Small hardware with big features
With the ongoing trend of HTPCs and System on a Chip designs in the past year or so we have seen a growing demand for hardware that's getting smaller. Next to the actually ICs especially small form factor motherboards are definitely a topic of growth and trend.
See, today's tested motherboard for example is only 17 x 17 cm on size, and while it has limited options here and there, it can function even as a full high-end PC if you wanted it to. There's no real limit to what processor you use, and if you pop a Core i7 870 processor on this motherboard and inject a dedicated graphics card you might have created the smallest yet fantastic gaming rig you can carry around.
But of course products as the H55N-USB3 motherboard we test today are intended for generic PCs, typically armed with an Intel Clarkdale based processor (which has an embedded GPU), paired with dual-channel memory and an decent HDD. This handful of components will get you a fully functional mainstream PC, perfect for usage as HTPC or generic Desktop work PC.
Gigabyte decided to up all this up a notch or two. They took the extremely small Mini-ITX form factor very serious, and each inch on this motherboard has been equipped with an component. As such we see that the H55N-USB3 motherboard is ready for all LGA 1156 Core i3/i5 and i7 processors, it is equipped with four SATA 2 ports, a x16 PCIe Slot for high-end graphics, durable components like solid chokes and very quality capacitors, optical Toslink SPDIF output, and when paired with a Clarkdale based Core i3 or i5 processor the ability to utilize the D-SUB (VGA), DVI or HDMI connector. Oh and it's got USB 3.0 as well.
All that for 90 EUR, not bad at all we say. Let's pop in a Core i5 661 processor and see if we like it.