Gigabyte GA-H55M-S2 review
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.
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.
|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|
|Supported memory type||DDR3 800/1066/1333/1600|
|Maximum memory speed||PC3-10600|
|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|
|Serial ATA ports||6|
|RAID chipset (max disks)||none|
|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|
|Software included||drivers only|
Setup and Overclocking
|CPU clock max adjustment||600MHz|