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Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H review

Gigabyte has the digital video bases covered with its latest pint-sized powerhouse

Our Verdict

All the board you'll ever need for just £75? Not quite, but Gigabyte comes close

For

  • Fab value for money
  • Fantastic overclocking performance

Against

  • DisplayPort connectivity
  • Limited I/O a problem for the future

At-a-glance Gigabyte has nailed it with the fab, affordable, full-featured H55M UD2H motherboard. It ticks all our boxes. It may be a compact MicroATX motherboard, for example, but it still packs a pair of 16-lane PCI Express graphics ports.

Thanks to the H55 chipset, it's also about as flexible as it gets for an Intel compatible motherboard. Drop in any LGA1156 CPU and you can be sure you're getting the most out of it. That includes Intel's new Clarkdale Core i3 and Core i5 'fusion' chips. You know, the little dual-core blighters with on-package graphics.

Gigabyte has gone one better than most H55 boards by providing not just HDMI, DVI and VGA video connectivity, but also a DisplayPort socket. You could argue, of course, that Clarkdale's graphics are so ghastly that any video-out functionality is moot. But being able to boot your PC without the graphics card installed is a handy debugging tool.

Likewise, support for Intel's integrated graphics could give this board a second life as the basis of a low-power media or home cinema PC once its front line duties are done.

Top clocks

Even more impressive is the sheer performance on offer. A 200MHz result in our base clock contest is good enough for equal first place. But thanks to deft handling of Intel's Turbo Mode feature, the H55M UD2H beats all comers with a maximum CPU frequency of 4.2GHz. That includes even Asus' weapons-grade Maximus III Extreme, a board that comes at a near-£200 premium.

And remember, that frequency is courtesy of stock voltages and a standard cooler. Corners cut Affordability usually comes at a cost and this bargainous board is no exception.

The most notable non-attendees are USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps. Odds are, 18 months from now their absence will be smartly felt. If future-proofing is a major priority, you'll need to look elsewhere.

It's also worth noting that Intel has surgically removed RAID support from the H55 chipset. Specific to this board, enthusiast-friendly frills, such as hardware power switches and coolers for the VRMs are likewise absent. We're not that keen on the close proximity of the RAM slots and primary graphics, either.

We feel obliged to chalk up a minor demerit regarding ease of overclocking. Keeping memory speeds in check when cranking up the CPU clock is essential for stability. The other boards here can be configured to do that job for you. Not so with the H55M UD2H. You'll have to manually set the memory divider to a suitable level.

Oh, and it turns out that the second PCI Express x16 port is only wired for four lanes. But don't let that give you the wrong idea. At this price and with this sort of table-topping performance, Gigabyte quite literally has a winner on its hands.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelH55 Express
Multi GPU SupportedCrossFireX
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots2
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket 1156
Brand NameGigabyte
Form FactorATX
Processor SupportedCore i7, Core i5, Core i3
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory16 GB
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, WEEE
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Number of PCI Slots2
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of IDE Interfaces1
Number of SATA Interfaces6
Number of Total Expansion Slots4
HDMIYes
DVIYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
DisplayPortYes
Total Number of USB Ports6
Total Number of FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports1
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports3
Total Number of Onboard FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
Total Number of PCI Express Slots2
Processor TechnologyEnhanced SpeedStep Technology
Width244 mm
Depth230 mm
ManufacturerGIGABYTE Technology, Inc
Product ModelGA-H55M-UD2H
Product NameUltra Durable 3 GA-H55M-UD2H Desktop Board
Controller TypeFloppy Controller, Serial ATA/300, Ultra ATA/133 (ATA-7)
Manufacturer Part NumberGA-H55M-UD2H
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.giga-byte.com
Marketing Information

GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 3 GA-H55M-UD2H Desktop Board features the industry's first consumer desktop motherboard design to introduce 2 ounces of copper for both the Power and Ground layers, delivering a dramatically lower system temperature, improved energy efficiency and enhanced stability for overclocking.

Package Contents
  • Ultra Durable 3 GA-H55M-UD2H Desktop Board
  • Motherboard Driver Disk
  • User's Manual
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • 1 x IDE Cable
  • 2 x SATA 3Gb/s Cables
  • I/O Shield