Budget Computing: Nine H55 And H57 Motherboards Compared

Asus P7H55D-M EVO

Premium brand Asus takes features to a higher level with its moderately-priced P7H55D-M EVO, adding independent USB 3.0, eSATA, and Ultra ATA controllers, plus VRM sinks on a brawnier 8+3 phase voltage regulator, compared to lower-cost competitors.

The two USB 3.0 ports will get the most attention from home theater PC builders, who have become the most likely target market for full-feature integrated graphics products. Yet that same USB 3.0 controller might also appeal to compact game system builders, who can ignore the dual monitor-capable HDMI, VGA, and DVI connections in favor of installing the graphics card of their choice.

Our biggest reservation concerning the P7H55D-M EVO layout is the lower-rear corner placement of the front-panel audio header, a location that has caused us building grief as recently as last fall. A swap in positions of the PCIe x16 and x1 slots is somewhat harder to assess, since the design makes the x1 slot the primary expansion point for the riser cards of some low-profile cases. Builders who rely on integrated video will appreciate that the x1 slot doesn’t interfere with the graphics function of appropriate processors, while those who wish to add a better-featured graphics card might be hampered.

Unique to Asus motherboards is the MemOK button, which slows memory speed and timings when engaged to allow easier installation of problematic modules.

BIOS Features

A standard set of overclocking controls combined with an enhanced voltage regulator could make the P7H55D-M EVO an attractive choice for compact game system builders with somewhat limited budgets.

All the most important controls are easily accessible from the Ai Tweaker main menu, with Load-Line Calibration reducing voltage “droop” under full load.

Memory controls are a little more elaborate, but Asus still supplies automatic configuration settings for each timing selection to ease manual configuration.

Up to eight custom BIOS configurations can be stored as user profiles, allowing tuners to store a known stable configuration before trying something that might not be bootable.


As with ASRock, Asus disappoints slightly by including only two SATA cables. However, it surprises us by also adding a legacy Ultra ATA ribbon to the P7H55D-M EVO’s installation kit.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • wintermint
    Nvm, it's on the CPU.
  • 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:

  • 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.....
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • enzo matrix
    Why do you guys only ever compare P55 and P57 boards? What about AM3? Or even 775 and AM2+?
  • anamaniac
    wintermintDo anyone know how good is the integrated graphics found in these mobos? Can it handle some games?

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

    It can play Crysis. =)
  • 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.
  • daniel266
    WOW ! one more article about intel !! why im not suprised... hope that this comment dont disapear magically...
  • JohnnyLucky
    Thank you for including audio & video encoding benchmarks and productivity benchmarks.