Gigabyte brings USB 3.0 to Clarkdale mobos

Getting USB 3.0 connectivity on one’s motherboard doesn’t have to mean turning one’s back on integrated graphics—at least, not with Intel’s new Clarkdale processors. Gigabyte has launched two motherboards that feature H55 and H57 Express chipsets, display outputs connected to the CPU socket, and shiny USB 3.0 ports driven by a NEC controller chip.

The GA-H55M-USB3 and GA-H57M-USB3 both have the same Micro-ATX form factor and a similar collection of slots and ports. On both offerings, we can see two 32-bit PCI slots flanked by two physical PCI Express x16 slots, eight 300MB/s Serial ATA ports (including one external), four DIMM slots, FireWire, and of course, two blue USB 3.0 ports. Gigabyte has implemented the full gamut of digital display outputs, too—VGA, DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort.

As far as we can tell from the spec sheet, the biggest difference is support for AMD’s CrossFire multi-GPU technology on the H57 mobo (that second PCIe x16 only has four lanes running through it, though). The H55 chipset doesn’t support RAID, either, but Gigabyte has connected a couple SATA ports to an auxiliary RAID-capable controller on both boards.

Otherwise, Gigabyte notes that both boards contain extra copper, feature dual BIOS chips, and offer custom power-management features as well as other little goodies. Overclockers should also be able to push the GPU core clock speed "for a performance gain of up to 13%," the company says.

Comments closed
    • gtoulouzas
    • 10 years ago

    Before having wrestled with an e-sata external hard drive, I would have wondered “why on earth do we need usb3 when e-sata provides just as good throughput”. Now that I’ve actually purchased the e-sata drive in question, and seen the execrable MESS that are e-sata controllers, support, and drivers in Windows, I’ll simply say “not a moment too soon”.

    Esata is shite. We need an interface that does not entail driver changes, operating system reinstallations, Bios tweaks and incantations to the GREAT CTHULHU to work properly with external drives.

      • Delphis
      • 10 years ago

      I have no problems using e-sata drives between my work and home machines.. oh wait, I’m using Linux, that could be why..

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      Weird. The last time I just plugged an eSATA drive into a Win 7 machine it just worked. (Well, other than getting the power hooked up — I wish the “hybrid” USB design had been there from the start… or, better yet, if they’d just had the brains to include power as part of the spec in the first place).

      But USB has the virtue of ubiquity, and that’s a very, very big thing.

    • Kaleid
    • 10 years ago

    Unfortunately both of them would be useless to me since the graphic card would use up two PCI places and leave no room for the X-fi.

    • paralou
    • 10 years ago

    I wonder why they don’t provide SAS connectors.
    All right, i accept your (possible) argument about the SATA drives, but as a vision systems integrator, we use SCSI drives since… and started with the SAS drives when they where on the market.
    Why…
    Because they are much faster, but the most important thing:
    Ther are very much saver (reliable) !

    And we agree, the ASUS is better, and they have two connectors for SAS drives !

      • smilingcrow
      • 10 years ago

      “I wonder why they don’t provide SAS connectors.”

      Because it’s a mATX motherboard sold at a moderate price for home users where SAS is about as meaningful as Navy Seals.

    • jdaven
    • 10 years ago

    Thank god they left both IDE and floppy connections on the motherboard even though these technologies are almost completely made obsolete by the very freakin’ feature that is the highlight of this board…SATA3.

    /sarcasm

    When are we going to lose such old connections from our motherboards? Floppy should be completely gone. IDE, I can still understand but how many people are going to upgrade their system to this board and not upgrade to SATA hard drives.

      • albundy
      • 10 years ago

      hah, dont forget the PS/2 port and the good old PCI connectors! go figure! maybe they skimped on the half decent stuff cus the old connectors were cheaper to implement.

        • SomeOtherGeek
        • 10 years ago

        PCI is plenty of good for sound and TV cards. I’m sorry, but PS/2 is a hell of a lot more reliable than a stupid USB for keyboards. Most motherboards still haven’t fixed the slowpoke start-up of recognizing the keyboard.

          • UberGerbil
          • 10 years ago

          Yeah, any board that doesn’t include at least one PS/2 connector immediate goes into my “won’t buy” list.

      • Kurotetsu
      • 10 years ago

      l[

        • UberGerbil
        • 10 years ago

        The fact they’re getting less useful is all the more reason not to spend even the trivial (for some people) amount of money to buy a new SATA optical if you still have a viable IDE one. And yet you still need to burn or read a disc now and then. So… IDE will stick around for a while.

        • dashbarron
        • 10 years ago

        l[

          • jdaven
          • 10 years ago

          Well if you go to Newegg today, you can buy a grand total of 5 motherboards out of over 300 with 2 IDE connectors. Of course don’t expect them to be made in the last 2 years. Have fun in obsolesce land!

            • SomeOtherGeek
            • 10 years ago

            I think you missed the point, but I think he was asking why spend money on something that is in perfectly good shape? Just because it is obsolete doesn’t me you just automatically throw it out. That would be pretty silly. Especially when there is very little performance gain with a CD/DVD burner or keyboard. I keep everything until they are broken or useless and then I get the latest of them I can for the right price.

            Right now, I’m typing this using a 19″ Viewsonic CRT. I know I can get a 19″ LCD for cheap, but it is a weeks worth of food money. I hate the monitor, but it does the job and does it reasonably well.

    • September
    • 10 years ago

    Gigabyte win. Intel FAIL. I can’t recommend these H55/57 boards and integrated graphics to anyone. I truly thought the dual-core/4-thread 32nm chip would be the one to get, but not with the memory controller moved off die. Looks like the P55, Core i5 750 and an ATI 5750 are my bottom recommended build for anyone going to the trouble of custom building. Upgrading to the Core i7 860, ATI 5770/5850 (or Fermi *waits patiently*) is the highest-end that I can recommend.

      • September
      • 10 years ago

      What WOULD have been an Intel WIN:
      NO LGA 1156 STANDARD – ALL LGA 1366.
      Dual core 32nm Clarkdale die – 1) WITH integrated memory controller and 6MB Cache – at the cost of a little larger die. 2) 14-16 ROPs on the 45nm GPU die, which would perhaps make it the faster of the IGPs as of today. 3) DX 10.1 or DX11 support. 4) An extra 4x PCIe channels from the CPU (32nm or 45nm) to a 4x slot (thus the extra pins with LGA 1366). So you could have a 16x or 8x/8x PCIe config AND a 4x for SSD/RAID/USB3.0 etc. card.

        • FuturePastNow
        • 10 years ago

        The downside of that idea would be very expensive motherboards for what should be budget systems.

          • Kurotetsu
          • 10 years ago

          I also don’t see the point in making LGA1366 standard when the mid-range and budget chips won’t even use all the pins. Seems like a waste.

            • jdaven
            • 10 years ago

            AMD tried having 2 different sockets: one for budget (754) and one for high-end (939). The difference between the two being the number of memory channels which is exactly what Intel is doing now. That didn’t work out too good for AMD then and they decided to consolidate into one socket standard. Intel should do the same.

            • MrDigi
            • 10 years ago

            Intel sees the 1156 socket gaining sometime like 90-95% of the sockets by end of 2010. What is really important about the new 32nm CPU’s is how they overclock, as long as the graphics can auto switch to an off package GPU, its a good feature especially for laptops to save power during web browsing.

        • SomeOtherGeek
        • 10 years ago

        Sorry, but your logic fails for the most part. This is not for the high-end users, but for the mainstream. This is a desktop version of a netbook. To do daily stuff with a few common games (like solitaire /and/or freecell), this is a perfect setup. The built on graphics will hopefully be cheaper than a chip/motherboard/video card.

        Just hold your horses cuz Intel is coming out with your chip. For whatever purposes it serves. If the prices, which I highly doubt, are reasonable then a lot of people will get on board, but until then x57 should do.

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 10 years ago

          Will we get a 32nm replacement for the 45nm Lynnfield CPUs (Core i5-750, Core i7-860) without the useless graphics processor included in Clarkdale, or will Sandy Bridge arrive soon enough to make further development of LGA-1156 moot?

            • UberGerbil
            • 10 years ago

            Intel has no plans (per their latest roadmaps) for a 32nm quad in the Westmere timeframe. The 32nm Lynnfield replacement is a Sandy Bridge part. The 32nm Westmere non-server parts are the ‘dales and Gulftown, period.

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