In the race to get a USB3 capable mini-ITX motherboard to market, Gigabyte has today announced the first entry into the arena - the GA-H55N-USB3.  Measuring a tiny 17cm x 17cm, this board is a stark contrast the the Gigabyte X58A-UD9 released last week.


USB3 connectivity is achieved via the onboard NEC uPD720200 host controller to two USB3 ports with a bandwidth of 5Gb/s.  The board also provides Gigabyte's 3x USB Power Boost, allowing USB devices a greater power range to work with and devices to charge quicker.  On the board is a full x16 PCI-E 2.0 slot, four SATA 3Gb/s ports, and two DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 8GB.  The back panel features the two USB3 ports, one eSATA 3Gb/s port, four USB2 ports (a further four available from internal headers), Realtek Gigabit Ethernet and 7.1 channel audio, a combined PS2 connection, an optical S/PDIF Out, and HDMI/D-Sub/DVI connectors


According to Tim Handley, Deputy Director of Motherboard Marketing at Gigabyte, "The GIGABYTE GA-H55N-USB3 was designed specifically for users wanting to build the ultimate home entertainment PC".  Usually, a mini-ITX board is just what the doctor orders for such an endeavour, however this also expands into the realm of LAN gaming, where portability and power like to go hand-in-hand.  The H55N-USB3 will support the latest LGA-1156 Core i3 and Core i5 processors with integrated graphics, as well as s1156 Core i7 processors.

Along with On/Off Charge to charge external devices and Gigabyte's DualBIOS providing a backup BIOS in case things go wrong, there are very few things to pick at on this board announcement.  One thing of note is the onboard SATA ports - should a HTPC also become a basic network storage hybrid, more SATA ports would have been a good selling point for the H55N-USB3.  Probably not a huge deal, but looking at the VRM layout we'd guess that HT enabled Lynnfield processor overclocking is going to be limitied - just like other mini-ITX offerings.  

To receive serious consideration we think Gigabyte need to price the H55N-USB3 at around $110 (we've heard predictions of $130). The ECS H55H-I we reviewed earlier this month sets the pace and offers an absurdly cheap, good stock running mini-ITX board for $65 (after $15 rebate).  The Zotac H55-ITX Wi-Fi with 6 SATA ports, 10 USB ports and (obviously) Wi-Fi is now available for $115 (after $15 rebate); and finally the Intel DH57JG has dropped in price from $125 to $110.

More news on the H55N-USB3 is expected to surface at Computex 2010, held in Taiwan on the 1st-5th June.



View All Comments

  • Fujikoma - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    I have to agree with the troll (with the exception on the dateless/virgin stuff). The raid feature really isn't a deal-breaker. No one in my family needs that type of functionality in their computers. The reality is that I've just bought them 1-2 TB external drives and something like the WD media players to run movies, pictures and music. I keep everything backed up at my place.
    Something that size is mostly going to be used for a small system. I don't even bother with RAID because every piece of software I run fits on a 16Gig flashdrive in my fire file and I keep a couple back up HDD's in there also. It's not worth the extra juice for redundancy or speed.
    BTW... the conversation has been amusing to read through. Not too blue.
  • SunSamurai - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    killerclick, please continue. You're extracting a lot of good information from people with your pretending to be a complete douche. Reply
  • FATCamaro - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    Killerclick, I'm loving your replies hahaha. Some feature that only virgins know about. I agree with you btw, RAID 5 on miniITX is pretty useless. Reply
  • killerb255 - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    Wow...way to ad hominem half the comment section you two... Reply
  • AstroGuardian - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    6 TB of continuous space? Dude do you even know what a partition is and how does it work? 6TB? Are you living in Star-trek movie? Reply
  • tomoyo - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    Ahem, hardware raid via intel isn't very fast anyways. An add-on raid card or software raid are still valid options here. Personally I highly prefer ZFS raid over any other option for this board. Reply
  • AstroGuardian - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    And where would you plug it? It the board's a**? Reply
  • Earthmonger - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    Kids these days...

    This box is going to travel up and down Norway, between my brother's place, sister-in-law's (and her husband's) place, and my wife's mother's place (where my wife's brother also lives). We are all avid gamers, but we all share files amongst each other as well. This is a LAN box, not an HTPC; built for easy transport. But why the Hell wouldn't I want RAID? Are you honestly that feeble? Performance for one, redundancy for another.

    Crawl back into the closet with your inflatable sheep, kid.
  • Etern205 - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    The Intel m-itx board has RAID, but its layout made it looked sloppy.
    This one has a clean look to it, but no RAID. :\
  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - link

    Who the hell uses cheap hardware raid anyway? I'd much, much prefer software raid, so that if my board dies, I'm not screwed. Reply

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