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Biostar's New Motherboard Gets Nostalgic With H61 Chipset From 2011

(Image credit: Biostar)

It seems like someone at Biostar woke up morning thinking 'Hardware was better in 2011. We should make a new motherboard with 2011 tech on it." We say that because Biostar is launching a reboot of the H61-series chipsets with its new H61MHV2 board. 

The H61MHV2 is a Micro-ATX board, according to Biostar, but looks more like a Mini-ITX format with one extra expansion slot. We suspect it'll fit in Mini-ITX PC cases with two or three expansion slots too. At its center is an LGA1155 CPU socket that supports up to Intel Core i7-3770K CPUs, which can be paired with up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM running no faster than 1,600 MHz. 

The layout gets even weirder though. The memory slots are at the top, the CPU socket is rotated 90 degrees and the chipset 45 degrees. Totally different from modern layouts, the 24-pin ATX connector resides at the top right corner above the memory slots, and the 4-pin EPS connector is awkwardly placed all the way past the CPU between the socket and the rear I/O.

(Image credit: Biostar)

Of course, there are no modern amenities, like such as USB 3.0 or USB Type-C, M.2 slots or PCIe 4.0. Even the SATA ports are of the old SATA II type with only 3 Gbps bandwidth, and PCIe 3.0 is only available when using Ivy Bridge CPUs.

As crazy as this might sound though, it really isn't. Older motherboards tend to go bad around this age while many of the system's other components may still be working. In fact, there's still quite a number of people using a 2nd or 3rd Generation Intel Core processor. 

The second-hand market also reflects this: if you're looking for a replacement motherboard for this older platform, chances are you've experienced quite the sticker shock, even for used boards. 

Of course, that doesn't mean much if we don't know how much Biostar's "new" H61 motherboard will cost. But it could be a good pick for breathing new life into an old PC for non-demanding workloads.

  • gggplaya
    With A320 boards so cheap, and AMD selling 6 core 12 thread processors for $80 and DDR4 ram prices finally back down to affordable, this motherboard is a hard sell. Even first gen Ryzen has better single core performance than this generation of Intel processors.
    Reply
  • thew118
    This is cool...but the inferior chipset and bonkers layout are dealbreakers for me. I could really use a new Z68 or Z77 board. Given the price difference between high-end and low-end LGA1155 mobos on Ebay, I don’t think I’m the only one. I’m still happily gaming on an i5-2500k, but with a CPU that old, it’s important to be able to take advantage of the unlocked multiplier.

    Like I said, this is still really cool and totally unexpected. As mentioned in the article, I think the target market is probably users with less demanding workloads. If someone wants to keep their Sandy/Ivy Bridge-based HTPC or productivity PC running, I hope this will make them happy.
    Reply
  • thew118
    gggplaya said:
    With A320 boards so cheap, and AMD selling 6 core 12 thread processors for $80 and DDR4 ram prices finally back down to affordable, this motherboard is a hard sell. Even first gen Ryzen has better single core performance than this generation of Intel processors.

    I didn’t exactly win the lottery with my i5-2500k, but I can still hit 4.5GHz on all 4 cores with air cooling. Even 2nd-Gen Ryzen doesn’t boost that high. I admit that it probably isn’t hard to squeeze better overall performance out of a Ryzen-based system, but like you said, it’s a matter of replacing more than just a motherboard. Even if you can find great deals on CPUs and RAM, all that new hardware will still add up.

    I also think waste should always be a consideration here. Ultimately, if you’ll get more years of use from a more modern upgrade, then it might be less wasteful to go with a new mobo/CPU/RAM. But if that isn’t necessary, you may as well go with the most minimal replacement possible rather than throwing a bunch of functional hardware in the trash.
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    The problem is IPC on the 2xxx series intel chips is nowhere near modern chips. The 2500k overclocked at 4.5ghz is about equivalent to single core 4690k stock performance. Which is fairly equivalent to a Ryzen 2600 stock clock performance: https://www.gamersnexus.net/guides/2773-intel-i5-2500k-revisit-benchmark-for-2017/page-2

    Add to that the VRM's on this biostar board don't have any heatsinks, and are probably not that great. Who knows if you'll be able to get the same 4.5ghz overclock.

    That makes this board a hard sell. Like deciding whether or not to put a new transmission in your current car, or trade in for a new one.
    Reply
  • MikeMK2
    thew118 said:
    I didn’t exactly win the lottery with my i5-2500k, but I can still hit 4.5GHz on all 4 cores with air cooling. Even 2nd-Gen Ryzen doesn’t boost that high. I admit that it probably isn’t hard to squeeze better overall performance out of a Ryzen-based system, but like you said, it’s a matter of replacing more than just a motherboard. Even if you can find great deals on CPUs and RAM, all that new hardware will still add up.

    I also think waste should always be a consideration here. Ultimately, if you’ll get more years of use from a more modern upgrade, then it might be less wasteful to go with a new mobo/CPU/RAM. But if that isn’t necessary, you may as well go with the most minimal replacement possible rather than throwing a bunch of functional hardware in the trash.

    4.5GHz from sandy bridge is slower than 4.0GHz from Ryzen first gen.

    Ryzen First gen have better IPC than Haswell.
    Reply
  • plateLunch
    Are you sure this board is targeted at the board replacement market? I'm suspecting it may actually be targeted for the embedded OEM market.

    I used to work for a company that used Asus P8H61-I boards in rack systems that were manufactured by the thousands. The systems are probably still current since the board is a controller running embedded Win7 and the high performance was in the RF hardware controlled by the motherboard.

    If there are other manufacturers with similar setups, I would think that would be much more likely customer for this motherboard. A quick check of the Intel website to see if they are still producing CPUs for this motherboard would support this idea.
    Reply
  • Darkbreeze
    gggplaya said:
    With A320 boards so cheap, and AMD selling 6 core 12 thread processors for $80 and DDR4 ram prices finally back down to affordable, this motherboard is a hard sell. Even first gen Ryzen has better single core performance than this generation of Intel processors.

    Not really. Especially not in other, less developed regions like many of those in the middle east, South America, Africa and other places where the latest, or even hardware from the last few years, is not always readily available but often this much older tech as well as stuff like the Phenom II and AM3+ hardware is plentiful. In places like that, we see PLENTY of people still rocking Sandy and Ivy hardware and doing so happily. Heck, many of them are lucky to have even P4 or Core2 hardware, so a board like this that is likely no more expensive than any other average motherboard, might see strong sales especially in those regions since CPUs and memory tend to last FAR longer than the motherboards they are in most of the time.
    Reply
  • larkspur
    gggplaya said:
    Add to that the VRM's on this biostar board don't have any heatsinks, and are probably not that great. Who knows if you'll be able to get the same 4.5ghz overclock.
    It's H61 so it won't be overclocking.
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    A couple of years ago I bought a H61 board in an attempt to upgrade a second gen i3 system that I wasn't ready to give up on. I ended up not needing the board.

    I held onto it a year or so and was surprised that it sold easily for more than I paid for it.

    PS:
    With a SATA SSD and a USB 3.0 upgrade the system is still meeting my needs.
    Reply
  • Darkbreeze
    larkspur said:
    It's H61 so it won't be overclocking.
    Exactly. Nobody is going to be overclocking on this chipset.
    Reply