Motherboards based on the new H55, H57 and Q57 chipsets are targeted to the new Core i3 and Core i5 processors with integrated video, and Gigabyte has so far released three different models based on the Intel H55 chipset. Today we are going to take a look at H55M-USB3, which brings as main feature the presence of USB 3.0 ports.

To show you the differences between the three H55-based motherboards from Gigabyte, we compiled a short table comparing them. As you can see, H55M-USB3 is the most complete model.

  H55M-S2H H55M-UD2H H55M-USB3
Form Factor microATX microATX microATX
Memory 2 sockets 4 sockets 4 sockets
PCI Express x16 slots Two Two Two
PCI Express x1 slots None None None
PCI slots Two Two Two
SATA 6 ports 5 ports, 1 eSATA 7 ports, 1 eSATA
USB 3.0 No No Yes, 2 ports
Audio Codec ALC888B ALC889 ALC889
Video Outputs VGA, DVI-D, HDMI VGA, DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort VGA, DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort

It is important to understand that with socket LGA1156 CPUs the integrated video is produced by the processor and not by the motherboard chipset, as it occurred until now. There are processors with integrated video and processors without this feature. The board has only the interface and connectors necessary to route the video signal generated by the CPU. You can install CPUs with an integrated video processor or without, but with CPUs without a video processor you won’t have on-board video, needing an add-on video card. Of course with a processor with integrated video you still have the option to install an add-on card and disable its video engine. For a more detailed explanation, please read our Core i5-661 review.

As listed on the above table, Gigabyte GA-H55M-USB3 is a microATX motherboard. It features only solid capacitors and 2 oz (56 g) copper tracks, which is the double of the thickness usually used on motherboards. Benefits of this feature include lower temperature and lower electromagnetic interference (a full list of benefits can be seen here).

Gigabyte GA-H55M-USB3 motherboardFigure 1: Gigabyte GA-H55M-USB3 motherboard.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.