Spill ’em all
No prizes if you spot the irregularity in the photograph above: There really isn’t any IDE interface available on the GA-H55N-USB3.
Star of the Show
Connectivity options are aplenty: Older PS/2 and VGA ports exist alongside newcomers, such as the two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 host controller ports – decked out in blue. The only recent, consumer-oriented video interface that is not available here is DisplayPort.
I was saddened to discover that GIGABYTE has completely struck the IEEE 1394 option off the GA-H55N-USB3 mainboard. While the popularity of IEEE 1394 products amongst consumers is arguable to begin with, there exists a substantial ecology of IEEE 1394 devices made for the digital content creation industry. That said, content creators are not likely to scrap a fully-functional Hasselblad CFV-39 Digital Back, or a RME FireFace 800 Audio Interface, simply for the purpose of migrating to mini-ITX form factor workstations.
Audiophiles who wish to use the GA-H55N-USB3 with some of the better-regarded D/A converters, such as the Prism Sound Orpheus or Weiss DAC202, would need to populate the mainboard’s only PCIe expansion slot with a (third-party) IEEE 1394 host controller card dedicated to the purpose.
Five SATA 3 Gb/s ports are available on the GA-H55N-USB3, of which one is routed to the back panel eSATA port. It’s a shame to see that one of the six SATA 3 Gb/s ports available on the Intel® H55 Express Chipset has been disabled.
The curious 11-pin “DEBUG_PORT” provides serial access for the experimental.