Gigabyte's Brix mini PC refreshed with Skylake and Thunderbolt 3

External discrete graphics now an option

Gigabyte Brix PCs will come with Skylake

Intel isn't the only one to give its mini PCs a Skylake refresh at CES 2016. Gigabyte also announced that its Brix miniature desktops will now ship with Intel's sixth generation Skylake processors, giving them improved processing and graphics performance.

Gigabyte's Brix mini PCs come in a form factor about the size of Apple's Mac Mini, like Intel's newly upgraded NUC PCs, and will be available in Core i3, i5 or i7 configurations. The configurations will feature Intel's integrated HD Graphics 520.

The Brix will support M.2 form factor solid state drives for storage, and connectivity options include HDMI, USB 3.0 ports, DisplayPort and Gigabit LAN. Gigabyte said that the Brix can drive up to three displays simultaneously. Some Brix configurations will also support 2.5-inch drives for more flexible storage.

Thunderbolt 3 on-board

Like Intel's plans for a NUC PC with Thunderbolt 3 support, Gigabyte will also include the Thunderbolt 3 over USB-C connector on a high-end configuration of the Brix.

This allows for expandability, like the ability to add an external discrete graphics box. The solution may make the mini desktop form factor attractive to gamers or workstation users who need discrete graphics, but want a smaller PC package.

The Thunderbolt 3 port will enable features like "Power Delivery 2.0 for fast charging of external devices, daisy chaining of up to 12 devices and with support for DisplayPort 1.2 capable of handling 4K monitors," Gigabyte said in a statement.

The port will be available on the GB-BSi7T-6500 and the GB-BSi5T-6200 models.

The Brix PC can also be mounted behind a monitor with a VESA mounting brackup to further save space on a desk. Mounting the Brix to the rear of a monitor will allow business users to create a modular and serviceable all-in-one desktop PC, similar to Lenovo's Tiny PC line.

Gigabyte did not provide pricing and availability information.

In addition the Brix, Gigabyte also announced that Intel's Xeon E3-1200 v5 processors will be coming to its motherboards.

Gigabyte's GA-X150-PLUS WS (ATX form factor), GA-X150M-PLUS WS (Micro-ATX form factor) and GA-X170-Extreme ECC desktop motherboards with the Xeon processor will be targeted for content creation, video, gaming and design work.

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