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Gigabyte Brix Projector Combines Mini PC With DLP Projector In a 4.5-Inch Cube

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the project-much? dept.

Displays 44

MojoKid (1002251) writes "The PC market is changing rapidly as tablets supplant some laptops, new players such as the Chromebook disrupt the old WIntel model, and innovations in processors and graphics allow for ever-smaller PCs such as Intel's NUC (Next Unit of Computing) PC. Gigabyte recently introduced a rather unique product that combines the tiny 4.5-inch square form factor of Intel's NUC PC platform together with a mini DLP projector. The Gigabyte Brix Projector measures 4.24 x 4.5 x 1.93 inches (WxLxD) but manages to fit in an Intel Core i3-4010U (1.7GHz) processor with built-in Intel HD 4400 graphics and support for up to 16GB of 1600MHz RAM. Finally, an mSATA slot inside the chassis also supports up to a 256GB SSD. The system's DLP (LED backlight) projector itself offers a resolution of 864x480 with an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a purported image size of 7 to 85 inches. It promises 75 ANSI lumen brightness, a contrast ratio of around 900:1, and 3LED (RGB) technology. It's not an HD setup but the potential use cases are interesting. A follow-on version capable of 1080p output would be even more useful for gaming and HD video."

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don't accidentally swallow it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47081667)

Because then how would you show off your conspicuous hipness to your hipster friends?

Re:don't accidentally swallow it (2)

leathered (780018) | about 5 months ago | (#47082103)

Swallow it and you'll end up shitting Brix.

Re:don't accidentally swallow it (1)

HuguesT (84078) | about 5 months ago | (#47082151)

Well played, sir.

World's worst projector? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47081719)

What a terrible projector. 75 lumens? That has to be a joke. You can get 3000 lumens for $300 brand new nowadays. 900 contrast ratio? Yup, the $300 projector has it beat. 864x480? The $300 projector will beat that (not by much, but it will). FWIW, those cheap projectors are typically pretty darn small nowadays, about the size of a decent dictionary, and only weigh a couple of pounds.

75 lumens is so bad the projector is literally worthless. Remember those sharper image projectors you can get for $5 at a garage sale? Those were 50 lumens. They don't work worth a damn even in a photo lab dark room. 75 lumens just isn't enough to even deal with the reflected light.

Garbage product.

Re:World's worst projector? (2)

Hadlock (143607) | about 5 months ago | (#47081871)

It's perfect for doing a webex/gotomeeting for a small business in a medium-dark conference room. I wouldn't buy a bunch of these for a large enterprise, but they're perfect for a small business of 5-6 people who use a conference room at least on a weekly basis, but don't want to invest in something more intensive.
 
Seems to project a 4' (48") image just fine:
 
  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8a_82So4jE [youtube.com]

Re:World's worst projector? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#47082531)

Ya, that is pretty good quality, and in a completely lighted room....

To me it looks like something 900 times more powerful that that would blind everyone in the room, and probably set the wall on fire.

Re:World's worst projector? (1)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | about 5 months ago | (#47083401)

Spend the money on a cheap proper projector and use one of the participants' laptop. Just as cheap and actually useful. Most people cannot be bothered to use sub.standard stuff.

Re:World's worst projector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47083621)

That's exactly how I imagined it would look. Pathetic. I don't have the time to strain my eyes to watch such a ridiculous presentation. Fortunately, our company knows that there's a few sales staff so poorly equipped that we provide proper projectors, since we don't need to have our employees time wasted. You'd be nicely asked to plug it into the big boy equipment, and laughed at once you leave the room, mostly likely with "If they can't even afford anything more than a fisher price level projector, I can't even imagine what the real-life quality of their solution is".

We'd probably still test out whatever you're presenting, though, because you can't judge a book by its cover. Still, a bad way to make a first impression.

Re:World's worst projector? (1)

hacker (14635) | about 5 months ago | (#47090781)

Ahm... no.

Most of us who attend meetings, use computers. We don't sit back and watch movies or videos. We do actual work.

See all that horizontal scrolling while just viewing webpages? Magnify that tenfold for apps that don't support horizontal scrolling (eg: PowerPoint, Office apps, many editors, mail, etc.)

This is utterly useless in any sort of business settings, if it can't even handle the lowest-common-denominator laptop screen resolution.

I own a Gigabyte GB-BXi7-4770R BRIX Pro, so I do love and respect their products, it's just that THIS ONE is a poorly-executed implementation, of what could have been an amazing product.

It's got a ways to go before it's useful to the masses, beyond bachelor party photos-on-the-wall and starting gamers.

Re:World's worst projector? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#47082523)

I imagine they are for different use cases. I can only guess, but I am guessing that those 75 lumens are enough, and only enough for projecting a small imagine to a wall really close it it.

You might need a thousand lumens to create a 10 foot high screen, but 75 might be good enough for a 1 foot high screen.

Re:World's worst projector? (1)

plonk420 (750939) | about 5 months ago | (#47082887)

300 lumens are fine for an 80" diag image in a dark room. most $1000 projectors hit that when measured in real world setups.

Re:World's worst projector? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#47084415)

In fairness to this device, the ~75 lumens, 864x480, "projector" is just a member of an entire class of world's worst projectors. Those specs are the ones that you happen to hit if you combine TI's cheapest (sorry, did I say 'cheapest'? I meant 'most compact, versatile, and value-oriented') DLP module with an LED lamp that will last a reasonably long time, require no particularly exotic cooling, and is available in quantity outside of the lab.

I'm unclear on why this class exists; but the setup Gigabyte is using should be pretty much identical to a large number of other 'micro projector' things. As examples of how far LEDs have come since the days of dim red indicator lamps, they are pretty impressive. By the standards of projectors, they rank somewhere between 'crime against humanity' and 'downright painful'.

Re:World's worst projector? (1)

KalvinB (205500) | about 4 months ago | (#47085795)

I picked up one of those cheap toy projectors. They great thing about them is that they use standard halogen bulbs. So I went to Home Depot and got the brightest version of the bulb I could find which was double the original lumens.

I found that the limiting factor was the heat. After a few minutes a black circle started to appear on the image. It was the bulb melting the LCD panel. I had to put a little desk fan next to it to keep the air moving sufficiently to keep it cool.

These little 75 lumen projectors with a low resolution are likely running into the same problem. Obviously much brighter LEDs exist but there's not enough space to properly cool them.

The resolution is good enough for a smart board which only can handle 480 vertical lines anyway. I opted to get a the $320 proper projector with a 1024x768 resolution. Smartboards are easily replaced with a much simpler HD document camera.

Business not gaming (3, Insightful)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about 5 months ago | (#47081855)

The ideal use for mini projectors is when you need to give a presentation and don't want to deal with the hassle of setting up a projector and then connecting a laptop to it. The ideal projector has a USB port for a thumb drive on the back and automatically starts whatever powerpoint is on there. Add another USB port for the presenters remote and you're golden.

Business people don't like having to worry about cables and configuring multiple monitors. Heck, I don't either when I'm crunched for time and there's an audience staring at me and waiting for me to get it all working.

Re:Business not gaming (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#47082833)

The ideal use for mini projectors is when you need to give a presentation and don't want to deal with the hassle of setting up a projector and then connecting a laptop to it.

Ideally the resolution would match the presentation, which is typically 1024x768.

sweet 864x480 movies! (2)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 5 months ago | (#47081879)

The one purpose i can see something like this being used for is as a HTPC. Thank god all of the movies i'd download or rip come in 864x480 pixel resolutions.

Really cool idea, but sheesh -- up the form factor just a wee bit to make it more useful?

Re:sweet 864x480 movies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47081979)

Yup. Brix, huh? Sounds pretty sweet!

Chromebook disrupt the old WIntel model (-1, Offtopic)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 5 months ago | (#47081887)

if you mean spending more time rotting on the shelf before getting a discount to get it the hell out of the store

I mean its sad that you can buy a clearance i3 for less than a 2 year old chromebook and the wintel does much more than act as a shitty dedicated browser

Re:Chromebook disrupt the old WIntel model (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47082657)

You do realize you are completely off-topic, right? No wonder so many people have flagged you as a foe, you can't even figure out what a subject like is for.

Running out of steam (2)

Going_Digital (1485615) | about 5 months ago | (#47081963)

The rapid increase in processor speed is running out of steam but fortunately processors are now fast enough and cheap enough to do most things reasonably well. Now we are seeing many more low cost small computers with more integration.

A product with no market. (3, Interesting)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | about 5 months ago | (#47082007)

Cheap flat HD TVs killed the projector market (if there ever was one). Putting a low resolution projector in a PC will not help.
If I need to view content from my PC, I use Chromecast (and there are probably dozens of this type of devices within a year). Simple and easy, and no need for a white wall to project on and to dim the room lights.

Re:A product with no market. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47082697)

Bollox. The projector market is fine, can you afford 100" panel?

Re:A product with no market. (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 months ago | (#47083049)

I can't even afford a 100" wall!

Re:A product with no market. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47083381)

I could have 55 inch tv same or projector that in my small room gets 90' image hmmm let me think about it ... well .. ill just keep my projector and if i so choose ill bring it with me to friends house when we have movie night (bigger room over 110' screen) think about bringing 4x55' tvs with you on a bicycle

Re:A product with no market. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#47084481)

They really didn't do too much to the traditional projector market (rear-projection displays were pretty badly brutalized by the increasingly low cost of panels that aren't of nearly CRT thickness). Only a fairly small venue would have ever been targeting a projector for anything under a 60 inch image, most larger, sometimes considerably.

Now, what's kind of baffling about this little device is that cheap LCDs did (more or less preemptively, since they came before most projectors of this type) brutalize the market, if one ever existed, for 'painfully low resolution and dim images in the sub-60 inch range'. Given that the output of this device is worse than basically anything you could buy, even if you tried to fail, by wandering into Best Buy's TV section and looking lost and vulnerable, I'm unsure of what the point is. Proper projectors still have a lot of room to retreat into, unless the ghastly 'display wall 'o giant bezels' style is considered acceptable.

No VGA port? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47082025)

Yes, I know this has a projector built in, but it would have increased the computer's usefulness for presentations in larger halls with their own beam projectors - and a majority of those (still) has VGA ports.

Impressive form factor (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 months ago | (#47082121)

Unimpressive specs. 864x480 resolution. 75 lumens.

Yeah, I'm going to wait a few years before getting one of it's descendants.

Especially when you consider the price and specs for this:
http://www.amazon.com/ViewSoni... [amazon.com]

Or something like it. Because the brix is just a toy right now.

I'd just assume keep the two separated... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 5 months ago | (#47082161)

I'd rather get a 100 dollar portable projector... there are dozens of them on amazon... and then hook that up to my laptop.

Re:I'd just assume keep the two separated... (3, Interesting)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 5 months ago | (#47082275)

IMHO, cooling is the first reason to keep them separate. Projectors generate a lot of heat compared to a low-end CPU, and then you'll need a lot of extra cooling to keep the CPU happy. The projector itself would be OK at a somewhat higher temperature, and the computer alone wouldn't need much cooling.

Also, there is the usual argument about bundling computers with appliances -- the computer gets obsolete much faster. So this can only fill a very limited niche.

Re:I'd just assume keep the two separated... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 5 months ago | (#47082355)

My main issue with bundling is that one of the two always breaks and that means the other is broken as well now. Where as if you keep them separate then they can be replaced separately.

Re:I'd just assume keep the two separated... (1)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | about 5 months ago | (#47083125)

I don't disagree with your main point, but computers don't depreciate as much as they used to. You can still do good work on an 8 year old machine running a fairly recent version of your favorite OS. Hell, my gaming PC is only now beginning to show its age of about 5-6 years, and gaming PCs definitely depreciate faster.

It is a shame the projector lets this build down. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47082165)

The PC side of this doesn't seem too bad, it is a shame that the low resolution underpowered projector lets this down. It seems poorly tacked on.

I do like the idea though.

If Gigabyte really wanted to revolutionise the market, it would mate a PC that has some 720p or 1080p gaming capability (like the Brix Pro, or Brix Gaming) with a higher output mini LED projector with the same 720p or 1080p output (like the ASUS B1M). Have the machine capable of natively gaming at those resolutions, and you will capture a market for those who want portable gaming, and want a box they can play HD movies and shows.

My DLP... (1)

rew (6140) | about 5 months ago | (#47082197)

I decided 15 years ago when I bought my DLP projector that I wouldn't settle for less than 2000 Lumen. Back then this was an expensive "restriction". But 75????

Re:My DLP... (1)

plonk420 (750939) | about 5 months ago | (#47082899)

i highly doubt it is ACTUALLY 2000 lumens, unless you bought a tens of thousands of dollars, or even a hundred thousand dollar Christie or other high end for a 150-200"+ screen...

Re:My DLP... (1)

rew (6140) | about 5 months ago | (#47083085)

As this is from a western company (HP), I expect such technical claims to be reasonably reliable. They claim 1024x768 resolution, which is 100% correct. For something less easy to measure (for me), if they claim 2000 ANSI-lumen, I expect at least say 1800, with the "excuse" something like: we put it on the "boost" setting for that measurement (and then decided not to put it in the final product because it reduces lamp-life a lot).

Good idea (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | about 5 months ago | (#47082385)

Nice idea, but check for one thing... these little projectors can be supremely noisy. It would be great if this unit had some sort of quiet cooling mechanism. Even liquid cooling.

I bought a DLP pico projector recently for around $200 (at a Japanese supermarket in Osaka). It has the same resolution, HDMI-in, a tripod socket, a battery, and a built-in Wifi access point that lets PC and tablet clients project content wirelessly. But man, its noisy.

This Gigabyte unit seems to have HDMI-in and a tripod socket too, and the pico projector can power up separately from the NUC unit (the PC). Given Intel HD 4400 graphics that the NUC uses can drive a triple head setup, I think the entire unit can drive two LCD displays, plus the projector separately. It would make a sweet unit to drive an external display or two, with an FTIR-projected touchscreen as the user input interface.

Re:Good idea (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | about 5 months ago | (#47082445)

Just saw the price jump on Amazon.com (the price that one seller was charging, out of 3 sellers on Amazon) -- from about $300 to $600 :D

Guess I now know about how much Gigabyte charge the channel for these units.

Steamos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47082555)

Alright, neat. This looks like something that I could actually connect to steamos' streaming with some utility.

Know your units (1)

MaksimS (930702) | about 5 months ago | (#47082751)

4.24 x 4.5 x 1.93 inches is how many Lordes exactly?

Slashdotted (1)

confused one (671304) | about 5 months ago | (#47083005)

And... we've slashdotted the Gigabyte site in less than 20 comments

not a weak projector, think big-screen laptop (1)

fikx (704101) | about 5 months ago | (#47083755)

I assume the projector can't light up a screen as well as the big ones, but a small shift in thinking makes me wonder if this has some use: if you do business travel, would this make a good large-screen laptop? With the bonus of being able to project for small groups? Would you need to bring some kind of screen to project on for daily use? or would a cube wall work?
the only disadvantage I see for this use is no battery, but I usually plug in anyway if it's available (and it usually is). Still need a keyboard but with the size, not much added to the travel bad for a small one, and more ergonomic (lot of people do carry keyboards nowadays anyway with a laptop because of ergo concerns).

Kim Jon Il Says (1)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 4 months ago | (#47085639)

Hans Brix! Oh No!

Thinking outside the er .... Cube (1)

bbsalem (2784853) | about 4 months ago | (#47088851)

So this is a projector the size of a small cube with a general purpose computer inside? Now add a laser that can scan the projected area for a virtual keyboard and pointing device and you have a desktop. Compress the whole into a smart phone form factor and you have a mobile device that no longer has to deal with that small display and keyboard. You have a system that is a powerful as a low end desktop and you put Facebook and blogs out of business because you no longer have to restrict the size of a text area and how much a person could write, we get our Free Speech back.

Virtual keyboards and pointing device already exists. There is at least one device that I have seen which paints a 101 keyboard on a table top with a laser that you can type at. Getting rid of the small screen seems only a simple evolution. This is exactly what I had hoped would happen.

Resolutions are still stuck in the 1990's (1)

hacker (14635) | about 5 months ago | (#47090757)

Why-o-why are we even looking at projectors that don't start with a MINIMUM resolution of 1600x900 or greater?

864x480? In 2014? Are you joking?

That's not even going to project a laptop, tablet or even smartphone screen on the projector screen or wall without clipping and overlapping, so forget trying to use this anywhere except to replace your personal vacation slide projector for family gatherings.

Movies? At 864x480? Just... no.

Moving on...

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