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Coming soon, Gigabyte Brix Pro, the most powerful mini-PC at Rs 51k

A prominent Bangalore-based e-retailer is planning to launch one of the most powerful mini PCs in the world, the Gigabyte Brix GB-BXi7-4770R, along with Zotac Zbox CI540.

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The Gigabyte Brix model is likely to be launched in the coming days, while the date for the launch of Zotac Zbox has not been firmed up, according to industry sources.

Zotac and Gigabyte are motherboard makers, but, like Intel, are now getting into the mini-PC business. Mini PCs are very small computers, and can easily be attached behind a computer monitor.

Intel has already launched its mini-PCs in India, but they are all built around low-voltage, low power versions of its latest chips.

However, the versions developed by the motherboard makers incorporate the full-fledged versions of the chips and are 2-4 times as powerful as the NUCs or Next Units of Computing that Intel has launched so far.

However, while the Intel NUCs are priced in the Rs 9,500-28,000 range, the Gigabyte Brix GB-BXi7-4770R will be priced at around Rs 51,000. It will incorporate the Intel Core i7-4770R processor, one of the most powerful processors out there.

For example, Intel’s most powerful chip in the NUC line-up, the i5-4250U, scores a total of 4600 in Geekbench 3 – which indicates that its performance is at about the halfway mark in terms of raw power among the latest chips in the PC industry.

In comparison, the Core i7-4770R, which powers the Gigabyte model, scores 15,000 using the same benchmark on the Brix machine. Part of the reason is that the i7 model is a quad-core chip, while the i5 model used in the Intel SUC is a dual-core chip. However, even in single core performance, the i5 scores only 2,450, while the i7-4770R scores 4,000.

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To put the scores in perspective, the most powerful ARM-based chip (ARM based chips are used in phones), the Tegra K1, has a single-core score of just 970 on Geekbench 3. Keep in mind that the K1 phones are not even available in the market yet.

If you are looking at the most powerful phone out there right now, that distinction belongs to the Sony Xperia Z2. The Z2 comes with a 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 801 chip and scores 960 in Geekbench 3. In multi-core tests, it scores 2658, or about one-sixth of what the quad-core i7 scores, and about 60% of what the Intel i5 NUC scores.

The long and short of it is that the Gigabyte Brix GB-BXi7-4770R is among the most powerful machines out there, and it achieves this while remaining in a 0.8 liter size. While the Gigabyte Brix does come with wifi, power adapter etc, you still have to buy separate RAM and a hard-disk for it. It does support ultra HD via HDMI and has built-in Bluetooth and comes with Intel Iris Pro graphics 5200. Worth Rs 52,000? Most people seem to think so, judging by the speed with which the model has been flying out of stock in the US.

The second model that may or may not make it to the Indian market in time is the ZOTAC Zbox CI540 nano. This one comes with the Intel dual-core Core i5 4210Y processor. Frankly, this is not very exciting, because the chip is actually less powerful than the Intel i5 NUC. Against the 4,600 Geekbench score for the Intel model, this one scores only 3,500 in the same tests.

At present, the options in the min-PC market are Intel NUC DN2820FYKH, priced at Rs 9,500; NUC D34010WYKH, priced at Rs 22,000; and NUC D54250WYKH, priced at Rs 28,000.

Also available are some ZOTAC Zboxes that come with very weak, old Atom and Celeron processors. One notable exception to the Zboxes available in India is ZOTAC-ZBOX-ID88-U, which comes with a decent i3 3220T processor. But the processor is third-generation Core i, and dates to 2012. The unit was available for Rs 29,700.

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