Gigabyte H55M-UD2H - Design
The Gigabyte H55M-UD2H is a MicroATX motherboard measuring 24.4cm x 23cm. Despite offering similar functionality in a number of ways compared to the Asus P7H55-M Pro, the board's design varies quite a bit. For starters we feel that the SATA placement on the H55M-UD2H is a little better -- albeit still far from perfect.
The ports are mounted vertically at the edge of the motherboard. This can make them harder to access and more likely to conflict with devices installed into the expansion slots, but it's an improvement from the split up placement on Asus' board. Also, you may have noticed that there are only five ports and not six as we found on the P7H55-M Pro.
The sixth port is located on the I/O panel where it is used to provide eSATA support. We actually feel this is an appropriate arrangement as five onboard ports will probably be enough for most mATX motherboard users.
Perhaps the biggest issue we have with the H55M-UD2H is how close the four DDR3 DIMM slots come to the primary PCI Express x16 slot. With virtually any graphics card installed into the primary PCI Express slot, removing or installing memory modules will be close to impossible. This could certainly annoy some users when swapping out hardware.
The Gigabyte H55M-UD2H features two full length PCI Express x16 slots, but like all H55 motherboards the secondary slot will limit any graphics card to x4 bandwidth. While we wouldn't recommend running a multi-GPU configuration the extra slot can still come in handy to support PCIe x4 expansion cards for stuff other than graphics.
Therefore we feel Gigabyte would have been better off following Asus' design approach of sticking the extra PCI Express slot above the primary PCIe x16 slot. This frees up room between the PCIe x16 port and the DIMM slots and ensures that the extra PCIe slot can be used when a dual-slot graphics card is installed.
Finally the I/O panel of the Gigabyte H55M-UD2H has a little more going on with a single PS/2 port, Ethernet port, eSATA port, Firewire port, S/PDIF output, six USB 2.0 ports and 6 audio jacks. The display ports include HDMI, DVI, VGA and DisplayPort which was not found on the Asus P7H55-M Pro for some reason.
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