Budget Computing: Nine H55 And H57 Motherboards Compared

Overclocking Results

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
 ASRock
H55M-Pro
Asus
P7H55D-M EVO
Biostar
TH55XE
CPU Base Clock100-300 MHz (1 MHz)80-500 MHz (1 MHz)133-800 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU MultiplierYesYesYes
iGPU Clock133-1333 MHz (33)133-1500 MHz (33)133-2000 MHz (33)
DRAM Data RatesBCLK x6 - x10* (x2)BCLK x6 - x10* (x2)BCLK x6 - x10* (x2)
PCIe Clock50-150 MHzNot Adjustable100-150 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.84-1.60V (6.25mV)0.85-1.70V (6.25mV)-0.08 to +0.20V (20mV)
GPU Core0.85-1.46V (12.5mV)0.5-1.75V (12.5mV)+0.60V (20mV)
Uncore Voltage1.11-1.55V (62.5mV)1.10-1.90V (20mV)1.15-2.08V (15mV)
PCH Core1.05, 1.15, 1.25V1.05V, 2.00V (10mV)1.01-1.25V (50mV)
DRAM Voltage1.30-2.05V (50mV)1.20-2.20V (20mV)1.30-2.55V (15mV)
CAS Latency6-11 Cycles3-11 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRCD3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRP3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRAS9-31 Cycles3-31 Cycles9-63 Cycles
BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
 ECS H55H-IEVGA
P55 FTW
Foxconn
H55MX-S
CPU Base Clock133-600 MHz (1MHz)133-300 MHz (1 MHz)Not Adjustable
CPU MultiplierYes**YesYes
iGPU ClockNot AdjustableNot AdjustableNot Adjustable
DRAM Data RatesBCLK x6 - x10* (x2)BCLK x6 - x10* (x2)BCLK x6 - x10* (x2)
PCIe Clock100-200 MHz (1 MHz)80-200 MHz (1 MHz)Not Adjustable
CPU Vcore+0.63V (10mV)-0.4 to +0.63V (10mV)Not Adjustable
GPU CoreNot Adjustable+1.00V (25mV)Not Adjustable
Uncore Voltage+0.63V (10mV)1.05-2.00V (25mV)Not Adjustable
PCH CoreNot Adjustable1.05-1.50V (25mV)Not Adjustable
DRAM Voltage+0.63V (10mV)1.20-2.13V (10mV)+50 to 350mV (50mV)
CAS Latency3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRCD3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRP3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRAS9-63 Cycles9-63 Cycles9-63 Cycles
BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
 Gigabyte
H55M-USB3
Intel
DH57JG
MSI
H55M-ED55
CPU Base Clock100-600 MHz (1 MHz)133-240 MHz (1 MHz)100-600 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU MultiplierYesNoYes
iGPU Clock400-2000 MHz (1)Not Adjustable133-1333 MHz (33)
DRAM Data RatesBCLK x6 - x10* (x2)BCLK x6 - x10* (x2)BCLK x6 - x10* (x2)
PCIe Clock90-150 MHz (1 MHz)100-110 MHz (1 MHz)90-190 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.50-1.90V (6.25mV)Not Adjustable+0.303V (6.1mV)
GPU Core0.20-1.68V (12.5mV)Not Adjustable 
Uncore Voltage1.05-1.49V (20mV)1.10-1.25V (50mV)0.47-2.038V (5.3mV)
PCH Core0.95-1.50V (20mV)Not Adjustable0.451-1.953V (5mV)
DRAM Voltage1.30-2.60V (20mV)1.20-1.70V (50mV)0.93-2.43V (15mV)
CAS Latency5-15 Cycles5-16 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRCD1-15 Cycles5-16 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRP1-15 Cycles5-16 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRAS1-31 Cycles15-75 Cycles9-63 Cycles


Of today’s motherboards, only the Foxconn H55MX-S completely lacked BIOS overclocking controls, while only Intel’s DH57JG completely lacked CPU multiplier control. That drops Foxconn from several charts, while limiting Intel’s base clock and memory frequency tests.

Our first Core i3-530 processor failed during a routine reboot at a mere 1.35V setting. Unable to determine whether the failure was the result of a voltage spike or an overly aggressive setting, we took the more cautious approach of retesting all boards at a 1.30V CPU core limit.

Biostar has put great effort into establishing a reputation as the best-value overclocking brand, and its results here are quite impressive. At a mere 1.30V limit, our low-cost dual-core reached nearly 4.4 GHz.

With no CPU core voltage adjustment, Intel’s mini-ITX motherboard topped out just short of 3.6 GHz.

Gigabyte’s base clock lead nearly shocked us, while EVGA’s deficit would be most easily explained by poor BIOS support for our Core i3-530 processor. With an unchangeable multiplier, Intel’s DH57JG uses the same base clock in this test as it had during our previous max CPU clock attempt.

Gigabyte’s support for higher base clocks extends to its higher DRAM bus clock, while EVGA’s base clock problem also translates to a DRAM overclocking issue, again most easily explained by a BIOS that’s not properly configured for our processor model.

Tiny motherboards with fewer components use less power.

Low power and average performance give the smallest motherboards an efficiency lead and the largest model an efficiency deficit.

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  • wintermint
    Nvm, it's on the CPU.
    -7
  • Crashman
    wintermintDo anyone know how good is the integrated graphics found in these mobos? Can it handle some games?


    It's not on the motherboard, it's on the CPU. Different CPU's have different clock speeds for the GPU. And it can't even play most games, let alone play them smoothly:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-clarkdale-core-i5-661,2514-11.html
    1
  • liquidsnake718
    useless... this is just for HD movies and simple web based games, onboard gpus on motherboards are even better than this intel..... i wonder if this was larrabee...... or if larabee will really come to fruitition as I read in a toms article its basically dead.... however i wonder if this was larrabee.....
    -10
  • anamaniac
    I'm sad to see Quantum Force (Foxconn's enthusiast line, such as the Bloodrage) die.
    At least Foxconn still makes really cheap stuff...

    Honestly though, I'm more interested what's the lowest voltage you can get on stock clocks and DDR3 1066 cas6.
    =)
    2
  • dertechie
    wintermintDo anyone know how good is the integrated graphics found in these mobos? Can it handle some games?


    The IGP is integrated into the Clarkdale CPU. I believe it is simply a further evolution of the X4500HD, and can at least now claim to be on rough par with ATI's integrated graphics, assuming that AMD hasn't done much to up the ante in the 800-series chipsets. Check the reviews of the i5-661 and the i3-5x0s. The 661 is the fastest IGP they sell (there's a reason reviewers all got that particular chip), at 900 MHz, the others are clocked at 733 MHz or 533 MHz. No, it can't run Crysis.

    Larrabee is dead, it wasn't worth it to Intel to actually build it. The project isn't dead, but Larrabee Mk I will never see mass production silicon.
    0
  • enzo matrix
    Why do you guys only ever compare P55 and P57 boards? What about AM3? Or even 775 and AM2+?
    -2
  • anamaniac
    wintermintDo anyone know how good is the integrated graphics found in these mobos? Can it handle some games?


    http://techgage.com/article/overclocking_intels_core_i5-661/1

    Intel i5-661.
    CPU at 4.3GHz. IGP at 1133MHz. Both are at stock clocks.
    ASUS P7H55D-M EVO
    Crysis Warhead (1024x768, assuming low settings), 26FPS.

    It can play Crysis. =)
    -3
  • ta152h
    enzo matrixWhy do you guys only ever compare P55 and P57 boards? What about AM3? Or even 775 and AM2+?


    At least they moved to H55/H57, which is a platform that should sell a lot, rather than the brain-damaged P55 platform, which most sites spend a lot of time trying to convince (not that successfully, based on the bad sales) is a great platform.

    Lynnfield/P55 is such a strange product, and appeals to such a limited segment of the market. It's not cheap, but it's a high-end product either. So, you get squeezed by x58, which is the real platform, or LGA 775, and now H55/H57 from below. It's not a big market segment, and I think it makes Intel's line a little confusing to average consumers, especially since the Clarksdale CPUs overlap it in cost from below, and the Bloomfield do from above.

    It's obvious Intel didn't want to release CPUs with an IMC for the mainstream until they could move the IGP on-board the CPU. Since the IGP has to use the memory controller, there are compromises however you do it when you have an IMC. You either go to the processor, or you add the logic on the IGP (making it redundant), so Intel avoided that problem by putting it on the processor. The P55 is again neither fish nor fowl. It's got limited PCIe lanes, but doesn't have an IGP either.

    There's a small segment where it makes sense. It's power efficient and the performance is only slightly less than Bloomfield in many situations, but I think the average consumer is going to find the H55/H57 much better for their needs (an IGP is critical in this market), and the enthusiast will want the full-blown Bloomfield. For that reason I think these motherboards are significant even though the P55 isn't. Maybe you don't want it, but, you'll probably have a friends/family neighbors asking about a computer with these products. They aren't technical marvels with their weird memory controller placed in the video controller, but aside from the distasteful technical compromises Intel made, they still address the market and needs of most people very well. The only one that is so offensive I could never bring myself to recommending is the new Pentium version. It probably is fine for most people, but it's so offensive, it's painful to recommend. I think LGA 775 is better at that point. Or AMD, of course.
    0
  • daniel266
    WOW ! one more article about intel !! why im not suprised... hope that this comment dont disapear magically...
    -5
  • JohnnyLucky
    Thank you for including audio & video encoding benchmarks and productivity benchmarks.
    0
  • sublifer
    This isn't budget computing/motherboards. ~$100 motherboards have always been available and are considered mid-range... Show us LGA1156 boards for $50-$70 and then we'll be talking budget stuff that office builders can use, but then we'd also need ~$70 CPUs as well. Nice to see the almost-full-featured mini-itx boards though. I really want those to get more popular but agree a second slot (like DTX) would have been even better.
    2
  • sublifer
    A better budget combo with better performance per buck would be a 785G board with an Athlon II x3 like these:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130237
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103724

    Thats $70+75=$145 instead of $110+125=$235
    1
  • JeanLuc
    subliferA better budget combo with better performance per buck would be a 785G board with an Athlon II x3 like these:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813130237http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819103724Thats $70+75=$145 instead of $110+125=$235


    Well don't just leave at that how much better is it "per buck"? Or are you just assuming that because it's cheaper its obviously better value?
    -4
  • Anonymous
    How about the Zotac H55-ITX ??
    0
  • Crashman
    daniel266WOW ! one more article about intel !! why im not suprised... hope that this comment dont disapear magically...


    Intel had a new chipset, why wouldn't a site cover that? Please look for upcoming articles on AMD's new chipset as soon as its released :)
    2
  • Crashman
    subliferThis isn't budget computing/motherboards. ~$100 motherboards have always been available and are considered mid-range... Show us LGA1156 boards for $50-$70 and then we'll be talking budget stuff that office builders can use, but then we'd also need ~$70 CPUs as well. Nice to see the almost-full-featured mini-itx boards though. I really want those to get more popular but agree a second slot (like DTX) would have been even better.


    Higher-ups decided to use the "budget" label, these are actually "value segement" boards for the most part. The author knows the difference between the sub-$100 "budget" market and the $100-140 "value" market, and most of these boards fit into the later.
    -2
  • Crashman
    The WaspHow about the Zotac H55-ITX ??


    Couldn't meet the deadline...this article would have been published two to three weeks earlier if not for a processor failure.
    0
  • Anonymous
    Do you guys plan on eventually doing a review of the Zotac H55-ITX? If that thing can perform it looks like one really sweet board.
    0
  • Crashman
    Nightraptor14Do you guys plan on eventually doing a review of the Zotac H55-ITX? If that thing can perform it looks like one really sweet board.


    Patrick is working on an article using that board :)
    0
  • Anonymous
    Wow I was just thinking about building a budget Intel build for my friend and was wondering about the motherboards. Thanks Tom!
    0