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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77 Comments

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  • jakefalcons - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    I would choose a gigabyte motherboard over a dfi one right now seeing as how dfi is pulling out of the retail motherboard. just my 2 cents Reply
  • jakefalcons - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    edit *retail market excuse me >< Reply
  • Soulkeeper - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    That's a nice looking board.
    Gigabyte is my favorite right now :)
    Would be good to see an AMD mini-itx too
    Reply
  • jaydee - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    ECS did us all a favour by introducing their H55H-I at an incredible $79, forcing Intel and Zotac to lower the price of competing models down to $110.


    Where can you get the Zotac board for ~$110? It's ~$138 at newegg right now.
    Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    Sorry my bad. I heard Zotac were going to shift the price down to $110. Corrected!

    Regards
    Raja
    Reply
  • bumble12 - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    Newegg did have the Zotac for $110 a couple weeks ago when I was seriously considering getting one. They're always adjusting prices based on stock / demand... Reply
  • P4spooky - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    Great review. Would be nice if you can start including some HTPC specific tests in your review especially for boards targeted for the HTPC market like this one. I would like to see Audio bitstreaming capability, any issues related to it for example. Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - link

    Hi,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I'll discuss this with the rest of the team and see what we can come up with.

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

    I second the need fore HTPC specific tests. I was really expecting that they would be some in his since I believe the Zotac review leaned in that direction as well. I'd REALLY like to see a shootout HTPC wise with the Zotac vs ECS vs Gigabyte!!

    BTW, could anyone suggest a mini ITX case with an external 5.25 external slot I could put a bluray drive in? Are there any slot loading bluray drives anywhere on the market?
    Reply
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