ECS H67H2-M & H67H2-I Reviewccokeman -
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Whereas the H67H2-M has the look and feel of a high end machine, the H67H2-I is all about function over the flash. This Mini ITX board is meant to compete in an area traditionally dominated by much less power hungry platforms that contain either "Atom", Celeron or now AMD's Fusion APU. With the capabilities of Intel's Sandy Bridge lineup, this is like bringing a bazooka to a knife fight. This little gem supports second generation Core i7, i5 and i3 processors including the unlocked "K" sku processors even though the overclocking will be limited to what can be gained with Intel's Turbo Boost 2 technology and possibly some GPU overclocking. While overclocking is not this board or platform's forte, the option list on this little board from ECS is pretty big. USB 3.0, Bluetooth, HDMI, Realtek eight channel sound and even a 16x PCIe slot to be used if you choose to add a discrete graphics card to the package.
Looking at the rear I/O panel shows that connectivity options span almost the entire length of the PCB save for the last bit that contains the 16x PCIe slot. Starting from the left are two USB 2.0 ports and the HDMI graphics connection that supports HDMI 1.4a, VGA and a SL DVI port, two more USB 2.0 and a single eSATA port, two USB 3.0 ports and the Realtek controlled Gigabit LAN port. Then there's another pair of USB 2.0 ports bring the total on the I/O panel to eight, the bluetooth module and last but not least, the eight channel Realtek HD audio ports. In other words, a ton of connectivity options for so a small package. Multi-monitor technology is supported on this board allowing the end user the flexibility of using multiple monitors to increase productivity or offer a larger viewing surface.
The bottom edge of the PCB contains the 16x PCIe 2.0 slot so that if needed, a discrete graphics card can be used to supplant the on-die HD 2000 or HD 3000 Intel graphics for increased performance. The right side of the PCB contains the 24 pin ATX power connection and the two 240 pin DIMM slots. Maximum memory capacity with currently available modules is eight GB even though up to 16 GB is fully supported at 1066MHz and 1333MHz speeds.These slots as well as the CPU contacts, use ECS's 15μ gold contacts for three times the added conductivity and corrosion resistance.
The top side of the PCB contains the majority of the internal connectivity. On the left is a mini PCIe connection, the front panel and USB connections and a total of four SATA ports, Two SATA 6Gb/s and two SATA 3Gb/s that support RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10. Further inboard are a COM port, the four pin 12v power supply input and just in front of that, the USB 3.0 controller. The H67H2-I has a single large passive heatsink on the H67 chipset and no other cooling mechanisms on board. There just is not room on this minuscule board.
The CPU socket area is standard fare with solid capacitors and inductive chokes surrounding the socket. The LGA 155 socket uses ECVS 15. As you might imagine, space is at a premium on this board so a large heat sink is out of the question if you plan on using a discrete GPU in place of the Intel HD graphics. However that does not mean all is lost as I was able to mount an all-in-one liquid cooling solution with no problems or interference which allowed me to drive CPU temperatures and noise lower.
Just the fact that a product like this comes to market shows that while this segment is full of low power consumption products, you can still up the ante and deliver excellent performance without compromise.