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4-Way Intel H55 Motherboard Shootout

By Jos ยท 17 replies
Mar 19, 2010
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  1. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    Great article, I love to see these head-to-head articles. I'm in the process of deciding on components and the H55 is a possibility to keep my budget down. I'm glad to see the Gigabyte did well, I've used their boards on my last 3 builds and have been very happy with the performance and stability.
  2. Aneesh

    Aneesh TS Rookie Posts: 20

    nice to hear taht intel is going to be down in price
  3. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Nice review, but I would also add that you can get a mobo with a couple of USB 3.0 ports for not too much more so it might be wise to future-proof a little.

    Also I think there's a lack of real competition in the H55/P55 area, the prices are still too high for entry/mid level systems.
  4. bigclick

    bigclick TS Rookie Posts: 49

    I don't see the point of building a budget system from scratch. Premium yes, that's worth the effort. Could be I'm just not into messing with the insides as much as I once was.
  5. Yoda8232

    Yoda8232 TS Rookie Posts: 145

    Personally I would for the Asus board as it has a great layout and cool colour scheme, not to mention that small funky MOSFET cooler. The Gigabyte offering looks very pleasing as well. I would think it totally would be worth it to spend the extra cash to get the Gigabyte or Asus boards versus the ECS and ASRock.

    Where's MSI's H55 board???

    But if I really had to build a budget system I would go AMD, because you know the bang for buck is much higher. Higher end systems for Intel.
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,501   +2,295

    I'm not exactly sure which test report you were reading, but to me it sort of looked the the i5-750 pretty much had the AMD offering for breakfast. Now, if you mean you would like to use a "higher priced budget offering from AMD", that might (IMO) of course, defeat the purpose.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,501   +2,295

    "Self Exam" of the "Gigabyte H55M-UD2H"

    I recently purchased the Gigabyte H55M-UD2H, and have since installed it in a system. I made this decision more or less out of "necessity", since I was standing in Microcenter being confronted with it at the sale price of about $92.00 USD. Little did I know that not 2 weeks later, It would appear as a Newegg "Shell Shocker" for $70.00. This hurt me, but I comforted myself by saying, (out loud of course to myself in public), "don't keep beating yourself up over this, not you or anybody could have known"!

    I was going to spring for the H57 chipset Gigabyte GA-H57M-USB3 ($124.oo at that time). This chipset features USB 3,0 connectivity in some rear ports. I said to myself, "big whoop", and went with the H55 instead. The H57 chipset does further offer 6 internal SATA ports, and 2 external, as compared to the H55 chipset's 5 + 1 arrangement.

    I assembled the board into a system comprised of the following:

    Intel Core i3-530
    GSkill F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK (4GB (2 X2GB) @1333Mhz CL-8
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 320GB
    Sony Optiarc SATA DVD Burner (Who cares what the model number is)
    Antec EA430 "Earthwatts" PSU (The old model, the one that they give up a power cord, not the new green one where they BS you out of of it).

    This was stuffed into a Coller Master "Elite 335" case, again carted out of Microcenter for 36 bucks.

    Windows 7 Professional 64 bit.

    The whole process took 3 hours or so, from late Fiday night into early Saturday morning. (Including the OS install).

    I tweaked the BIOS for boot order and a couple other issues, then set the HDD mode at "AHCI" (default is IDE), and away we went.

    The system booted instantly, the memory ran @ it's rated speed without any BIOS tampering. (The GSkill memory used is one of Gigabyte's recommended modules).

    With the HDDs set in AHCI, the boot crawl is somewhat truncated, the board checks the memory, polls the SATA controller, then boots into Windows! The process is very Streamlined.

    Since I'm a mainstream user, the board's overclocking potential is of little concern, but I think that Gigabyte is looking out for the consumer's best interest with their "Ultra Durable" technology, so I buy all my boards from them for this reason.

    I didn't install an add in graphics card since again, I'm not a gamer. Not to mention that this would defeat the purpose of trying to find out how Intel has succeeded with their CPU / integrated graphics solution. Windows tests the i3-530's Windows "Aero" experience ability @ 4.9 and the "business and gaming" score is 5.3 ..! This improves dramatically on the scores of my Intel G-41 board which brings in the whopping "experience index" scores of 3.5 and 3.5 respectively. The "Aero" desktop performance with the i3's onboard graphics is snappy indeed, and windows come and go with alacrity.

    So, I'm thrilled heartily with this board and its system, I should probably pop out to Microcenter for a big old tower cooler to replace the nasty intel stock cooler, but since the CPU reads only slightly above room temperature with the stock cooling "solution", there's really no rush. But hey, then I would really be able to overclock the CPU. Like I'd actually get around to that.

    So, the Gigabyte H55M-UD2H is a great board (IMO). The socket colors have been toned done markedly, so with a clear side panel this board is far less gaudy and tacky than their P-45 offerings, and I suppose will, "look great with any decor". (And will probably last close to forever)....!
  8. levar

    levar TS Rookie Posts: 229

    I enjoyed that read, would be nice to see something similar but with AMD boards but still for some reason I feel a sort of want to go with Intel now but I still want to go with AMD lol ohh man this is getting difficult. Very reasonable prices I like the Gigabyte H55M-UD2H very much I also like the fact it includes those IDE ports as I'm still using PATA HDDs & a Floppy which I probably don't care about, and I still haven't even placed my hands on a SATA HDD yet :| I have a SATA optical drive but :/ not the same.

    The thing is I want to run Crossfire as I do plan on purchasing a Radeon 5770 and another in the future but you recommend not doing that, why? Too much power consumption or will it result is spending more despite the x4 bandwidth taken away from the 2nd GPU should I just stick with the one? Hm... I can just get a USB 3.0 expansion slot and replace it *sighs* and from the article it overclocks very well but I think I wouldn't it be better to go with an AMD Phenom II X3 720 processor instead?

    I just took a look at each processor and saw Intel's i3 is 32nm whereas AMD is 45nm the thing is this AMD has a bigger cache and ability to unlock its 4th core I'm pretty sure there will be a huge difference between both but I'm fond of this 32nm technology and I think I should go with gut which is with AMD is it really a big difference from the two?
  9. Timonius

    Timonius TS Evangelist Posts: 647   +58

    Very informative article. Thank you very much.
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,501   +2,295

    Now a Brief Confrontational Interlude, Brought to You by "Fanbois Anonymous".....

    Good for you Levar, always thinkin' you are.
    Well then Levar, you shouldn't consider buying one of these boards, now should you? A board that would support true PCI-E 16 X Crossfire, will cost you a lot more money So, if you want to haggle about what you can't get for a hundred bucks, just shut up about it, and be prepared to pay more. This of course assumes you have the money in the first place.

    Well then, by all means, go buy an AMD, and come back and tell us all about it. Has anyone tried to stop you from spending space money on a new space board? If they do, you tell me, I'll give them a piece of my mind! (too).
  11. levar

    levar TS Rookie Posts: 229

    hehe.. yeah I agree thats true ~.~ anyways after doing through some more research the h55 mobo as I've read that most people shouldn't use discrete graphics cards as H55 mobo as for the integtated graphics like the i3 is and some of the i5 except for the i5 750 and I planned on getting the Radeon 5770 so really as you said I would pay more so I think I'm still gonna stick to my gut feeling and stick with AMD I just need to find the right motherboard, just gotta keep looking thanks for the reply xD just what I needed.

    I don't think this is for me though, its actually lower than my budget which is good but I don't think it would reach (my requirements of gaming [Battle field 2, Crysis..., video editiing, multitasking dual monitors, encoding (HD anime) while running multiple background programs and various editing tools), but if I were to choose I would probably go with i5 and a P55 but the prices are just UP there compared to AMD so AMD, as I've said is still my best bet. I think I got carried away from the new 32nm technology I even went out of my way set up a nice system under $650 on newegg if I took off the Radeon 5770 and got something less expensive :| jeez I can't make up my mind, I think being on a budget is quite annoying especially if you just 19 trying to work my #%S off to build a decent gaming PC.... and at the same time trying to get a PS3 lol boy oh boy xD
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,501   +2,295

    Well Levar, if you just hang in there long enough, perhaps it'll come to you. Maybe you'll have an, "epiphany", as it were. Although, just so you know, you can't come crying to me if you break your head over thinking it. :rolleyes:
  13. Hi

    Nice article ;)

    The power consumption of i3 540 in IDLE was with Intel GPU or Radeon HD 5850 graphic card ??


    Sorry for my english :|
  14. Richy2k9

    Richy2k9 TS Enthusiast Posts: 515

    hello ..

    nice options, i'm also going on with some possible upgrade, or better a full system. Yet i'm mostly looking for intel cpu based system.

    will read some more & follow the links ;)

  15. Zenphic

    Zenphic TS Rookie Posts: 43

    I would have loved to see some VRM cooling for the Gigabyte. I haven't seen many Gigabyte mATX boards with it anyway.
  16. First of all, thank you for allowing guest comments - not all sites allow this courtesy. I have just put together an ASUS P7H55D-M PRO based system, with Intel i3 550, 2 x 2GB of Kingstom 1333Mhz DDR-3 memory and Windows 7 Premium 64-bit OEM. For power I am trying a Corsair Power Series 400W PSU and for hard drive a 300 GB SATA. Pretty much everything else was salvaged from an HP Pavillion t3000 ~ including the case. Using the integraed GPU has saved me having to buy a new graphics card just yet and all in all I would have to say the experience has been a good one. The build was straight forward and one of my reasons for buying ASUS is that as I build so few (this is only my second with third on the stocks) I find their instructions and support very helpful. One item that did confuse me for a moment was that the 8 pin 12v socket on the mobo has 4 of the sockets blanked off, implying that a P4 type of PSU would be adequate. However, no useful refernces were made about this in the installation guide. I was tempted to re-use the P4 PSU from the HP but as I had read elsewhere that the 12V drain is higher on the Intel S1156 boards and I did not want to risk overheating any of the lanes, so I opted for an appropriate PSU, removed the blanking cap and used all 8 pins.
    I think I have probably over bought on the processor and an i3 530 would have done the same job, but in anycase the performance is good and it does surprise some folk when they fire up a PC proclaiming it has "Windows XP" with Pentium P4 power, only to see Windows 7 ready to go in less that 14 secs from cold! Thank you for the very useful article and posts - they are a real help to occassional builders like myself.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,501   +2,295

    Well, discretion, (as they say), is the better part of valor. That said, the 8 pin power connection for a Core i3-550 is overkill. The 32nm Core i3 CPUs, only draw about 27 watts at idle. In fact, they are probably the most energy efficient desktop CPUs available.

    The 8 pin CPU power connector is really for the higher drawing quad CPUs and overclocking.

    in any event, don't beat yourself up for buying a new PSU. PSUs deteriorate more than other components, and a new machine always deserves a fair shake with a brand new one.

    I'm guessing the i3-530 is still available, but Microcenter has now made the i3-540 its "loss leader" Core i3 CPU, @ $99.95. At the beginning of the year, it was the i3-530 for the same price! The overall performance difference gained by changing only the CPU is, unfortunately, negligible. Something on the order of 5% or so, overall for the step up you made.

    The integrated graphics in the i3s are far and away the best Intel has ever produced, and if you run the "Windows Experience Index", you'll see what I mean.

    How did you manage the XP / Pent 4 splash screen?

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