thumb GIGABYTE GA H55N USB3 Review: 4 cores & More

The number of publications that have tested this particular mainboard with 4-core Intel® Core™ i5-700 or Intel® Core™ i7-800 processors was worryingly small.

So, we revisit the GIGABYTE GA-H55N-USB3 – a product which has been on the sale for almost two quarters now.


Revisiting the GIGABYTE GA-H55N-USB3

 
Because I was contemplating the GIGABYTE GA-H55N-USB3 mainboard for a small PC serving up basic Web functionality at the workbench, I hunted around for reviews on it. The number of publications that have tested this particular mainboard with 4-core Intel® Core™ i5-700 or Intel® Core™ i7-800 processors was worryingly small. The few reviewers who actually published results of the GA-H55N-USB3 mated to Intel® Core™ i5-700 or Intel® Core™ i7-800 processors, seemed to have some trouble overclocking them.
  
Surely, many of these publications ran “laboratories” with access to Intel® Core™ i5-700 or Intel® Core™ i7-800 processors. Why test a mainboard using a 73 W-maximum Thermal Design Power (TDP) processor when one can choose a 95 W-maximum unit? The nearly unanimous decision taken by reviewers around the globe – to test the GA-H55N-USB3 using 2-core Intel® Core™ i3-500 or Intel® Core™ i5-600 processors - sent a fair few shivers down this scribe’s spine. Was this a collective hint suggesting that the GA-H55N-USB3 dislikes higher TDP, 4-core processors?
 
We had to find out. We were after all, the ones who delivered you peeks of the GA-H55N-USB3 at its infancy.
  
So, we revisit the GIGABYTE GA-H55N-USB3 – a product which has been on the sale for almost two quarters now – to deliver the long overdue review of this mainboard, and investigate its compatibility with the Intel® Core™ i7-860 Processor.

What the Box
Look at the box packaging of the GA-H55N-USB3! One only hopes that GIGABYTE puts as much effort packing features into their mainboards, as packing graphics onto their boxes.
1 GIGABYTE GA H55N USB3 Review: 4 cores & More
Not an inch of space is spared – the box shouts out loud about GIGABYTE’s many proprietary – and not-so-proprietary features.
Of course, nothing spells it out better than a system block diagram:
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Interestingly, this mini-ITX mainboard actually has “full-blown” features such as “DualBIOS™” and (unofficial) DDR3-1600 MHz support (this is misspelt as “1666 MHz” on the block diagram). Like its bigger brethrens, the GA-H55N-USB3 is supposed to be built upon a 2 oz copper Printed Circuit Board (PCB) stack-up.