Testbed Setup
Overclocking / Benchmark Testbed
Processor 1 x Intel i7-875K ES CPU
2.93GHz, 8 Threads, 8MB L3

Intel i5 661 ES CPU
3.33GHz, 2 Cores 4 Threads
4MB L3
CPU Voltage Various
Cooling Intel air cooler, Heatkiller 3.0 waterblock, PA120.2 radiator and DDC ultra pump (with Petra top), 1/2 ID tubing for watercooling.
Power Supply Corsair HX950
Memory Corsair Dominator GT 8-8-8-24 2200MHz 4GB kit
G.Skill Perfect Storm 8-8-8-24 2200MHz 4GB kit.
Memory Settings Various
Video Cards MSI 275 Lightning (stock clocks)
Video Drivers nVidia 195.62 WHQL
Hard Drive Western Digital 7200RPM 1TB SATA 3/Gbps 32MB Buffer
OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD
Optical Drives Plextor PX-B900A, Toshiba SD-H802A
Case Open Test Bed - Dimastech Benching Station
Lian-Li V2110
Operating System Windows 7 64 bit
.

We utilized memory kits from Corsair and G.Skill to verify memory compatibility on our test boards. Our OS and primary applications are loaded on the OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD drive and our games operate off the WD Caviar Black 1TB drive. We did a clean install of the OS and applications for each motherboard. We used Intel's stock cooler for the stock comparison testing, while water-cooling via the superlative Heat Killer 3.0 water block was utilized for overclocking. For graphics duty, MSI’s GTX 275 Lighting GPU was used to provide performance comparisons between boards during gaming benchmarks.

For our test results we set up each board as closely as possible in regards to memory timings. Otherwise all other settings are left on auto. The P55 utilized 8GB of memory where possible, while the X58 platform contained 6GB. The P55 and X58 DDR3 timings were set to 7-7-7-20 1T at DDR3-1600 for the i7-920 and i7-870 processors at both stock and overclocked CPU settings.

We used DDR3-1333 6-6-6-18 1T timings for the i5-750 stock setup for all system benchmarks (non-gaming tests) as DDR3-1600 is not natively supported at a stock BCLK setting of 133. For our Clarkdale i5 661 and i3 540 CPU’s, we used 7-7-7-20 1N timings at DDR3-1333MHz with 8GB of memory (4GB on the Mini-ITX boards).

 

Power Consumption

Our power consumption testing utilizes the same batch of components under similar circumstances in a bid to monitor variances between idle and CPU load conditions. We install the vendor supplied power saving utilities on each board and enable power saving modes that don't involve any kind of underclocking or CPU core frequency modulation in order to run an apples to apples comparison.

ATX PSU switching losses are absent from our figures because we monitor power consumption directly at the DC rails of the PSU. These figures measure only the CPU, motherboard and memory DC power draw and exclude any other peripherals, such as cooling fans and hard drives etc. Actual AC power consumption for the motherboard will be anywhere from 15~40% higher than these figures depending upon the efficiency of your power supply.

Motherboard Power Consumption - Idle Power - i5 661 CPU - IGP

Motherboard Power Consumption - HD Video Playback - i5 661 CPU

Motherboard Power Consumption - OCCT Small FFT - i5 661 CPU

The H55N-USB3's idle power consumption is excellent, although you lose out on efficiency under load compared to boards from Intel and ECS. We suspect this is due to Gigabyte's choice of a more robust VRM to aid in overclocking. The Intel DH57JG does not support Lynnfield processors, while ECS's model is confined to a 87W TDP cap.

Board Features, Software and BIOS Gaming and 3D Performance
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  • Rajinder Gill - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    I've just searched the web and found reports of TV tuner cards working with the Intel DH57JG with a Clarkdale CPU. Hope this helps shed a bit of light. I'll get some PCIe cards in to help out with testing this end too.

    I will contact Gigabyte for you first thing. Which motherboard is it?

    Regards
    Raja
    Reply
  • ajp_anton - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    Motherboard: ga-h55m-ud2h
    Tuner: pxdtv 2300h

    Doesn't really matter to me now, I sold it and went for AMD instead.
    Reply
  • Khenke - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    Was planing to build an ultra compact gaming rig (and build a case my self) with this moderboard an i5 750 and HD5850. My aim was to OC the 750 to 3.8GHz and use the H50 to cool it, but thanks to you guys I now know I have to wait until Asus releases a mini-itx card and do it right.

    But what would be nice is if you could test any other cooling on it that fit (so we know if any coolers at all fit), preferably low profile coolers as I want my case no thicker than 12cm :)

    Thanks for en excellent review.
    Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    If you're willing to do a bit of DIY, you can trim the mount of the H50 down a bit to fit the hole. Not ideal I know. I'll see if Gigabyte have a list of low-profile coolers that will work (or if they'll put a list together) - any updates and I'll post back here.

    -Raja
    Reply
  • forumator - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    Nice, would be great to have that info, thanks Rajinder. Reply
  • Khenke - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    Ah. Thanks Raja.
    Since I'm planing to make an all aluminum 19x27x12cm (inner size so add max 1cm for the material) case a little work on the H50 wont be much of a problem :)

    But I am very interested in a list with low-profile coolers too, since I could slim it down 1cm then.. :)
    The H50 was the solution for a very bad placed cpu socket.
    Been hunting some info on compatible coolers but with no luck so far.
    I so want to get my gaming rig in a backpack..
    Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    Off the bat, anything push-pin will work. Not sure how many push pin type coolers there are that make any sense over the Intel cooler though.

    Anything with a screw clamp fitting will need to be assessed on a case by case basis, as there are also some SMT resistors and a couple of what look to be feedback compensation capacitors to the left of the hole (near the circled transistor). You really don't want to knock those off or damage them.

    I'll ping GB in the morning and see if they want to put together a list for their homepage - I suspect a lot of people will appreciate the info. I only have a couple of old tower sinks and the H50 at hand, so I've either gotta scour around the web hoping I call it right, or enlist some help :)

    -Raja
    Reply
  • jaydee - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    I am glad you posted results from "AutoCAD 2010 x64—Cadalyst 2008" with both the IGP and the discrete video card. Is there any chance we can see this benchmark on video card reviews (Ryan)? I'd be really interested in seeing a comparison of 3D benchmarks as well as games across the video card spectrum. Reply
  • forumator - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    Would have liked more info on what aftermarket coolers will fit with a graphics card in the pcix slot...especially ones that would fit in a small case, this is a MITX board after all Reply
  • jaydee - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    I would think that'd be way more dependant on the case, than it would be the motherboard. Reply

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