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Gigabyte H55N-USB3 LGA 1156 Mini ITX Motherboard Review

Author: Steve Grever
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Gigabyte
Tagged:

Specifications, Layout, Included Extras

H55N-USB3 Technical Specifications

 

CPU
  1. Support for an Intel® Core™ i7 series processor/Intel® Core™ i5 series processor/ Intel® Core™ i3 series processor in the LGA1156 package (Go to GIGABYTE's website for the latest CPU support list.)
  2. L3 cache varies with CPU
Chipset
  1. Intel® H55 Express Chipset
Memory
  1. 2 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 8 GB of system memory (Note 1)
  2. Dual channel memory architecture
  3. Support for DDR3 1666 (O.C.)/1333/1066/800 MHz memory modules
  4. Support for non-ECC memory modules
  5. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules

(Go to GIGABYTE's website for the latest supported memory speeds and memory modules.)

Onboard Graphics Integrated in the Chipset: (Note 2)
  1. 1 x D-Sub port
  2. 1 x DVI-D port (Note 3) (Note 4)
  3. 1 x HDMI port (Note 4)
Audio
  1. Realtek ALC892 codec
  2. High Definition Audio
  3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  4. Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN
  1. 1 x Realtek RTL8111E chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Expansion Slots
  1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (The PCIEX16 slot conforms to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
Storage Interface Chipset:
  1. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors supporting up to 4 SATA 3Gb/s devices
  2. 1 x eSATA 3Gb/s connector on the back panel supporting up to 1 SATA 3Gb/s device
USB Integrated in the Chipset
  1. Up to 8 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 on the back panel, 4 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)

NEC D720200F1 chip:

  1. Up to 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel

* USB 3.0 10x performance is a maximum theoretical value. Actual performance may vary by system configuration.

Internal I/O Connectors
  1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector Connectors
  2. 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
  3. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
  4. 1 x CPU fan header
  5. 1 x system fan header
  6. 1 x front panel header
  7. 1 x front panel audio header
  8. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  9. 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  10. 1 x debug card header
  11. 1 x chassis intrusion header
  12. 1 x clearing CMOS jumper
Back Panel Connectors
  1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port Connectors
  2. 1 x D-Sub port (Note 2)
  3. 1 x DVI-D port (Note 2)(Note 3) (Note 4)
  4. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  5. 1 x HDMI port (Note 2)(Note 4)
  6. 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  7. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  8. 1 x eSATA 3Gb/s connector
  9. 1 x RJ-45 port
  10. 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/ Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
I/O Controller
  1. iTE IT8720 chip
H/W Monitoring
  1. System voltage detection
  2. CPU/System temperature detection
  3. CPU/System fan speed detection
  4. CPU fan speed control (Note 5)
BIOS
  1. 2 x 64 Mbit flash
  2. Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
  3. Support for DualBIOS™
  4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b
Unique Features
  1. Support for @BIOS
  2. Support for Q-Flash
  3. Support for Xpress BIOS Rescue
  4. Support for Download Center
  5. Support for Xpress Install
  6. Support for Xpress Recovery2
  7. Support for EasyTune (Note 6)
  8. Support for Dynamic Energy Saver™ 2
  9. Support for Smart 6™
  10. Support for Auto Green
  11. Support for ON/OFF Charge
  12. Support for Q-Share
Bundle Software
  1. Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
Operating System
  1. Support for Microsoft® Windows 7/Vista/XP
Form Factor
  1. Mini-ITX Form Factor; 17.0cm x 17.0cm

 

Motherboard Layout

The H55N-USB3 is packaged in Gigabyte's custom retail packaging that features the board's USB 3.0 support and the company's three-year warranty. It also has large graphics to showcase its on/off USB charge port.

 

The back panel also goes into more detail about the board's USB 3.0 features as well as Gigabyte's Ultra Durable, Smart 6, and Dynamic Energy Saver 2 technologies. They are probably one of the best companies for using their retail packaging for marketing material as well as key details about their motherboards that they want consumers to key in on when they are making purchasing decisions.

 

Here is the H55N-USB3 upclose and personal. Gigabyte did a great job organizing all the components on this mini ITX PCB. They were even able to keep the area around the CPU pretty clear so users could add higher-end cooling options like watercooling. 

 

The back of the PCB isn't much to look at, but does include a small aluminum backplate behind the CPU socket.

 

The back I/O panel looks like what you would get with a full ATX motherboard! The panel includes two USB 3.0 ports, four USB. 2.0 ports, Gigabit LAN, optical out, eSATA, PS/2, audio jacks, and multiple video options with VGA, DVI, and HDMI ports.   

 

This board supports one PCIe 2.0 slot that can be combined with any of today's modern graphics cards. The addition of a PCIe slot really separates this board past many that are strictly used for file servers and multimedia tasks. This board can now handle high-end gaming, which is a breath of fresh air for LAN gamers and others who need a small form factor mobo for their gaming rigs.

 

There are also two DIMMs that supports DDR3 1666 dual channel memory. Not bad for a board than can fit in a shoe box! 

 

There are also two USB 2.0 headers that support four USB devices. They also included four SATA 3GB/s ports, which is a little disappointing because they aren't the new 6GB/s flavor. I'm sure they had their reasons for not including SATA 3.0 on this board, but they most likely ran out of real estate on the PCB for the SATA3 controller. The front panel header is color coded, which makes installation a bit easier than having to use the user manual to figure out where to plug in the power and reset button headers.

 

Here's a quick shot of how tight the high definition audio header is cramped between power components and the back I/O panel ports.

 

The area around the CPU socket is pretty cramped, but should be able to support our Corsair H50 watercooling system just fine. Users who want to add a high-end, air cooled heatsink also have that option as well with this motherboard.

 

Included Extras

The included accessories are pretty small as Gigabyte added two SATA cables and a color coded I/O panel. 

 

They did include plenty of documentation to give users more information about this motherboard. A Smart 6 guide and installation guidebook were also included in the retail packaging.

 

Lastly, they included a detailed user manual and driver CD.

October 7, 2013 | 01:20 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This was the worst board I ever had. Chipset kept overheating in a well ventilated case, causing system to shut down randomly. A bit of online research found that this happened to many other buyers of this case.

AVOID this board at all costs.

October 7, 2013 | 01:21 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

correction to above post of mine...

" A bit of online research found that this happened to many other buyers of this BOARD" (not case, LOL)

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