Gigabyte H55N USB3 motherboard review
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 11/18/2010 02:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
PCH - The Platform Controller Hub H55 chipset
So today we'll discuss a topic amongst many of the male and female species for decades now ... does size really matter ?! Is 17 cm is enough ? And yeah, we'll be answering that mythological question today.
We'll be reviewing a very cute and small motherboard sized only 17cm x 17cm, and for those that do not recognize it, this is the Mini-ITX form factor.
Popular in many scenario's like automotive, industry implementations but as we'll show you, with a motherboard like tested today truly excellent for HTPCs and even regular desktop PCs as well.
The product comes from Gigabyte and is tagged as H55H-N-USB3, despite what you might think or feel about Mini-ATX, this little motherboard has it, it's packed and loaded with features. Pop on a Clarkdale based processor like the Core i3 or Core i5 series and you can use it's HDMI, DVI of D-SUB monitor connector. Audio ? No worries the embedded Realtek ACL 892R eight channel audio codec will happily output to analog or coaxial or optical TOSLINK S/PDIF connectors, need USB ? Well, the rear panel even has USB 3.0, need SATA2 ? Here we spot four ports and one eSATA, dual channel memory ? Yep supported, up-to 1600 MHz and in the end if you do not want to use the embedded graphics from the processor, then you can even pop in a full x16 PCIe graphics card and make a wicked gaming rig out of this incredibly handy H55H motherboard.
To facilitate the Clarkdale processors, Intel needed to come out with a specific chipset, in fact they'll be released two of them each with their own derivative sidekicks. This is needed to run the integrated graphics via what's labeled as the Flexible Display Interface (FDI). Intel is offering two new chipsets to the market, H55 and H57/Q57. P55 actually should also work fine, yet obviously not with the embedded IGP. We will actually put this to the test today.
Now you might think the platform will be cheap and well, honestly pricing is average at best. Intel will charge its partners 40 USD per chip per 1K units. In a pale comparison, Intel charges almost 40 USD for a P55 chip to the motherboard manufacturers.
The motherboard tested today we'll pair it with a Core i5 661 dual core processor for a test run. But first, let's have a look a some photos of the motherboard itself.
Um yeah .. I'll zoom in a little ...
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