|Gigabyte H55N-USB3 Mini-ITX Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Servando Silva|
|Sunday, 11 July 2010|
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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.
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 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.