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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: PCMark Vantage

Futuremark is no stranger to most any enthusiast out there, as the company’s benchmarks have been used to gauge our PC’s worth for many years. Although the company’s 3DMark Vantage (which we also use for testing) is arguably more popular than PCMark Vantage, the latter is a great tool to measure a system’s overall performance across many different scenarios.

Unlike SYSmark, PCMark is more of a synthetic benchmark, as very little is seen to the user during the run. However, each test tackles a specific and common scenario that’s typical of many computer users – enthusiasts and regular users alike – such as photo manipulation, gaming, music conversion, productivity, et cetera.

The main problem right now with PCMark is its inability (at least for us) to produce an overall score when being run under Windows 7. Even when run in compatibility mode (which is required by 3DMark), the application will crash during the Memories test, despite that particular test executing fine when run as its own suite. So, no overall score is produced, but the seven individual scores are.

While SYSmark uses modest numbers for their scoring, ranging in the hundreds, Futuremark opts for much higher scores with their entire suite, with the lowest being the TV and Movies, ranging around the 6,000 mark. On the high-end, our Intel SSD is capable of pushing the test’s HDD scenario well beyond 20,000.

Once again, the three boards here come extremely close to one another in most tests, and then flip-flop in some others (this is typical of most Futuremark benchmarks). Interestingly enough, Gigabyte’s board scores a bit lower in the overall PCMark score, likely due to the lower overall HDD score. For some reason, all Gigabyte motherboards of late have scored a bit lower in this test, and I’m unsure as to why. It’s of little concern, however, as the rest of our benchmarks proves there’s no real issue.