"When Valve unleashed the full details of its Steam Machines programme earlier this year, it was slightly disappointing to see just how many of those PCs weren't actually all that friendly for the living room. Many of them made use of mini-ITX chassis"
Otherwise, the chassis is rather handsome, with a solid all-metal construction and a reassuring weight to it. Rubber feet on the bottom of the chassis keep it steady, while the sides are reserved for air vents to cool the many components inside. The left side houses two small fans for intake, while the right serves a place for all that hot air to escape. Opening up the Brix is easy too, with just four screws holding the bottom plate in place. That's something you'll have to do at least once, because the Brix only comes as a barbones unit, meaning you have to add your own hard drive, RAM, and OS to get it up and running.
Inside there's room for a mSATA hardrive, two sticks of laptop-style DDR3L memory for up to 16GB of RAM, and a further connection for a regular 2.5" hard drive. Having space for a mSATA and a 2.5" hard drive is particularly handy, and means you can easily save some money by fitting a small SSD to the mSATA port for your OS and main games, and then buying a cheaper spinning-platter disk for storing everything else. Underneath the motherboard is a big copper heatsink for the cooling the CPU and GPU, which, as I discovered, isn't enough to keep temperatures in check.
The Brix Gaming features an Intel Core i5 4200H, which is a dual core CPU that supports hyperthreading. It's a mobile part with a TDP of just 47W, making it ideal for the smaller confines of the Brix. The GTX 760, however, is a desktop part, or at least a custom version of one. With 1344 shader cores clocked at 941MHz (967MHz Boost), its core specs are slightly lower than that of a standard GTX 760, but it does sport more 192-bit memory in either 3GB or 6GB configurations. Going with a desktop part in such a small chassis is a brave move, particularly as Nvidia's more efficient Maxwell architecture powers some impressive mobile chips like the GTX 870M. While the Brix arrives barebones, it does come with a mini-PCIe WiFi card that supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0, which is a nice inclusion.