In the race to get a USB3 capable mini-ITX motherboard to market, Gigabyte has today announced the first entry into the arena - the GA-H55N-USB3.  Measuring a tiny 17cm x 17cm, this board is a stark contrast the the Gigabyte X58A-UD9 released last week.


 

USB3 connectivity is achieved via the onboard NEC uPD720200 host controller to two USB3 ports with a bandwidth of 5Gb/s.  The board also provides Gigabyte's 3x USB Power Boost, allowing USB devices a greater power range to work with and devices to charge quicker.  On the board is a full x16 PCI-E 2.0 slot, four SATA 3Gb/s ports, and two DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 8GB.  The back panel features the two USB3 ports, one eSATA 3Gb/s port, four USB2 ports (a further four available from internal headers), Realtek Gigabit Ethernet and 7.1 channel audio, a combined PS2 connection, an optical S/PDIF Out, and HDMI/D-Sub/DVI connectors

 


According to Tim Handley, Deputy Director of Motherboard Marketing at Gigabyte, "The GIGABYTE GA-H55N-USB3 was designed specifically for users wanting to build the ultimate home entertainment PC".  Usually, a mini-ITX board is just what the doctor orders for such an endeavour, however this also expands into the realm of LAN gaming, where portability and power like to go hand-in-hand.  The H55N-USB3 will support the latest LGA-1156 Core i3 and Core i5 processors with integrated graphics, as well as s1156 Core i7 processors.

Along with On/Off Charge to charge external devices and Gigabyte's DualBIOS providing a backup BIOS in case things go wrong, there are very few things to pick at on this board announcement.  One thing of note is the onboard SATA ports - should a HTPC also become a basic network storage hybrid, more SATA ports would have been a good selling point for the H55N-USB3.  Probably not a huge deal, but looking at the VRM layout we'd guess that HT enabled Lynnfield processor overclocking is going to be limitied - just like other mini-ITX offerings.  

To receive serious consideration we think Gigabyte need to price the H55N-USB3 at around $110 (we've heard predictions of $130). The ECS H55H-I we reviewed earlier this month sets the pace and offers an absurdly cheap, good stock running mini-ITX board for $65 (after $15 rebate).  The Zotac H55-ITX Wi-Fi with 6 SATA ports, 10 USB ports and (obviously) Wi-Fi is now available for $115 (after $15 rebate); and finally the Intel DH57JG has dropped in price from $125 to $110.

More news on the H55N-USB3 is expected to surface at Computex 2010, held in Taiwan on the 1st-5th June.

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  • AstroGuardian - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    You are not screwed in any ways if the board dies as long as you know how to handle raid member disks ;) Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    It's an H55 board, so it wouldn't be able to support Intel RAID anyway. You have to have an H57 chipset to get RAID. Well, that or install another chip on there, and I honestly don't see to much empty room. Reply
  • Zok - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    "The back panel features four SATA 3Gb/s ports"

    Should be USB.
    Reply
  • Zok - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    Or not back panel. Reply
  • IanCutress - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    Apologies about that; the news has been corrected.

    All the best,
    Ian
    Reply
  • taisingera - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    I was looking at this board and noticed it was just put up on Gigabyte website yesterday. I couldn't find out if you could use x1 cards in that x16 slot from the manual or other places. Would have considered it for a new build but it would have been $100 more total and I wasn't sure when it would be for sale and how much. So I went with, the microATX H55M-USB3 and a Mt Jade In-win case. Reply
  • Bromptoners - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    You can use a x1 card on that x16 slot, since PCI-e is backward compatible to lower speed Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    True, but the problem is that some boards disable the on-board video if you plug something into the "graphics x16 slot". Reply
  • AstroGuardian - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    Not necessarily true. It's not a rule. The board (especially new boards) will detect whether it's a graphics accelerator or not... Reply
  • capeconsultant - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    for this most awesome board?

    Dave
    Reply

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