As a fan of computers made for industrial environments, I’ve always loved the idea of a fully silent computer with no moving parts. We’ve come close in the past with many low-power processor designs and architectures but many of these still created enough heat and consumed enough power to require active cooling (cough *Intel Atom* cough), which didn’t help to reduce the amount of things that could break.
With SSDs still not being mainstream enough by the time that low-power computing became a real concern for Intel, IT professionals and network admins still had a lot of work on their hands, dragging out machines every now and then for a clean or a hardware replacement due to overheats and moisture build-up. Well, Gigabyte and Intel are trying to avoid that with the Bay Trail BRIX, which contains no moving parts whatsoever.
The BRIX GB-BXBT-2807 is a first for Gigabyte, as it’s using Intel’s new Celeron N2807 SoC (System-on-Chip). The chip is a dual-core processor on the 22-nanometer production process using the Bay Trail architecture with support for out-of-order executions, making it very similar to AMD’s Bobcat designs. It starts off with a clock speed of 1.57GHz, boosting up to 2.17GHz when needed, with Intel HD graphics built-in.
The SoC itself contains all the logic previously found on the North and South Bridges and is rated for a TDP (thermal design power) of just 4.3W. Total system power, with a full compliment of components, should max out at just 25W.
Inside the chassis, the processor is cooled by a giant passive aluminium heatsink. There’s a single SO-DIMM memory slot supporting up to 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory and a mini PCI-E slot for wireless cards. Curiously there’s no mSATA port, ostensibly to keep system costs down and to make the unit as cheap as possible. There’s a single D-SUB port for VGA monitors, one front-panel USB 3.0 port, two rear-facing USB 2.0 ports, HDMI 1.4a, gigabit ethernet and stereo audio courtesy of Realtek.
There are VESA mounts on the bottom of the chassis and one SATA 3GB/s port is available on the board.
If you were looking into computers as capable as these ones, it makes sense to put a SSD in here as well. Not only would it help to resolve any idle downtime from waiting on a slow-ass 2.5-inch mechanical hard drive, it would also drop power usage considerably. These units are also more catered for work purposes than any kind of gaming capability, although it should be comfortably capable of playing many of the lighter indie titles available for the PC platform.
Would you like some Broken Age or Plants Vs Zombies in your coffee break?