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  • Gigabyte H55N Mini ITX Motherboard Review
  • Gigabyte H55N Mini ITX Motherboard Review



    Mini-ITX motherboards are typically designed for low power consumption and cherished for their compact form factor.  So what happens when you replace a low powered system with an Intel H55? Basically you get something extremely small with an option to be extremely powerful.  You also get the complications associated with that including additional heat and higher power demands.  In this review we looked at some of the enthusiast aspects of the Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 in terms of performance and features, while this may not be the intended purpose it does open up this motherboard to a variety of new roles such as multifunction HTPC or low cost general purpose machine for the family.

    Overall performance was exceptional using the Clarkdale Core i5-661 processor.  The built in HD graphics were rather lackluster when it game to gaming performance but did a great job with 2D applications.  The entire system is not specifically designed for overclocking but the options are available to give you full control over CPU and chipset frequencies.  You can even overclock the on-chip GPU to make things a little faster.

    The smaller form factor does raise several questions about how to properly use a high powered Mini-ITX motherboard such as this.  As you may have guessed many of the current ITX cases will not work with the GA-H55N-USB3, conservative 200w PSUs will not run a H55 system and the limited heatsink clearances require a low profile cooler.  Moving up to a MicroATX chassis will resolve the power and space problem but seems to negate the reason behind having a Mini-ITX motherboard to begin with.
    There will certainly be new Mini-ITX chassis designs on the market but none will match the current designs when it comes to size and overall power consumption.  That is just the price you pay for pushing the envelope and blazing new trails in small form factor performance.
    Good Things
    Full System on a Small Board
    IGP Support
    Quad Core Option
    Overclocking Capable
    Small Form Factor
    Fits in Full Sized ATX Cases
    Bad Things
    Small Form Factor
    Limited coling and power options when using Mini-ITX case
    Only 2 fan headers
    Low power option depends on processor choice
    Onboard graphics meh in games
    Ninjalane Rating
    Gigabyte H55N Mini ITX Motherboard Review

    Furious 5 of 5

    We would like to thank Gigabyte for helping to make this review possible.