The Gigabyte BRIX S is our first access to a full Broadwell-U processor, and so I was very curious to see how it performed against our previous small form factor designs. The review unit is being compared to the our Intel NUC device based on a 15 watt Haswell CPU (dual core) along with a handful of Ultrabook hardware platforms running all the way back to Sandy Bridge. AMD is represented in its lower power segments by Kabini and the aging Trinity.
The most important comparison is still the Gigabyte BRIX with Broadwell and the Intel NUC with Haswell. In our synthetic CPU results, the Core i7-5500U is about 26% faster than the Core i5-4250U. Memory bandwidth remains unchanged between the two platforms (all the way back to Sandy Bridge really) but multimedia synthetic performance again shows a 26% advantage for Intel's 14nm Broadwell solution.
Our Cinebench results show gains for Broadwell in both single threaded and multi-threaded testing. Using just a single thread of the four available (dual-core, HyperThreaded), the Core i7-5500U is 20% faster than the Core i5-4250U. Switching to the multi-threaded capable test results in an advantage of 33% for Broadwell. Note that the 15 watt TDP Core i7-5500U is actually faster than the 100 watt TDP AMD A10-5800K from 2012!
Our Handbrake media encoding tests result in a performance advantage of 30% for the BRIX with Broadwell compared to the Intel NUC using Haswell's Core i5-4250U.
Our final CPU performance tests using the x264 HD benchmark show a 25% and 29% performance edge for Broadwell compared to Haswell in our SFF testing.
For a quick look at 3D graphics performance of Broadwell we'll compare the Core i7-5500U to the Core i5-4250U using 3DMark. Keep in mind that that Core i7-5500U uses Intel HD Graphics 5500 while the Core i5-4250U has HD Graphics 4400. As I discussed in our initial Broadwell overview, the GPU portion of the new architecture sees some substantial improvements.
A quick look at the Ice Storm results shows just that! The overall score of the Gigabyte BRIX is 47% better than the Intel NUC powered by Haswell and nearly matches the results from the 100 watt TDP AMD Trinity APU. The graphics score alone sees a 45% edge for Broadwell over Haswell and the physics (processor) score is 51% faster!
As these processor graphics solutions continue to get more powerful, more intense tests like the 3DMark Cloud Gate benchmark has increasing relevance. The overall score is 25% faster for the Broadwell BRIX than the Haswell NUC though the graphics specific result is only 15% faster. That graphics result on the Core i7-5500U is actually faster than the A10-5800K Trinity APU (admittedly from 2012), but that 8% edge is something that Intel has been working towards for years.
The Gigabyte BRIX S with the Core i7-5500U is clearly a powerful processor packed inside a small footprint. For general purpose computing (nearly) all users would be happy with with punch provided for everyday tasks and even some video encoding if necessary. Doing high resolution video editing? You should invest in a standard desktop. Looking to browse the web and manage your media library? Looks like a 15 watt processor might meet your needs.