The low power consumption, improved integrated graphics component, and updated peripheral payload of Intel’s Sandy bridge processor platform is particularly well-suited to the diminutive Mini-ITX form factor. As one might expect, there were numerous midget motherboards on display at CES. While visiting with Gigabyte, we saw the GA-H67N-USB3, a successor to the company’s award-winning GA-H55N-USB3.
Like its H55-based predecessor, the H67 model has full-size DIMM slots, USB 3.0 connectivity, a slew of video output options, dual S/PDIF audio outs, and a PCI Express x16 slot that can accept graphics or other peripheral cards. There’s only one catch: Intel doesn’t allow multiplier-based CPU overclocking with H67 chipsets. H67 boards are free to tweak the clock speed of Sandy Bridge’s integrated GPU, but you’ll need a P67 chipset to fiddle with the CPU cores. This is true even for fully unlocked K-series CPUs, putting a bit of a damper on shoebox-sized gaming rigs.
Fortunately, Gigabyte has more than one Mini-ITX motherboard in the works for Sandy Bridge. A P67-based model is on the way that will drop the display outputs in favor of CPU overclocking support. Naturally, you’ll need to run a discrete graphics card with that particular model. We don’t have much in the way of additional details on the P67 offering, but the H67 version should be ready by the end of the month.