Gigabyte shows off tiny BRIX gaming PC with Haswell and Iris Pro graphics (hands-on)

While we had an inkling that Gigabyte would be fitting its latest miniature BRIX PCs with Haswell processors, we were pleasantly surprised to learn it had also built a tiny gaming computer with Iris Pro graphics on board. Indeed, the BRIX pocket gaming PC has similar internals to the recently announced Gigabyte BRIX II -- it has an HDMI port, Ethernet, four USB 3.0 slots, Bluetooth 4.0, a Mini display port, built-in WiFi and a headset jack -- but with the added benefit of Intel's latest integrated graphics and the choice of red, yellow or black aluminum housing.

We had a chance to play around with a prototype model at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, and we have to say we're impressed. We played a short round of Grid 2 and the race car looked amazing as it roared across a large 1080p TV. While the performance appeared robust enough in our brief hands-on, an Intel rep did warn us it probably won't replace a system with a dedicated high-end GPU (Ed. Note: We've heard from Intel that while Iris Pro won't replace a high-end GPU, it'll match up well with low to mid-range graphics cards). The box itself is an adorable little thing that we felt was compact and light enough to bring to our next gaming party without taking up too much space in the trunk.

Availability and pricing for the tiny PC aren't set just yet, but a representative said it would cost somewhere around $500. If that sounds surprisingly affordable, we should note that the BRIX is a bare-bones system, so you still have to supply your own memory, 2.5-inch SATA hard drive, operating system and gaming controller (might we suggest making it a Steambox?) to make it work. With that in mind, check out our hands-on gallery of the Gigabyte BRIX pocket gaming PC to see if it's worth adding to your holiday wishlist.