Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H Motherboard
The cooling system is expectedly very simple. Due to its low TDP, the chipset hardly needs any special care, so it's covered by a small heatsink, low enough not to prevent you from installing expansions cards. CPU VRM are not cooled at all, which is completely justified, given the number of phases and FETs. This won't let you set new overclocking records, but it's quite enough for any reasonable uses, especially building quiet home theaters. In operation, only the chipset heatsink grows hot, the FETs are sufficiently cooled by enclosure airflow.
The motherboard has no bells and whistles aplenty in enthusiast motherboards. Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H only has a number of phase LEDs indicating CPU load and the corresponding number of active VRM phases. Unlike POST indication, this is quite useless, but it comes free of charge, so why not.
Of course, Gigabyte, like all other motherboard makers, advertizes this feature as proprietary and supplies the Dynamic Energy Saver 2 utility to control it. By the way, the latter has some useful functions as well -- it allows adjusting and switching between power-saving modes. Other useful tools include EasyTune 6 that provides lots of low-level system information as well as advanced monitoring features, smart fan controls and various overclocking modes.
Since we got this motherboard in with OEM bundle, there's nothing we can add to what's provided on the official page. According to it, Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H only comes with a couple of cables, a manual and a software CD. Well, this should be enough anyway.
The rear panel demonstrates the potential of this motherboard, offering the maximum implementation of Intel HD Graphics: four different video outputs (you don't see motherboards equipped with DisplayPort often) of which two can works simultaneously and independently. Besides, motherboard's BIOS lets the integrated graphics work in parallel with the discrete graphics, something Intel motherboards based on H55 lack. However, only the D-Sub port will function in that case. Speaking of audio, if you're not completely happy with outputting it via HDMI or DP, you can also use the digital S/PDIF-Out or a set of analog interfaces. The basic functionality is further enriched with the aforementioned FireWire and eSATA. Thus, USB 3.0 is the only thing we'd like to see here. That and more USB ports.
The motherboard is based on the Intel H55 (H55 PCH). The additional controllers include:
- Integrated audio based on 7.1+2-channel Realtek ALC889 HDA codec with frontal I/O connector, optical S/PDIF-Out (Toslink) on the rear panel, S/PDIF-In/Out on the PCB;
- Gigabit LAN based on Realtek RTL8111D (PCIe x1);
- IDE based on JMicron JMB368 (PCIe x1) supporting 2 IDE (PATA) devices, including CD/DVD drives;
- FireWire based on Texas Instruments TSB43AB23 (PCI) supporting 2 ports (one of the rear panel).
Realtek drivers for this motherboard provide no additional support for DTS/Dolby features. The digital S/PDIF supports both popular sampling frequencies 44.1kHz and 48kHz. We tested the integrated audio solution using RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.0 and a Terratec DMX 6fire sound card. Overall grade: Very Good.
|Frequency response (40Hz to 15kHz), dB:
|Noise level, dB(A)
|Dynamic range, dB(A)
|THD + noise, dB(A)
|IMD + noise, %
|Channel crosstalk, dB
|IMD at 10 kHz, %
The inexpensive Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H may become a good foundation for a home theater or just for a simple home PC. If you in pressing need of SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0, you should consider other solutions. But in all other respects we have no complaints. This compact motherboard has reasonable layout and offers the complete basic functionality supplemented with FireWire and eSATA. Its key feature, however, is the full-fledged implementation of Intel HD Graphics, HDMI and DisplayPort included.
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