Gigabyte Brix Pro

Gigabyte Brix Pro: You don't need no steenkin' Xbox... when you have 4K-ing amazing graphics

Right? Core i7 paperweight with Intel Iris Pro 5200 graphics

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Body odour?

Lucy tells me the Brix Pro did start to give off a whiff like it was overheating, but she was trying to murder it with hours of high settings gameplay, but then again, isn't that its raison d'être? At one point I did get a brief waft of the acrid tang of sizzling circuit board, but on the whole – even during the more arduous benchmarking tasks – the Brix Pro kept any smells to itself, although it could get quite noisy.

Gigabyte Brix Pro

For barebones buyers, undo four screws and you're in

Since Lucy’s gaming tests, Intel has released an Iris Pro update which deals with some artefacts experienced although none of the games that she ran were mentioned in the revision history, but no doubt some fixes are covered there. Lest we forget the tweaks available from the Iris Graphics Control Panel. This could involve a fair bit of trial and error to deal with quirks, but you might get lucky.

This is all well and good if you’re running Windows, but those installing Linux are catered for too. SteamOS is based on Debian (Linux kernel) and Intel is certainly keen to see the Steam Machine market flourish and with it, demand for its compact chippery. Incidentally, AMD also features on the approved Steam Machine hardware list. Over to Lucy...

Gigabyte Brix Pro

Gigabit Ethernet, but for wireless users 802.11ac is supported along with Bluetooth 4.0

Gigabyte gaming

On opening the box I can't believe the size of the Brix Pro – it's so petite I can't fathom how this tiny box holds a desktop Core i7. My rig has a Core i7 too, but with a fan larger than this ultra compact PC.

Starting it up, I saw the operating system installed was Windows 8.1 and my heart sank, but soon enough I had loaded Steam onto it, so I could install Rome 2 and Men of War: Assault Squad 2 (MoW AS2) as I intended to give it an RTS workout. I also installed The Elder Scrolls Online (ESOL), as it's the game I'm burning hours in at the moment. You can run as many benchmarks as you want but all I needed to know was whether it would play my favourite games as well as I wanted it to. The answer is: yes, but some things could be better.

Gigabyte Brix Pro

The pre-loaded Brix Pro has a tamper strip to show who's been fiddling

Consoles can't run RTS games like Rome 2 so this was a baptism of fire. The fan started going doolally immediately and I swear after two minutes I can smell the Core i7 CPU burning, but everything looks good on high settings running at a constant 30fps. Preparing for battle in a beautiful snowscape, the only erroneous artefacts are some strange polygons on the trees as I zoom past my troops.

Still in beta as I write, MoW AS2 looks handsome and runs surprisingly well on high settings with no anti-aliasing at 40-50fps. I am almost immersed by the smell and heat of blowing up tanks on the fields of Normandy when I realise, oh no, that's the Brix about to explode like my very own doodlebug. Gratefully, there were no strange looking artefacts in this game, unlike almost all of the others I tried.

I am in love with the aesthetic of The Elder Scrolls and the world of Tamiril and it is rendered beautifully at medium to high settings running at 30fps. The lush landscape and water all stay visually true to form and the only erroneous artefact is a strange pinprick dissolve as objects move past each other which was not visible on the other two machines I have previously played on.

Don't Starve is among the titles showing some image artefacts

Don't Starve is among the titles tested showing some image artefacts

Don't Starve: Reign of Giants looked the strangest of all, with the background and the loading screens looking terribly pixelated but the characters looking razor-sharp, all the better to see my Werebeaver in action.

Evidently, the Brix Pro seems to have some inconsistent image quality issues, but that said, the Intel Iris Pro 5200 is pretty fast as frame times are adequate and relatively consistent. Indeed, the Brix Pro does a commendable job on the latest games but in doing so sounds like a outboard motor as soon as it's put under any stress. This wouldn't be so bad if it was keeping the processor cool but it's not. I almost expected to see it glowing as Brix Pro's Core i7-4770R hit 100°C.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Next page: Counting the cost

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Dragon Age Inquisition: Our chief weapons are...
Bioware's fantasy forces in fine fettle
prev story


Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.