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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  • Earthmonger - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    Lian Li PC-Q08b

    (I pre-ordered it like three weeks ago.)

    ;)
    Reply
  • tomoyo - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    I concur. this is the exact case I want for my NAS system with mini-itx board. Reply
  • capeconsultant - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    Thanks to both. Reply
  • Aikouka - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    Ugh... that's definitely not suited for a HTPC (one of mini-ITX's nice uses) for quite a few reasons. Really disappointing to see such a case come out of Lian-Li too, but I haven't seen a great case from them since they dropped the PC-V1/2xxx series. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    "The H55N-USB3 will support the latest LGA-1156.... ....Core i7 processors."

    That's exactly what I'm looking for! Most manufacturers target their m-ITX boards at the HTPC market, and only enable support for i3s and i5s.

    Now just get it in shops already. ;)
    Reply
  • AstroGuardian - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    Now why would you want an i7 over i5 on this kind of board? Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - link

    My gaming rig is a full size ATX with only one slot used for the graphics. If I can get an i7 and a graphics card on a m-ITX, then ATX holds no advantages for me. I'm done with the ATX form factor. Reply
  • 40sTheme - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    People are hating on this beautiful, well engineered, perfectly laid out board because it doesn't have RAID? Buy a dang external if you need backups... if you need RAID, buy a board for enthusiasts, because as much as you may deny it, in the consumer market, RAID is in the enthusiast section. Heck, I'm a computer enthusiast as well, but I have never seen myself using RAID for any real purpose. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    Are we ever going to see a really good VRM section on mITX boards? (Pending hands-on reviews of this board of course.) I don't buy the 'limited space' argument, there are mATX boards that clock very well and don't use rediculous bajillion phase VRM sections that get hyped by the marketing department. FWIR it's all about component cost not space. The mobo makers release $300++ boards but won't add $10-20 in components to make higher-end mITX boards? Put an H57 on it and give it a well engineered power section to make the 'premium' version please.

    I hope someone realizes this, even DFI has missed the mark, I've been pondering mITX using the IGP for my next build (I'll be done with gaming entirely by then) but am waiting until Sandy Bridge/Bulldozer anyway. I would love to have a nice solid CPU overclock to retain CPU power.
    Reply
  • jed22281 - Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - link

    I bought the premium P7H57D-V EVO and it didn't include USB power x3.
    Grrrr...
    Reply

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