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GIGABYTE BRIX BXi7H-5500 Ultra Compact Mini PC Review

By: Steven Bassiri | SFF PCs in Computer Systems | Posted: Mar 30, 2015 2:12 pm
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

The Teardown




Removing the PCB from the case is quite simple; however, no end-user should need to do this. I also disassembled the case to reveal the NFC controller and the antennas for the Wi-Fi/BT.




Here you can get a glimpse of the blower fan and the fan removed from the PCB. This setup is basically identical to the Intel NUC I reviewed about a month ago. The CPU used in the BRIX trades one graphics core for extra CPU horsepower and cache, when compared to the NUC's CPU, but both CPUs have the same TDP of 15W.




Here is the side of the PCB with the interesting stuff. Intel's i7 5500u is an exciting chip featuring Intel's latest Broadwell microarchitecture. The i7 5500u can turbo to 3GHz, it has two cores with four threads (resulting from hyper threading), it offers two HD graphics cores (Intel HD5500), and its PCH supports four USB 3.0 and a few SATA 6G ports.




On the left is a bunch of chips used to provide power to the onboard devices like the CPU and memory. The NCP81110 is a single phase PWM+drivers+MOSFETs with the VRD12.6 standard for Broadwell; it powers the CPU. There are three GSTek GS9238 (two shown here), which are 8A buck converters used to power the memory and PCH. On the right we have the Texas Instruments' TSP51363, which is a 22v at 8A DC/DC converter that is responsible for handling all of the power that comes into the BRIX. This converter is a critical part when it comes to power delivery, and the choice of the Texas Instruments part is sound.




This is Intel's Wireless AC 3160 Dual Band Wi-Fi/BT card that supports Wireless AC to 867Mb/s. It is in the small M.2 form factor, and we will see how it performs later in our review.




This Smart-Approach NFC controller uses a NXP chip for NFC. The Realtek ALC283 is used for audio.




The Realtek RT8111G is used for the GBit LAN port, and the IT8773FN is the Super I/O in charge of monitoring and controlling temperature and voltage.




A single 64Mbit/8MB BIOS ROM is used for the UEFI, and this NXP P3366 is a level shifter for the HDMI port.

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