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

    This board was announced back in March. Why are they re-releasing another announcement about it?
    http://forum.giga-byte.co.uk/index.php?topic=1562....

    Still, I've been very much looking forward to this board, as it presents features that Zotac and others don't. 5 SATA ports. RAID on H55. USB 3.0. Possible OC capabilities. Etc. With this board I can run an SSD, two 1TB drives in RAID 0, my DVDrom drive, and still have that last eSATA for my external.
    Reply
  • Earthmonger - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    Right. Now I'm not impressed.

    After noticing any mention of RAID being absent from this new iteration of the announcement, I started digging, checking the site, downloading PDFs, etc. It would appear all RAID support has been dropped from this board.

    This board might as well be a brick. Such a waste. The only thing it has going for it now is USB3.0, and that isn't enough to even consider buying it. So disappointing.

    Well, what you got, Asus?
    Reply
  • killerclick - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    Yeah, because it doesn't have RAID it's a brick. Who the hell uses RAID anyway? People without girlfriends, that's who. Reply
  • Zok - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    Wow. Way to troll. RAID 5 is a very useful for a media center / backup NAS. Reply
  • killerclick - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    Yeah, because people who use miniITX systems routinely need reading speeds in excess of 150 MB/sec... you know, for video editing and stuff like that. :) Reply
  • Zok - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    I wish someone would buy you a clue. RAID 5 is quite useful in upping capacity, while preserving redundancy. Some people do indeed require more than 2 TB (max single hard disk) of space for backed up games, movies (DVD/Blu-Ray), music, applications, photos, system backups, etc., hence why these boxes are commonly dual-purpose media-centers and NAS appliances. RAID 5 allows you to put 4 x 2TB disks in and still benefit from 6 TB of continuous space, which prevents waste, and single-disk redundancy. Reply
  • killerclick - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    Wow, another dateless wonder I see. As I said, I don't use RAID and it's not needed in miniITX systems which are meant for HTPCs and the like. Unless you're using such a system to store a lot of pirated movies, you don't even need a large hard drive. Reply
  • Zok - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    Yeah, no one uses a mATX system as a hybrid media center and NAS, right. And relying on a single hard drive to keep irreplaceable system backups, home movies and photos safe sounds real smart too. No one could possibly want redundancy and have high capacity needs.

    /sarcasm

    Because YOU don't understand the value in it, doesn't mean there isn't value in it.
    Reply
  • killerclick - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    Yeah, 2TB of irreplaceable data like photos and home movies... with that Torrent program used to download Linux distributions. Please... you're either a pirate with terabytes of illegal movies and software (which are hardly worthy of redundant storage) or you don't need more than 15-20 GB for your irreplaceable backups (just as safe to put them on an external drive and/or DVD and/or encrypted online). In any case it's stupid to use a miniITX and then bitch about how it doesn't have some obscure feature that only virgins know about. Reply
  • Zok - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    Because YOU don't understand the value in it, doesn't mean there isn't value in it.

    P.S. Keep up the dumb childish comments. This is Anandtech. If you think that RAID is an obscure feature that only "virgins" know about, you're on the wrong website.
    Reply

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