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Gigabyte H55M-USB3 – The Ultimate $100 H55 Board?
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by Rob Williams on March 8, 2010 in Intel Motherboards

Finding a great H55 board to match up with your Clarkdale CPU isn’t hard, as the market currently has a great selection. But Gigabyte’s H55M-USB3 stands out, as it has a superb feature-set for its ~$100 price tag, and also proves itself in our tests as being a great all-around board, and one that seems to have no limit in overclocking.

System: SYSmark 2007 Preview

Synthetic benchmarks have typically been favored for performance testing, but the results they provide can be fairly abstract, and the methods they use to assign their scores can be dubious at times. By contrast, real-world application benchmarks provide performance metrics that apply directly to real-world usage, and we endeavor to apply both in our performance comparisons.

SYSmark 2007 Preview from BAPCO is a special case, because its synthetic scores are derived from tests in real-world applications. However, we still believe that synthetic benchmarking scores are best used to directly compare the performance of one piece of hardware to another, and not for developing an impression of real-world performance expectations. SYSmark is more useful than most synthetic benchmarking programs in our opinion, because its tests emulate tasks that people actually perform, in actual software programs that they are likely to use.

The benchmark is hands-free, using scripts to execute all of the real-world scenarios identically, such as video editing in Sony Vegas and image manipulation in Adobe Photoshop. At the conclusion of the suite of tests, five scores are delivered: an E-learning score, a Video Creation score, a Productivity score, and a 3D Performance score, as well as an aggregated ‘Overall’ score. These scores can still be fairly abstract, and are most useful for direct comparisons between test systems.

A quick note on methodology: SYSmark 2007 requires a clean install of Windows 7 64-bit to run optimally. Before any testing is conducted, the hard drive is first wiped clean, and then a fresh Windows installation is conducted, then lastly, the necessary hardware drivers are installed. The ‘Three Iterations’ test suite is run, with the ‘Conditioning Run’ setting enabled. Then the results from the three runs are averaged and rounded up or down to the next whole number.

In tests like these, it’s hard to find an overall worth for a particular board given the scores are so close to one another, but again, that’s the point of tests like these. We don’t expect boards to perform horribly compared to another, but if that was the case, we’d see it here. For what it’s worth, though, Gigabyte’s board took the crown, beating Intel’s board by a single point.