Earlier this week, we reported that Gigabyte updated its BRIX mini-PC with fourth-generation Intel Core "Haswell" processors. Following that, a number of reports popped up talking about the BRIX II, stemming from hands-on impressions at the Intel Developer Forum conference in San Francisco. While the company doesn't specifically call this second-generation model "BRIX II" in its press release, that's the name it's displaying at the forum, and the name many reports are running with.
Based on a number of reports, the company was apparently displaying three BRIX form factors during the show, one of which was the officially refreshed flat 1.17 x 4.23 x 4.50 inch version featuring an mSATA connector. The second model was a bit taller to accommodate a 2.5 inch HDD, although the actual dimensions are currently still unknown. This expanded model will have the same four Haswell options: Intel Core i7-4500U, Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel Core i3-4010U or the Intel Celeron 2955U.
The third unannounced BRIX II unit on display was still relatively small (think Big Mac), but it was also more Gamecube-like than the other two HTPC versions in order to pack hardware for some (semi) serious PC gaming -- more so than the standard BRIX model, anyway. This model was even rather colorful, sporting a brilliant sports car Red with black accents, a sports car Yellow with black accents (seen above), and a third dull and boring Black (hey, some people like it simple).
Unlike the prior two models, this third, even larger model was labeled as the BRIX Series POCKET GAMING PC. But like the other two models, the device provided two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI output, a mini DisplayPort, and the power jack on the back. Two additional USB 3.0 ports and a headphones/SPDIF jack were on the front, and the power button resided on the black lid's bottom-right corner. This unit reportedly measured 4.5 inches squared.
What's inside this Gamecube-like boxy PC is unknown at this point (still digging around), and reports state that the colorful models on display were mere prototypes. However, the rig supposedly had Intel Iris Pro graphics inside, the chip giant's new integrated graphics brand starting with 5200, and was capable of playing GRID 2 in 1080p. Keep in mind that the new Haswell chips used in the refreshed BRIX HTPC models announced this week use an integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400 GPU. The Iris Pro Graphics 5200 used in Gigabyte's gaming rig is two steps above, and is supposedly comparable to Nvidia's GeForce GT 650M found in some high-end notebooks.
Reports claim that the BRIX gaming PC is slated for a November or December release with a starting price of $499 USD. The lowest spec will supposedly be an Intel i5 processor clocked up to 3.2 GHz, while other models will have a Core i5 CPU clocked up to 3.7 GHz or a Core i7 chip clocked up to 3.9 GHz. That suggests Gigabyte may be using desktop CPUs inside the box like the Core i7-4770R -- even the form factor hints to the possibility (just a guess).
As with the current models, BRIX owners will be required to supply their own memory, hard drive and operating system; the BRIX cost covers only the barebones system. So far Gigabyte still hasn't released official information regarding the new BRIX gaming PC, so stay tuned.