PC gaming has been trying to conquer the couch for a few years now. But none of them have really cracked it. Still, the Gigabyte Brix II is coming close.
Power In A Tiny Package
Gaming PCs are, of course, all about horsepower, and the Gigabyte Brix is no exception. In fact, the entire line has just been refreshed with Haswell processors, which is quite an achievement considering how tiny these little guys are; just 4.5 inches on a side. They also have plenty of ports: HDMI, MDP, four USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet port, and even a headphone jack in the front.
There are, however, a few catches that you should be aware of, and that might make this less than ideal for some gamers.
Integrated Graphics, and BYOHD
First off, you don’t get to install your own graphics card; instead you’ll have to rely on Intel’s integrated graphics, Iris, which Intel says can rival the GeForce GT 650M in power. If that’s not a good benchmark, this thing can play Crysis 3, albeit not at full graphical power.
Secondly, this is a party where you bring your own components; you’ll need to provide the hard drive, the operating system, and the RAM. Considering that you’re going to pay between $500 and $600 just for the Brix, that kind of puts you in a bit of a spot.
Not Quite A Steam Box, But Close
Still, we have to admit that, so far, this is the closest we’ve gotten to the dream of having a simple to use gaming PC sitting underneath the TV, or perhaps attached to it via a bracket. Valve doesn’t seem to be talking about the Steam Box just yet, and we may never really see what they’re up to with that particular item. So, if you want to play games on your TV with a PC, the Brix II seems the best bet: It starts shipping in December.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.