Overall and Final Verdict
I am completely in love with the idea of the Brix and other super small form factor PCs like the NUC. Looking back to past HTPC builds they are just ungodly huge compared to something like this. I’ve been using our NUC as a small server for our LAN Teamspeak for a while now in addition to other roles. So getting the chance to check out one of Gigabyte’s Brix models was exciting, especially an all AMD model. So how does it compare? Well Performance wise the Brix A8-5557 performed basically on par with our slightly older i3 NUC. I would obviously prefer to see it out perform it but the model Gigabyte sent is an older model. What is exciting though is our NUC is great to work on and with the Brix performing on par with that means you shouldn’t expect any issues using this for standard computing, watching movies, and playing some lighter games. Really that is all you need unless you are a hardcore gamer anyhow.
The Brix was a little larger than our NUC but the taller design did make room for an additional 2.5 inch drive bay where the NUC only supports a single mSATA drive. This means you can install a nice SSD in the Brix and then a decent 1.5 inch hard drive to store all of your movies and TV shows if using this as an HTPC. The built in/included VESA mount is also a nice option letting you mount your PC to the back of your monitor or your HTPC to the back of your TV.
There were a few downsides. The biggest being the cooling performance. Given the size of the heatsink I was expecting it to run cooler but when pushed I was able to heat it up to 83 degrees Celsius. The large heatsink also makes the Brix a surprisingly heavy tiny little box. I was a little concerned about VESA mounting but I realized that your monitors/TVs hang from the same mounts and they weigh more so it shouldn’t be an issue.
So where does the Brix A8-5557 pan out in the end? Well I really like the price point. At under $250 it comes in less than a lot of the Mini PCs available especially when compared to Gigabyte’s Intel models and Intel’s NUCs. With 8 gigs of ram and a decent sized SSD you can be rolling at just over $370 assuming you have a copy of windows to use. That isn’t bad for a full PC for HTPC use or as a tiny PC that won’t get in the way for your parents. I know we will be putting the Brix to use with our projectors at the LANs, the tiny form factor and good performance are a perfect fit.
Amazon link: HERE