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Friday, 28 February 2014 09:33

AMD powered Gigabyte Brix reviewed

Written by Peter Scott


 
Doesn’t exactly outNUC the NUC

Gigabyte recently introduced the first AMD-based Brix mini PC, which is basically Gigabyte’s take on the Intel NUC. It’s based on the A8-5545M APU clocked at 1.7GHz, but it also happens to pack a quite powerful Radeon HD 8510G with 384 VLIW4 cores.  We talked about it here.

The AMD-based Brix is now shipping and it costs about €250 in Europe, on top of which you’ll have to invest in an mSATA drive, some memory and a few other bits. Computershopper.com got hold of a retail sample and it put it through its paces. The tests revealed that the CPU can’t match Ivy Bridge Core i3 parts used in last year’s NUC, but it does put up a good fight in graphics benchmarks.

In 3DMark 11 it beats the Core i3 3217U by a factor of 2 to 1 and it matches the much pricier Haswell Core i5 based NUCs. In Aliens vs. Predator it beats even the Haswell Core i5, but Intel pulls ahead in Heaven. Not bad for a €250 barebone, as it can hold its own against much pricier Intel based systems in GPU tests. In the CPU department it can’t.

gigabyte-brix-amd

 

However, as computershopper points out – neither system will let you run the latest games at anything resembling smooth frame rates. On the other hand, some golden oldies should have no trouble running on its 384-core GPU, so for some people it might be a better choice than a cheap mini PC based on Core i3 3xxx parts.

The biggest complaint is that it can get quite noisy under load, since it is cooled by a tiny blower fan and it needs a lot of airflow when the APU is maxed out.

Too bad there aren’t any ULV Kaveri parts around, but we’ll see them later this year. AMD thinks it can gain a foothold in the mini PC market thanks to superior graphics on budget parts and we believe it can, that's why we're keeping our eyes peeled for AMD-based products in this niche. To make it all happen, AMD has to get enough hardware partners on board, of course.

Peter Scott

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