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Leonard L.

Leonard L.

Joined on 02/09/01

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Product Reviews
product reviews
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Most Favorable Review

Highest power density available, at a cost

GIGABYTE GB-BXi5G-760 Intel HM87 Barebone
GIGABYTE GB-BXi5G-760 Intel HM87 Barebone

Pros: By far the smallest volume package for what essentially is high-end gaming laptop's guts folded into a slightly-bigger than NUC form factor. If you need a powerful GPU in the smallest size available, this packs in just about everything you'd need/want at both a fraction of the volume and price of an equivalently powerful gaming laptop. It has internal capacity both for an mSATA SSD and a 2.5" drive. It is Linux and Hackintosh friendly.

Cons: I was a bit skeptical of the power/heat situation before purchase. The advertising copy claims this is a desktop GTX 760, which consumes 170W by itself (this unit comes w/ a large/flat external 180W power supply). Turns out that the GPU is an 870M w/ a GK104M and a power rating of 100W. It actually manages to do pretty well on cooling, and in running it through it's paces I've been able to sustain an 875MHz clock on the GPU w/ minimal throttling (it is thermal limited to throttle automatically above 92/93C). Of course, this is in "Turbo" mode, where the fans sound like a tiny jet engine, so there's the tradeoff. In (BIOS default) "Normal" mode fan noise is reasonable, but throttling presumably will happen much more often.

Overall Review: You're paying a pretty high premium for the smallest possible form factor available. The closest SFF competitors (Zotac EN760, soon to be released Alienware Alpha, ROG GR8) are all at least twice the volume. Mini-ITX is a whole different universe in terms of size (10L+). If you need/want a good GPU in a close to NUC size, this is it. While I'm impressed by the ability to mostly handle the 100W 870M part, I can't help but think that a 60W 750Ti or 45W 860M (Maxwell parts) would have been a better tradeoff... Still, I hope this and these other ultra-SFF systems sell well - this form factor w/ 14nm Broadwell and 20/16nm Maxwell would be amazing.