Gigabyte Brix Pro Review – GB-BXi7-4770R

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Gigabyte Brix Pro Review – GB-BXi7-4770R

Postby Apoptosis » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:35 am

We first saw the Gigabyte Brix Pro Ultra Compact PC Kit in September 2013 at the Intel Developer Forum and instantly fell in love with the pint-sized system due to the hardware inside. Gigabyte managed to fit the Intel Core i7-4770R 3.9GHz quad-core processor along with Intel’s powerful new Iris Pro 5200 integrated graphics in a form factor that is just 62 x 111.4 x 114.4 mm or 0.79 Liters in size. We recently got our hands on the Gigabyte Brix Pro GB-BXi7-4770R, which is the flagship model that runs $649.99 plus shipping if you are lucky and can find a retailer that isn’t out of stock at the moment...


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Article Title: Gigabyte Brix Pro Review – GB-BXi7-4770R
Article URL: http://www.legitreviews.com/gigabyte-br ... iew_136711
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Re: Gigabyte Brix Pro Review – GB-BXi7-4770R

Postby kenc51 » Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:44 pm

Now I'm glad I didn't go with a higher end model.

I got the Birx "GB-XM12-3227" which runs on a 3rd gen Intel i3-3227U @ 1.9GHz and use it mostly for a HTPC
I paired it with an intel 530 120gb msata drive and 8GB of RAM (I like to use vmware)
The system is connected to my 32" plasma in my living room using hdmi and the vesa mount and is inaudible under normal use (HD playback etc)
I run it 24/7 and don't have to worry about power use.
I've a 2TB NAS for external storage (a 16TB upgrade otw), all shared using minidlna to my TV and can use my phone/tablet to remotely access the brix to start/stop downloads, run system updates etc via a ssh tunnel. I rarely need to switch to the linux desktop.I do use it as a PC, it's just that my "PC usage" differs from most.
You might think it's an expensive media streamer, but I tend to live in SHH on the command line with VM's of BSD and various *Nix builds (low'ish system requirements) 8-[

IMO the GB-XM12-3227 is all you need if you're not a gamer - half the price, 1/3 the size & power use and extremely small.
The only issue is 2x USB3 ports and no audio out - except via HDMI - easily fixed
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Re: Gigabyte Brix Pro Review – GB-BXi7-4770R

Postby Apoptosis » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:50 am

Sounds like you are enjoying the Brix! how much was the total build cost?

The 2x USB 3.0 ports would be a PITA, but there is where this comes in - http://www.legitreviews.com/satechi-10- ... eview_2163
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Re: Gigabyte Brix Pro Review – GB-BXi7-4770R

Postby kenc51 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:01 am

Apoptosis wrote:Sounds like you are enjoying the Brix! how much was the total build cost?

The 2x USB 3.0 ports would be a PITA, but there is where this comes in - http://www.legitreviews.com/satechi-10- ... eview_2163


All in; about €350 or so for the Brix, ram, SSD & wireless keyboard and mouse. I didn't need an OS or monitor. I only wish I got a bigger SSD, but I got a promotion a while back so will sort that out next month :-)

That hub looks perfect for my needs, need to check prices in Europe.
I also miss gaming, so a more powerful rig for the spare room is next.



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Re: Gigabyte Brix Pro Review – GB-BXi7-4770R

Postby oviano » Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:39 am

Thanks for the review.

I got one of these a few weeks ago and am pretty happy with it.

Noise is a bit of a problem at load, but actually I don't really need the very top speed so I used the Windows Power Options to turn down the processing to 80% min and max. This made a huge difference to the fan speed and noise and doesn't inhibit the performance too much. Also used XTU to undervolt by -0.25mv for a little bit of extra reduction in heat/noise. Another option would be to disable Turbo Boost in the BIOS.

Got a question about the RAM though - I purchased the same G-Skill RAM kit after reading this review but it showed up as running at 1866, not 2133. I had to go into the BIOS to enable manual DRAM frequency and set the frequency to match the RAM, as version F3 of the BIOS now allows. Is this what the reviewer did? Does it matter that it didn't set it to 2133 automatically and that I had to do this? Pardon me if that sounds ignorant but I'm still learning a lot of this, I just wanted to eek out the best possible performance hence buying the new RAM.

It seems stable from what I can tell, and AIDA64 now shows it as running at 2133, so I assume that is ok? If it wasn't capable of running at that RAM speed, then am I right in thinking it simply wouldn't have booted (or given me the option in the BIOS)?

According to the specs on Gigabyte's page it says it supports 1333/1600 RAM, but the review states 2133, why would that be?
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Re: Gigabyte Brix Pro Review – GB-BXi7-4770R

Postby Apoptosis » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:03 am

oviano wrote:Got a question about the RAM though - I purchased the same G-Skill RAM kit after reading this review but it showed up as running at 1866, not 2133. I had to go into the BIOS to enable manual DRAM frequency and set the frequency to match the RAM, as version F3 of the BIOS now allows. Is this what the reviewer did? Does it matter that it didn't set it to 2133 automatically and that I had to do this? Pardon me if that sounds ignorant but I'm still learning a lot of this, I just wanted to eek out the best possible performance hence buying the new RAM.

It seems stable from what I can tell, and AIDA64 now shows it as running at 2133, so I assume that is ok? If it wasn't capable of running at that RAM speed, then am I right in thinking it simply wouldn't have booted (or given me the option in the BIOS)?

According to the specs on Gigabyte's page it says it supports 1333/1600 RAM, but the review states 2133, why would that be?


Great questions and I hope I can help. Intel officially supports DDR3L-1333/1600 memory - http://ark.intel.com/products/76642/Int ... o-3_90-GHz

Gigabyte also uses this as that is the official support that is guaranteed to work. Gigabyte has allowed memory overclocking through allowing higher memory multipliers in the UEFI. Gigabyte is offering this to prosumers and enthusiasts that are looking to overclock, but it isn't officially supported if that makes sense. UEFI version F2 and older supported up to 1866MHz and the new F3 UEFI adds support for 2133MHz support due to demand from users and the fact it can easily run it. You'll have to go into the UEFI and manually adjust the memory clock speed as you need to raise it beyond specifications. I ran 2133Mhz memory for the review as I wanted to get the full potential form the system. There are no CPU overclocking features on the GB-BXi7-4770R as the CPU cooler isn't able to handle the heat from the 4770R as it is and overclocking would make it worse. Undervolting the CPU or limiting the max load like you did is a good move to reduce noise!
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Re: Gigabyte Brix Pro Review – GB-BXi7-4770R

Postby oviano » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:12 am

Thankyou very much for taking the trouble to reply. I'll be sure to update this thread with any issues I come across after using the faster RAM for a longer period of time.

Generally what sort of thing happens if the memory is 'too fast' though? Is it general instability, BSOD, freezing, or once it boots up and shows the faster RAM speed is that the main hurdle overcome?

As far as the slowing down the speed of the processor goes I have to be honest and say I was ready to give up on this PC due to the noise, and reading around the various forums and reviews I'm not alone, but tweaking can make a really big difference on this occasion if you don't mind sacrificing a relatively small amount of power.

They perhaps could have made the device a few CM taller maybe and had less of these problems - it does feel a little bit like they've strapped a rocket to a kids buggy.
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Re: Gigabyte Brix Pro Review – GB-BXi7-4770R

Postby Apoptosis » Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:25 am

It is a shame that there was confusion on how many watts the CPU Cooler should have been rated to handle. From what I gather the folks at Gigabyte designed it to handle a 65W Max TDP processor, but the 4770R sustains 65W and can go up to 85W to some scenarios. That means the CPU cooler is underrated and thus the processor runs at 100C, throttles and the fan is screaming under full load operations. Besides what you are already doing I'd suggest disabling the processors Turbo mode in the BIOS. Gigabyte told me when I was doing the review and expressed my concerns to them that this is the best way to reduce heat and fan noise. I hope in the future that Intel/Gigabyte better communicate and share the proper information. Gigabyte could easily extend the chassis by another 20mm or so, but then that would mean they would have to admit there is a problem. Usually companies don't like to do that.

Update: I just the Brix Pro Beta BIOS 4d that was released minutes ago... It is supposed to fix some of the heat issues... I'm trying to find out exactly what that means now.

brix-bios.png
brix-bios.png (8.46 KiB) Viewed 1279 times


As for the memory... It should be stable, but you can always run MemTest86+ if you are concerned about stability issues. My system and memory kit are error free at 2133MHz and I know several running at 2133MHz without issue.
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Re: Gigabyte Brix Pro Review – GB-BXi7-4770R

Postby oviano » Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:37 am

Great, many thanks.

Re: Turbo Boost - I found that once I set a min and max processor percentage in Power Options that it disabled Turbo Boost anyway - I assume that is what it did because the percentage I put in essentially set an upper limit on the processor speed, and even at 90% it set it below 3.2ghz.

Look forward to seeing/hearing what the new BIOS does anyway.
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Re: Gigabyte Brix Pro Review – GB-BXi7-4770R

Postby oviano » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:18 am

I'm curious as to how you got on with the new BIOS, Apoptosis?
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Re: Gigabyte Brix Pro Review – GB-BXi7-4770R

Postby Apoptosis » Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:38 am

I have it installed:

f4d.jpg
f4d.jpg (51.2 KiB) Viewed 1191 times


It does appear to be quieter at idle, but the default UEFI settings appear to be different.

f4d-uefi-bios.jpg


Here are the changes that I see:

cfg-lock.jpg


An option to disable CFG Lock has been put into advanced CPU settings.

performance-mod.jpg


There is also a performance mode setting that has been added under chipset settings. This mode has 'operation' and 'turbo' as the settings. Operational performance mode is the new default setting.

health-status.jpg


On UEFI F3 I was getting 77C at idle with 2327RPM... Now on F4D it is 71C at 1928RPM, so things are a bit cooler and quieter... I still need to take the time to look back at performance.
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Re: Gigabyte Brix Pro Review – GB-BXi7-4770R

Postby oviano » Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:01 am

Great, thanks for that.

So I'm guessing that the "Operation Mode" must be making it behave more conservatively at idle or something, whereas maybe previously it was just using "Turbo Mode".....maybe, wild guesses....

Is it any different at load? I wasn't too bothered with its noise at idle but it was getting pretty noisy at even 20-30% load, However, after reducing the processor performance in Power Options to 80%, it is now much quieter at even 30-50% load....oh well I guess when they get around to releasing this version I can answer all that myself :)
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