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Gigabyte BRIX: DIY PC

You can mix-n-match  memory and storage to  custom-build your own ultra compact PC

 Bangalore, July 6 2015: In an earlier era, Dell pioneered  the concept of custom-built PCs  where  you chose a combo of memory, storage, operating system, monitor size -- and they  assembled and shipped the PC to your specification.  Alas, those  days have gone,  to be replaced by a new take-it-or-leave-it  era of limited  choices.  If off -the-shelf  PC options don't please you, there is only one way out: Grab a screw driver and Do It Yourself (DIY).   In the bargain you can build a lean, green and  fanless  compute machine, tailored to your needs  --   and so compact, you can stick it on  the back of your monitor.

Intel  has made this route popular by creating what it calls the Next Unit of Computing or NUC PC  -- a kit-form  ultra compact   PC  which you can configure and assemble. 

Possibly the  biggest name in such compact PCs is the Taiwan-based  Gigabyte, whose  BRIX range of  DIY options is one of the widest in the industry.  They have  just launched 3 models in India -- and I have been tinkering with two of them for a week now.

The BRIX  PC kits come  in a  handy   palm-sized case which  is full fledged PC -- with a choice of  processor, WiFi  antenna,  power cable and   pin-outs   for USB3, HDMI, mini display port, headphone  and ethernet. The bracket to mount the box on the back of a monitor is also provided.  What you need to buy and install is  the  DDR3 memory  -- up to 8GB --and   either  Hard  Disk Drive or Solid State Drive in 2.5 inch size  or one of the new mSATA drives  up to 1 TB.  The display drivers are provided in a CD  but you have to  provide the  operating system. If you load Windows 8.1 now, you can soon upgrade it  for free to Window 10. Otherwise you can opt  for one of the free Linux flavours. I had my  assembled BRIX,  up and ready in 15 minutes. But it takes another hour to load the OS from the installation CD.

Once you remove  four screws and remove the cover, it is fairly easy to mount the   HDD, SSD or mSATA  disk drive  and insert the memory modules into one or both slots provided.  You will need to attach an external  DVD/CD drive to the USB port to load the  OS of your choice.... and  find a suitable display. Extremely light HD displays can be had for  less than Rs 5000. By my rough calculation,  a 500 GB SSD drive and 4 GB of memory will set you back around Rs 15,000 and the Windows 8 OS will  cost around Rs 7000.

The entry level  GB-BXBT-2807  BRIX costs Rs 10,500, while the GB-BXi3H-5010  and  GB-BXi5H-5200 are priced  Rs 23,000 and Rs 32,000 respectively. The difference is in the processor  which ranges from basic Celeron to  Intel  Core 5  with  graphics.  Even the basic  model supports  full HD displays while the  two pricier models  support 4K- UHD. Indeed, there are hardly any  ready made PCs yet, that are 4K ready -- and if you own a 4K TV set,  the BRIX might be the only practical  way to  feed your   home theatre with UHD content.   I think the true strength of  this DIY PC might be as a home multimedia hub: it  can drive two displays at the same time.

Spec for spec,  the Gigabyte PC kits may end up costing more for a complete system than  many off -the- shelf PCs. But  for the little more you pay, you get something tailored to your needs. The envious  taalis you earn when you casually tell your friends , "I built  it myself" -- well, that's  a bonus! --Anand  Parthasarathy



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Gigabyte BRIX: DIY PC
by Bob on October  22,  2015
  "(Personal Computers) Fantastic design. The only real dfnifrecee you'll notice if you hold it next to a Macbook Air is that the edges are less rounded.High pledge. 1600 900 is brilliant for a notebook, especially with a 13 screen. (Note: this is privileged than the Macbook Air pledge, which I believe is 1440 900)I'm running IIS, ColdFusion server, SQL Server, MySQL, Visual Studio, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Media Player, and a few web browsers all at the same time and everything still runs smoothly. I needed LOTS of power in a apparatus small enough to comfortably travel with and this notebook is perfect.Notebook turns on pretty much instantly.Small power adapter just like an iPad charger but slightly larger.Cons: When I use the touchpad, I use two hands, and sometimes when I click with my left hand while another finger is on it, it thinks I'm trying to go the cursor down and left. You can, but, push down anywhere on the touchpad to click / drag. (Note that I despise using all touchpads in general anyway.)You have to use the Fn key to use home/end/pg up/pg down. I use the Home and End keys a lot, and they could have straightforwardly made them seperate keys rather than making you use Fn+left arrow and Fn+Right arrow. This probably isn't a huge deal for most people.You have to buy a micro-HDMI to HDMI adapter seperately. (It's only a few bucks, though.)Here's no microphone input, but this isn't a huge deal for me since my headset is USB.Other Thoughts: I had been wanting a upset like this for a while: basically a MacBook Air, but PC. I didn't get a MacBook Air because I can't get any work done on it it would end up just life a toy . This laptop fit my needs perfectly. Here are some minor improvements that could be made, but nothing major, no deal breakers.Since the design and size is nearly exactly the same as a Macbook Air, you can probably just buy a Macbook Air case to carry it around.I'm so glad I bought this no need to drag my ultra-heavy 17 monster laptop around anymore."
Gigabyte BRIX: DIY PC
by Stormy on March  13,  2017
  "Maybe you can deliver the pies to the boardroom sometime.. start selling to cooropatirns !! Would love to walk into a meeting and see one of your pies as the treat for attending the meeting!"