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Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H Motherboard

A microATX solution with HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces.

April 14, 2010



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We can't say Gigabyte has been in a hurry to release motherboards on the new integrated chipsets for Intel CPUs with built-in graphics. These chipsets' advantages -- Intel GMA HD graphics which is quite moderate for the majority of modern games -- cannot fully make up for the impossibility of decent SLI/CrossFire configurations, so we'll hardly see top-class products based on H55/H57. Strange is that motherboard makers are not in a hurry to create motherboards tailored for home theaters, one thing Intel's new chipsets and processors do suggest. As for Gigabyte, so far it has been offering a few models suitable for that market, all marked with the "USB3" suffix and supporting the matching interface. We'll post a review of one of those in the future, while today we have a similar motherboard, Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H, rich in video output features, but lacking support for USB 3.0.

Design



The most interesting features of Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H are located on the rear panel, so the top view isn't as captivating. It's a usual microATX motherboard with typical advantages (compact size) and drawbacks (dense layout and the possible obstruction of slots by expansion cards). Note the original set of expansion slots. Gigabyte's entire series of compact motherboards features one full-fledged PCIe x16 slot, one slot connected to four Southbridge lanes (works at PCIe 1.1 speed) and two PCI slots. While it's the PCI slot that will be obstructed by a large graphics card, the layout has a distinct touch of conservatism: the PCB has IDE and FDD connectors, as well as one to connect a COM port bracket, etc. At the same time the motherboard doesn't have many luxuries. The list of secondary controllers includes FireWire, while the eSATA port is implemented as inexpensively as possible -- by relocating one of the chipset ports to the rear panel. Well, we can't say this is bad.



Like other motherboards designed for Clarkdale CPUs, this one has a more complex VRM with three independent PWM controllers: one for the CPU core, one for the uncore block that includes the memory controller, and one for the integrated graphics. The resulting scheme is impressive enough, with 4+2+1 phases and three FETs per phase. Of course, Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H cannot compete with top-class motherboards that have many more independent phases in power converter, but the scheme is completely reasonable nevertheless and it won't interfere with overclocking. Besides, Gigabyte's modern motherboards marked with the "UD" suffix have all the Ultra Durable 3 features, including thicker voltage and grounding planes, polymer capacitors by Nichicon, RDS(ON) FETs and ferrite-core chokes.




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