Gigabyte H55N-USB3 Mini-ITX Motherboard E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
Written by Servando Silva   
Sunday, 11 July 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Gigabyte H55N-USB3 Mini-ITX Motherboard
Intel H55 Express Chipset
Gigabyte H55N-USB3 Features
Gigabyte H55N-USB3 Specifications
Closer Look: Gigabyte H55N-USB3
Gigabyte H55N-USB3 Detailed Features
Gigabyte H55N-USB3 BIOS
H55N-USB3 Overclocking
Motherboard Testing Methodology
EVEREST Benchmark Results
PCMark Vantage Test Results
CINEBENCH R11.5 Benchmark
Passmark Performance Test Benchmark
Street Fighter IV Results
Full HD playback Results
H55N-USB3 Power Consumption
Final Thoughts
Gigabyte H55N-USB3 Conclusion

Gigabyte H55N-USB3 Mini-ITX Motherboard Review

The H55 platform somehow appeared at the end of 2009. It basically is a P55 platform with reduced capabilities (RAID for example), but with the ability to use the integrated Intel HD graphics unit on Intel Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs based in Clarkdale's architecture. This way, you're able to build an HTPC with very decent performance and a graphics processor capable of reproducing HD content and some very light gaming on a small case. While this kind of systems were interesting, it wasn't as interesting as a Mini-ITX sized motherboard. Things finally changed when Zotac's company finally decided to launch a Mini-ITX H55 platform capable of using Clarkdale's processors and offering a PCI-e port to add raw gaming power to the PC.

ECS quickly followed the trend launching their H55H-I, but as you can expect, neither of these options had the top-notch quality we usually see on GIGABYTE's products. Zotac has lots of features including dual antennas for Wi-Fi connection but lacks of a good price. ECS has a very low price but lacks of features and overclocking capabilities to make this platform as interesting as it can be. Can GIGABYTE finally full that niche gathering the best of both worlds?

GIGABYTE has grown a lot in the market lately. They mainly produce top-notch quality motherboards and GPUs, and they have even entered new areas as well. We couldn't say they had a specific motherboard for each user until they finally released their Mini-ITX H55N-USB3 motherboard. Last year, Mini-ITX motherboards meant low CPU-performance. But in 2010, things have changed and now you can build a very small PC with great performance and good efficiency. Benchmark Reviews tests the GIGABYTE H55N-USB3 motherboard paired with an Intel Core i3 530 processor and 4GB of RAM to check which kind of performance we can expect from a Mini-ITX HTPC system like this one.

Gigabyte_H55N_USB3_Package.jpg

This is the first Mini-ITX platform GIGABYTE produces and there's a small fear that things go wrong on the first try. Gigabyte didn't hesitate to add interesting features to the H55N-USB3. Leaving aside that they didn't included SATA 3 support (which at the moment, is kind of useless still), they included USB 3 ports and it basically supports all the other features you find on a P55 enthusiast motherboard. Even the on/off charge feature is included at the moment of launch.

However, there are always things to sacrifice when reducing the size to mini-ITX specifications. For example, you can't have lots of S-ATA ports for HDDs/SDDs. You can also forget about multiple PCI/PCI-e cards, and finally, there's always less room to add power phases, which normally means it won't support high-end processors. That or overclocking abilities will be physically limited by the board's specifications. During our Review, we will submit the H55N-USB3 to all these kind of tests and find out how it behaves against other similar products.

About Gigabyte United Inc. (G.B.T. Inc. USA)Gigabyte_Logo_Blue_300px.png

Gigabyte United Inc., established in December 2006, is assuming the Gigabyte TECHNOLOGY Co., Ltd. Brand, which for the past 20 years has been a world-renowned leader in the motherboard industry. Continuing to focus on its core businesses of Gigabyte branded motherboards and graphics cards, Gigabyte United Inc. is committed to providing our valued customers with the highest quality products and services featuring the industry's most innovative design.

In order to meet the challenges of today's intensely competitive channel market, Gigabyte United Inc. fully utilizes its key assets including its cutting-edge research and development team as well as its professional sales and marketing resources to continue to develop technologies to fit a complete range of digital life solutions. Now and for the future, Gigabyte United Inc. will continue to embody the unique spirit and culture, which has made Gigabyte one of the foremost brands in the industry.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Gigabyte H55N-USB3 Mini-ITX MotherboardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2010-07-11 12:21
Wow so small yet so powerful. Big thumbs up here for Gigabyte and Intel for that i3 CPU and to you Servando for a great review.

PS

This would make a great car PC too :D
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# ThanksServando Silva 2010-07-11 21:30
Thanks Steven. It really surprised me with this kind of performance. I just tried the Core i7 860 and it's 4GHz stable. That's a lot more than the TDP stated by GIGABYTE!
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# UGH...Hsew 2010-07-15 14:56
You know what... this board would be PERFECT...if there was a P55 version of it without the stupid video outputs. I mean, knowing Gigabyte boards, they can and will cram a LOT of ports on the back if given the chance, but they cant if a big chunk of space is taken by those awkward video ports. Don't get me wrong, this is great for an ultra-low power build, but Small form factor gaming PCs are growing in popularity, as we realized from the Mini ITX P55 DFI LanParty board (which was unfortunately plagued with severe component issues). How do you expect me to stick a high end GPU on this thing and have those Onboard video ports staring at me? Ridiculous. Also, the CPU socket seems kinda choked (Duh?).
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# RE: UGH...Servando Silva 2010-07-15 17:27
This board is targeted for HTPCs. I don't know how many users would love to have a board like this and install a dedicated GPU. Unluckily for you... since P55 chipset is older than H55, I don't think we'll see the P55 version.
Which other ports would you like to see? More USB ports? A second ethernet? or maybe a firewire?
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# Power ?rodrigo 2011-02-09 17:37
Hola, tengo un viejo gabinete con fuente 160w , del modelo hp s3320la, se podrĂ­a usar para esta placa madre , junto a un i3-540 y 4 ddr3 1333.
Desde ya muchas gracias, excelente!!!

=====translate=====

Hi, I have an old cabinet with 160w power, s3320la hp model could be used for this motherboard, along with an i3-540 and 4 ddr3 1333.
From already thank you very much, excellent!
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# old cpurodrigo 2011-02-09 17:44
Este es el enlace de mi viejo cpu.
================================
This is a link to my old cpu.

#h10025.#.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01333454&tmp_task=prodinfoCategory&lc=en&dlc=en&cc=us&site=null&key=null&product=3663506&sw_lang=34
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