For anyone wondering why those words were chosen as the opening paragraph for this review, the reason is that I asked Rich a bit of advice on what the angle should be for this motherboard. Lesson learned. I think what Rich was trying to say though is that this board is incredibly affordable and will likely prove to be highly overclockable.
This is the Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H, a variation of the GA-P55M-UD2. Those of you that read Custom PC magazine will be familiar with latter motherboard as the winner of our sub-£100 Lynnfield motherboards labs test in Issue 77. We'll be having a look at the board and possibly others in that category here on bit-tech soon, but the long and short of it is that the UD2 was an £80 motherboard that can clock the nuts off a Core i5-750. It's a great buy - let's see how the UD2H stacks up.
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Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H Feature List
Support for Intel Lynnfield Core i5, Core i3 and Core i7 LGA1156 CPUs
Intel H55 chipset
Four 1.65V DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 16GB of memory
Realtek 8111D Gigabit Ethernet
Two 16x PCI-Express 2.0 slot
Five 3Gbps SATA ports
12 USB 2.0 ports - six on rear I/O, six via headers
2 FireWire ports - one on the rear and one via a header
Realtek ALC889 7.1-channel High-Definition audio codec, including support for Blu-ray protected audio path
So to start with, let's take a look at the differences as there's a light sprinkling of minor changes which we'll go through first. The P55-UD2 offers a couple more USB 2.0 connections over the H55-UD2H. With 12 to play with though, it's not something that will well up the eyes of most hardware enthusiasts.
Something that might be a little more of an issue is that this board only has five SATA 3Gb/sec ports where as the P55-UD2 has a few more at seven. But even then, five SATA should plenty for most people looking at a budget build, but it might put a dent in any cheap server project. Finally, another small difference is that the H55-UD2H doesn't feature Intel Matrix RAID support. The reason for this is that the H55 chipset is the cheaper of the two new chipsets from Intel, where H57 includes RAID 0, 1, 10 and 5, H55 does not.
As outlined in Rich's Intel GMA-HD feature, the H55 brings compatibility with the on-board graphics capabilities of the Core i3 and i5 CPUs. If you installed a Core i3-530 CPU into the P55-UD2 for example, it would still work and, no doubt, overclock a treat, but you wouldn't be able to used the on-board graphics, not least of all because it doesn't feature any video outputs on the motherboard rear I/O.