These platforms are primarily meant for running lean. Low power, low noise, and low thermal requirements are all hallmarks of the mini-ITX platform. For consumption testing, I ran the system with just the processor, memory, SSD, and extra hard drive to simulate a realistic power load.
If there were a GTX 480 installed while monitoring, the consumption would be more like 190 watts idle and 375+ plus watts load through our wall socket power meter. While my Silverstone SG07 is up to the task, it defeats the general purpose of these platforms. Keep power consumption in mind if you plan on packing a power hungry video card beast in your mini-ITX system.
The great thing about these systems is that they use very little power. You don’t have to worry about it tripping any breakers or shutting down your local power grid. When coupled with a good Core i3 or i5 Clarksdale processor, this little mini-ITX motherboard helps create an extremely capable home theater system. Add your favorite Core i7 Hyperthreaded processor and you now have a system capable of quick encoding. Throwing power consumption out the window by adding a capable video card turns it in to one hell of a gaming system.
Another great thing for enthusiasts is that H55N-USB3 has some serious overclocking muscle hiding underneath that blue PCB. This board flexes CPU bus clocks over 200MHz, if you’re willing to risk the voltage and your processor. If you’re using or planning to push these frequencies, you’re going to want to use a good performance CPU cooler. Since, Small Form Factor (SFF) enclosures don’t allow for very tall coolers, might I suggest a Silverstone SG07 or DangerDen LAN Tower accompanied by a lower profile heat pipe Zalman CNPS8000 cooler. We don’t want you falling victim to an ITX cook off!
Ultimately, I found myself kind of missing WiFi. If you like the idea of being able to move this box around effortless, this is a must have feature. But, the lack there of isn’t completely a downer. That’s because you can find USB WiFi adapters for as little as $15 USD up to $30 for feature rich models. That’s not too much extra at all being that the little board only requires $95 to $105 USD of your hard earned money.
What more can I say? It’s small, it’s fast, it sports a full speed PCIE x16 slot for graphics lovers, and USB 3.0 for the guy who needs speedy access to his terabytes of media files. The GIGABYTE GA-H55N-USB3 has big teeth and is ready to use them!
- Extremely capable mini-ITX for Small Form Factor systems
- Supports Intel Clarksdale processor with integrated graphics
- USB 3.0 support for fast storage access
- Standard GIGABYTE 3 year warranty
- Full speed PCIE x16 slot
- Overclocks very well for its purpose
- Small $100 level price tag
- No integrated WiFi
- PCIE slot location may limit CPU cooler sizes
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
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