Gigabyte GA-H55M-S2 review

14 Sep 2010
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Gigabyte GA-H55M-S2
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
58
inc VAT

One of the cheapest LGA1156 boards we've ever seen, it scrimps on extras but has all the essentials.

Specifications

LGA1156, microATX, Intel H55 Express chipset, supports: Core i3, Core i5, Core i7

Gigabyte’s GA-H55M-S2 is a remarkably cheap microATX LGA1156 motherboard, suitable for building a media centre PC or simply putting together a desktop on a budget. It doesn’t support the latest standards like SATA III or USB3 but these can easily be added with expansion cards.

More important for budget builders is support for Intel’s on-chip graphics processing, with VGA and DVI ports on the back - HDMI is sadly missing, though. The back panel has an impressive eight USB ports and even two PS/2 ports for a keyboard and mouse. There are just three 3.5mm stereo outputs, capable of outputting 5.1 analogue surround sound; if you want to use both a mic and surround sound, you’ll have to use a front panel connector for the microphone. There are no digital audio outputs.

Gigabyte GA-H55M-S2

Onboard, you’ll find a single PCI-E x16 slot for a graphics card, with two PCI slots below it. One of these will be blocked if you use a dual-height graphics card. There’s also a PCI-E x1 slot. This provides enough expandability to add extra features, such as TV tuner and sound card. There are six SATA ports but no IDE or floppy connectors for legacy storage.

Unusually, there are just two memory slots. These can handle up to 8GB of RAM each, but consumer DIMMs of this size are neither cheap nor widely available, so you’ll probably be limited to a maximum of 8GB. This is still enough for most home users. There are two extra USB headers, but little else.

Performance in our benchmark tests was good, with an overall score of 134. Although the absence of an HDMI port or digital audio output means that the GA-H55M-S2 isn’t ideal for media centre use, at just £58 it’s a great choice if you’re looking to build a compact and low-cost LGA1156 PC. It’s a Budget Buy.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor socket LGA1156
Form factor microATX
Size 244x210mm
Processor support Core i3, Core i5, Core i7
Processor external bus 133MHz (2.0GB/s Direct Media Interface)
Chipset north bridge Intel H55 Express
Chipset south bridge Intel H55 Express
Passively-cooled north bridge yes
Integrated graphics Yes
Supported memory type DDR3 800/1066/1333/1600
Maximum memory speed PC3-10600
Memory slots 2
Maximum memory 16GB
Dual-channel support yes

Buying Information

Price £58
Supplier http://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop
Details www.gigabyte.com.tw

Internal Ports

Power connectors 1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin ATX
PCI-E x16 slots 1
Dual graphics architecture none
PCI-E x4 slots 0
PCI-E x1 slots 1
PCI slots 2
Fan headers 2
Floppy ports 0
IDE ports 0
Serial ATA ports 6
RAID chipset (max disks) none

Features

Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Sound (ports) Realtek ALC888B (3x analogue out)
USB2 ports / headers 8/2
Firewire ports / headers 0/0
Legacy ports 2x PS/2
Other ports VGA, DVI
Cables included 2x SATA
Brackets included none
Software included drivers only

Setup and Overclocking

Voltage adjustment CPU/RAM/Chipset
CPU clock max adjustment 600MHz

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