory and mSATA SSD, the BRIX S gives users the flexibility to independently choose integrated storage and system memory size, without the trouble of sourcing components that are not widely available on the retail market. The fan is silent and efficient that keeps the CPU well under safe temperature even under loads.
VESA Support

Bundled with a VESA bracket, the BRIX can easily be mounted behind a monitor or HDTV making it discreetly hidden from view. This makes it simple and effective way to turn any VESA-compliant display or TV into a full-featured PC or digital signage unit. 
2.5” SATA Hard Drive Support

Utilizing SATA III 6Gb/s high speed data transfer technology, the Gigabyte BRIX S supports the installation of one 2.5” SATA hard drive and one mSATA SSD module. This allows for optimized storage configurations which combine fast SSD performance with larger capacity hard drives.


The BRIX S are not only meant for home entertainment unlike the old Gigabyte Brix GB-BXBT-2807 which I'd reviewed earlier. These are aimed as a direct replacement to desktops both in price and performance with a tremendous space for customizability and at a much lower price tag.
So I ran a series of conventional and real world test to see how good the BRIX S powered by the Intel i3 5010U really is.
For the test I configured the Gigabyte BRIX S GB-BXi3H-5010 with the following components:
1. ADATA SX900 256GB 6Gb/sec SSD (Courtesy to ADATA)
2. Kingston 4GB 1600Mhz SODIMM RAM (Courtesy to Kingston)
Installation for the same is in the video review below.

PCMark Vantage

PCMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed for Windows Vista offering one-click simplicity for casual users and detailed, professional grade testing for industry, press and enthusiasts.
A PCMark score is a measure of your computer’s performance across a variety of common tasks such as viewing and editing photos, video, music and other media, gaming, communications, productivity and security.
From desktops and laptops to workstations and gaming rigs, by comparing your PCMark Vantage score with other similar systems you can find the hardware and software bottlenecks that stop you getting more from your PC.
These results certainly aren’t the best I’ve seen but are perfectly acceptable considering the i3 5010U has only two cores & are infact more than impressive!

Cinebench R15

The test scenario uses all of your system’s processing power to render a photorealistic 3D scene (from the viral “No Keyframes” animation by AixSponza). This scene makes use of various different algorithms to stress all available processor cores.

In fact, CINEBENCH can measure systems with up to 64 processor threads. The test scene contains approximately 2,000 objects containing more than 300,000 total polygons and uses sharp and blurred reflections, area lights and shadows, procedural shaders, antialiasing, and much more. The result is given in points (pts). The higher the number, the faster your processor.

WinRar 5.0 Corporate Edition 64-bit

I always like to test any processor on compression and decompression benchmarks as one needs to use them on a daily basis knowingly or even unknowingly.

I chose WinRar 5.0 Corporate edition to compress and then decompress a 650MB file set composed of miscellaneous data types. The result was impressive and proved once again that the Broadwell is a competent architecture even on mobile devices.

Burnout Paradise Ultimate Box

Its one of my favorite racing games which are optimized for PC and has a very well structured environment with balanced particle density and shadows stressing the CPU and GPU equally to a considerable extent.

I ran it on high details with 720p resolution and the frames were more than I'd expected. This proves that the BRIX S is also a very good substitute for a mini gaming console as well.

Resident Evil 5

A third person shooter with cinematic screen ratio and up close shadows. Even the slightest of deformity is augmented in this game and hence it is worth testing on the BRIX S.

As usual I kept the details medium-high with a 720p resolution to obtain the same impressive score.

Crysis 2

Yes I know that you all are aware of my love for this series! I couldn't dare to run the punishing Crysis 3 on the BRIX S as I wanted to finish this review first and then maybe I'll give it a try. I chose Crysis 2 for the same reasons that its visually pleasing and PC optimized along with a staggering balance of resource utilization and stressing.

I kept the anti-analyzing option on at a 720p resolution with settings at ultra high and was stunned upon seeing how well the Gigabyte BRIX S was holding up.

Miscellaneous test

As the Gigabyte BRIX S GB-BXi3H-5010 comes with a dual core i3 5010U Broadwell processor so it deserves a run of severe multi-tasking in the real world scenario which I did by converting a 720p video along with copying a 5.5GB of fragmented file set from my thumb drive to SSD. Topping it up I kept a 7GB 1080P print of Avatar running on VLC media player and decompressing a 650MB .rar file, measuring everything with the Windows 8.1 task manager which itself takes around 12% of CPU usage.

There were no hick ups at all and I felt that I could do more with this but that would've made my screen look like a trash can from a mess what it already was wit hall those windows open for the screen shot!
If you are not through with these then do watch the video performance review that we did a few days back

Note: In all these tests the exhaust fan in the Gigabyte BRIX S ran very silent without any hissing or coiling sound at all and kept the temperature at an average of 50°C with a 35°C ambient temperature.
Only during the Crysis 2 run I recorded a 65°C spike which is still under the safe mark!
Also the power consumption never exceeded 32W even under maximum load.

My verdict

Challenging the essence of how we define a desktop PC, GIGABYTE engineers have developed an ultra-compact PC with a stylish glass surface chassis design. Ideal for a broad range of computing applications at home or in the office, the BRIX S expounds sheer simplicity and convenience at a lucrative price tag of just $265 and an enormous room for customizability with its barebone design. With a new and compact Haswell architecture based Intel i3 5010U processor, the BRIX S sets a new standard for desktop miniaturization that makes it perfect as a discreet HTPC/multimedia hub, a compact gaming station, an ultra-low power PC for the family, an office PC or as a digital signage unit. And di I mention that it comes with a 3 year domestic warranty from Gigabyte!
I give it a 10/10

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