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Asus P8H61-M LE review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £67
inc VAT

An inexpensive Sandy Bridge motherboard with some useful tweaking features, but its specification is minimal.


LGA1155, microATX, Intel H61 Express chipset, supports: Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 (Sandy Bridge)

The first wave of Sandy Bridge motherboards were afflicted by a flaw in the chipset – the SATA2 ports could degrade over time. This won’t affect most people (who will simply use the SATA3 ports) and new revisions of these boards are becoming available, but this is the first ‘fixed’ motherboard we’ve seen.

A ‘B3 Revision’ sticker on the box proudly proclaims the P8H61-M LE is in full working order. Not that it makes any difference on this board, as it only has four SATA3 ports and no SATA2.

Asus P8H61-M LE ports

It’s a budget motherboard, in fact it’s the cheapest we’ve seen to date. Its specification is pretty minimal – it has DVI and VGA but no HDMI output for the Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors’ integrated graphics, and only three minijack plugs for the sound card; if you want to run a 7.1 sound system you need to use your case’s front panel HD audio headphone jack to run the side speakers. Disappointingly, the board only has USB2 and not USB3 ports.

Asus P8H61-M LE

You have some room for expansion – with the usual four slots present on a micro ATX board – a PCI Express x16 slot, two PCI Express x1 and a PCI slot. If you fit a graphics card you’ll block one of the PCI Express x1 slots. Even at this price we were disappointed to see only two memory slots, which would make upgrading the memory later from 4GB to 8GB a costly proposition.

Setting up the board for a Windows installation is easy, thanks to Asus’s UEFI, which replaces the traditional BIOS. It’s entirely mouse-driven, and lets you drag and drop boot devices to define the correct order. The UEFI is divided into easy (EZ) and advanced modes – advanced is like a far prettier version of the classic BIOS, with different settings stored in different tabs, along with options to enable or disable system devices, play with the processor multiplier and adjust voltages.

The easy screen keeps overclocking simple – there are just three buttons labelled Power saving, Normal and Asus Optimal, along with a graph showing the noise/performance/power trade-off for each. Turning on Turbo mode didn’t make any difference to our benchmarks, though. We had more luck with Asus’ AI Suite software. This has an Auto Tuning mode, which runs a stress test on your system and pushes up the processor and graphics speeds according to what it thinks it can get away with. After a reboot the software informed us that the CPU was up 14% and GPU up 31%. Again, this made little difference in our application benchmarks, but Call of Duty 4 climbed from 8.6 to 10.5fps, and once we reduced the resolution to 1,024×768 and turned off anti-aliasing the frame rate went from 29.5 to a smooth 36.7fps.

Asus’s P8H61-M LE is a competent budget Sandy Bridge motherboard – its performance is similar to the Asrock H67M-GE, and we were impressed with its UEFI setup program and automatic graphics overclocking for Sandy Bridge processors. However, its specification is too sparse for us to recommend it over Asrock’s better-equipped board, specifically the two memory slots and lack of USB3 ports. That said, if you’re looking for a Sandy Bridge board and every penny matters, then this could fit the bill.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Processor socket LGA1155
Form factor microATX
Size 244x203mm
Processor support Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 (Sandy Bridge)
Processor external bus 100MHz (Sandy Bridge DMI)
Chipset north bridge Intel H61 Express
Chipset south bridge Intel H61 Express
Passively-cooled north bridge yes
Integrated graphics No
Supported memory type DDR3 1066/1333
Maximum memory speed PC3-10600
Memory slots 2
Maximum memory 16GB
Dual-channel support yes

Buying Information

Price £67

Internal Ports

Power connectors 1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 4-pin ATX
PCI-E x16 slots 1
Dual graphics architecture none
PCI-E x4 slots 0
PCI-E x1 slots 2
PCI slots 1
Fan headers 2
Floppy ports 0
IDE ports 1
Serial ATA ports 4
RAID chipset (max disks) none


Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Sound (ports) Realtek ALC887 (3x analogue out, 1x SPDIF out header)
USB2 ports / headers 6/4
Firewire ports / headers 0/0
Legacy ports PS/2, parallel header
Other ports VGA, DVI
Cables included 2x SATA
Brackets included none
Software included Norton Internet Security 2011

Setup and Overclocking

Voltage adjustment CPU/RAM
CPU clock max adjustment N/A

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