Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) platform has become more popular in the last few years as Intel's SoCs have become more optimized for the form factor. Intel doesn't shut the door on other vendors when it comes to its NUC designs, and everything from the Compute Stick to the cube-shaped NUCs have been re-designed and improved upon by Intel's partners. GIGABYTE's BRIX lineup has been around for many generations, offering the latest Intel SoCs, in compact and elegant systems.
The BRIX BSi7H-6500 is a barebones PC; memory, storage, and OS are not present and will need to be provided and installed by the user. It offers more customization abilities and a lower price than a fully built system, but also requires the user to install the parts, which is very easy to do. The GIGABYTE BRIX is targeted towards the consumer and even to business, particularly when a compact form factor is desired.
To avoid the productivity bottleneck that many small form factor systems (including notebooks) introduce, products like the BRIX BSi7H-6500 offer the latest in SoC/CPU performance coupled with flash storage advantages. Configured correctly, the BRIX BSi7H-6500 can provide performance that would make it indistinguishable from a full-tower PC. This review will not only explore all aspects of GIGABYTE's latest BRIX mini-PC but also offer an indirect performance comparison between the Intel Broadwell i7-5500U and the new Skylake i7-6500U.
The unit is a little more than half a liter (0.629L) in volume and offers the ability to install a 2.5-inch HDD or SSD for larger capacity storage. It is powered by an Intel Core i7 6500U, a 2core/4thread CPU with 4MB of L3 cache, a 2.5GHz base clock with a 3.1GHz Turbo, and a 15W TDP. The SoC features Intel's new HD Graphics 520 which supports both HDMI 1.4a (4K @ 24Hz) and DisplayPort 1.2 (4K @ 60Hz), DirectX 12, and up to three displays. The BRIX will support up to 16GB of DDR3L through two SO-DIMMs.
The i7-6500U SoC also supports PCI-E 3.0 expansion with a maximum of 12 PCI-E lanes, and it is based on the 14nm process just as other Skylake based Intel devices. GIGABYTE has installed an Intel dual-band Wireless-AC 3165 module and an Intel i219v for both wireless and wired Intel-based networking. Instead of mSATA support, GIGABYTE has switched to providing an M.2 slot for storage along with an SATA connector for a 2.5-inch drive. The device is also fully Windows 10 ready.
The BRIX BSi7H-6500 costs $529.99 which isn't a drop in the bucket by any means considering you still need to purchase the OS, memory, and storage.
PRICING: You can find the GIGABYTE BRIX Skylake BSi7H-6500 Ultra Compact PC for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
United States: The GIGABYTE BRIX Skylake BSi7H-6500 Ultra Compact PC retails for $530 at Amazon.
United Kingdom: The GIGABYTE BRIX Skylake BSi7H-6500 Ultra Compact PC retails for £440 at Amazon UK.
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