Gigabyte Metal Gear Plus IT X: A New Contender in the Mini-PC Arena

A Fresh Take on Compact Computing

The realm of Mini-PCs has witnessed a significant surge in popularity, largely attributed to advancements in power-efficient processor architectures. The market now readily offers 8-core processors with robust graphics capabilities, particularly those based on AMD’s latest innovations. AMD’s recent unveiling of the Hawk Point APU series, which marries the Zen4 and RDNA3 architectures in a desktop socket format, is a testament to this progress. The Ryzen 8000G series, compatible with any AM5-based motherboard, necessitates only a proficient cooling fan and the most recent BIOS update to operate effectively.     

Source: Gigabyte

In response to AMD’s release, Gigabyte has stepped up with the Metal Gear Plus ITX, a CNC-machined aluminum chassis crafted to accommodate Mini-ITX motherboards. The chosen AORUS B6501 board within supports full-sized DDR5 memory and houses a low-profile CPU fan. While not as diminutive as conventional Mini-PCs, with dimensions of 200x210x58 mm and a volume of 3 liters, the chassis’s increased size yields several advantages. These include the flexibility to exchange the APU thanks to the standard AM5 socket, the ease of replacing the cooler, and straightforward access to DDR5 memory and storage—paralleling the convenience found in other ITX motherboards. Moreover, the entire motherboard can be swapped out, offering a variety of I/O port configurations.

A distinctive aspect of Gigabyte’s ITX systems is their integration of AC to DC power converters. This design choice means that the power supply is external, eliminating the need for an internal power unit within the chassis. While this may seem like a drawback compared to ultra-small Mini-PCs powered via USB Type-C, it’s worth noting that few Mini-PCs currently support 65W TDP APUs. Consequently, the compact GaN chargers typically bundled with Mini-PCs would be inadequate for these systems.

Source: Gigabyte

Diverse Offerings for Varied Needs

Gigabyte’s lineup includes several system variants, each tailored to different performance requirements:

  • AMD Ryzen 5 85006: A 6-core, 12-thread processor reaching speeds up to 5.0 GHz (Zena & Zen4c), equipped with a Radeon 740M integrated GPU.
  • AMD Ryzen 5 86006: Another 6-core, 12-thread offering, but with a 5.0 GHz (Zen4) processor and a Radeon 760M integrated GPU.
  • AMD Ryzen 7 8700G: An 8-core, 12-thread powerhouse capable of up to 5.1 GHz (Zen4), featuring a Radeon 780M integrated GPU.

All systems come with the AORUS B6501 ITX board, complete with WiFi 6, 16GB XPG D300 memory, and NVMe M.2 storage ranging from 512GB to 1TB. They are powered by a DC-ATX 180W power supply.

Competitive Pricing with an Eye on Upgradability

The systems are priced competitively, considering the scarcity of AM5 systems:

  • 87006: RMB 5259-5899 (approximately $811 – $909)
  • 8600G: RMB 4269-4799 (around $660 – $740)
  • 85006: RMB 3999-4499 (about $618 – $693)

The true value lies in the systems’ upgradability. Unlike some AM4-based systems, which may encounter BIOS update issues, Gigabyte’s product utilizes a standard Mini-ITX board. This ensures it will receive consistent updates alongside other AMD 600 series boards. With the appropriate BIOS update, it will also support the upcoming AMD Ryzen 9000 series without complications.

Additionally, the system is designed to be compatible with standard Raphael CPUs, which include integrated RDNA2 graphics. While the GPU performance may be lower, the primary consideration here is the cooling efficiency of the low-profile fan, particularly for 65W TDP variants.

Source: Gigabyte

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