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H55 & H57 Motherboard Roundup Review

jlqrb    -   June 18, 2010
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Testing:

Testing is the only way to prove whether or not one motherboard is better than the others when it comes down to performance. Some groups like all the whiz-bang features, while the hardcore enthusiasts just want good solid reliable performance. To find out which one gives that last little bit of clock speed, or has the right options in the BIOS, means you have to test the motherboards out one at a time. Quite an arduous task when you get down to it, but it's the only way. To test out this combination of motherboards, I will be running them through the OverclockersClub suite of benchmarks. The only deviations from the default BIOS settings will be that the energy saving features as well as Turbo technology are disabled so that the motherboard can be tested with a measure of repeatability. The video card control panel settings are left at factory defaults except where noted. Since each motherboard company has its own design philosophy it will be interesting to see which of the designs wins out.

Testing Setup i5:

 

Comparison Motherboards:

  • Gigabyte H55M-USB3
  • ASUS P7H57D-V EVO
  • ECS H55H-I
  • ECS H55H-CM
  • ECS H57H-MUS

 

Overclocking:

Gigabyte H55M-USB3:

Overclocked settings:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 661 180x25 4.5GHz
  • System Memory: Mushkin 2x2GB

The Gigabyte H55M-USB3 produced a very strong overclock of 4.5GHz, with the ability to boot into Windows at 4.6GHz. This is not too shabby as most of the Intel 661 processors seem to max out around the 4.3GHz. Also since the H55M-USB3 supports memory rated at 1666MHz it had no issues overclocking the memory by using the highest rated multiplier. In the end the memory reached 1800MHz and could have scaled even higher, but I did have to loosen the timings from 8-8-8-24 to 9-9-9-28 to maintain stability.

 

ASUS P7H57D-V EVO:

Overclocked settings:

  • Processor: Intel Core I5 661 204x22 4.5GHz
  • System Memory: Mushkin  2x2GB

The ASUS board like the Gigbayte was able to reach the 4.5GHz mark. This is thanks to the very robust VRM area that uses high quality components and a 8+3 phase design. Since this board supports memory up to DDR3 2100MHz OC there are no memory limitations, so while overclocking I did not have to scale the memory back in order to achieve the highest possible clock on the CPU. This allowed me to push the BCLK as high as I possible before having to adjust the memory frequency. Also, the voltage required was less than what was needed by the Gigabyte board. When looking at the images the voltage reading in CPU-Z are all over the map so please disregard them.

 

ECS H55H-I:

Overclocked settings:

  • Processor: Intel Core I5 661 161x25 4.04GHz
  • System Memory: Mushkin  2x2GB

For an entry level motherboard the ECS H55H-I did a great job overclocking and this was despite a relatively weak VRM area and only using a 4-pin 12V power connector. So, the fact that the board was able to surpass the 4GHz mark was impressive. The overclock was done using the base clock to adjust the clock speed and by leaving the memory multiplier at the 1333 setting. Leaving the memory at this setting was something that had to be done with all the ECS motherboards for them to boot past the 1333MHz mark. Even when using the board at speeds if I would attempt to use the 1600MHz memory setting in the BIOS the board would not post. Really this is not a huge loss though as the difference between memory running at 1600MHz as opposed to 1800MHz is very minimal.

 

ECS H55H-CM:

Overclocked settings:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 661 151x25 3.75GHz
  • System Memory: Mushkin 2x2GB

With the ECS H55H-CM being an entry level offering I was not expecting a large overclock and in the end the results were dead on with my initial thought. With this processor being able to achieve a 4.5GHz overclock when paired with the Gigabyte board to now only be able to reach 3.75GHz in the H55H-CM was disappointing to say the least. This was in large part due there being no voltage control options in the BIOS. The processor was not the only part effected though as I had to scale the memory settings back as well. The set I used requires 1.65V to run at DDR3 1600MHz with timings of 8-8-8-24. In this board with no voltage options they were not able to even reach the 1600MHz mark and when used at lower speeds still needed loose timings to remain stable. I can't say that it is entirely due to the voltage though as all other boards tested could reach higher clock speeds than this one before voltage tweaking was required.

 

ECS H57H-MUS:

Overclocked settings:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 661 171x25 4.27GHz
  • System Memory: Mushkin 2x2GB

Overclocking the ECS H57H-MUS was very easy and it was actually able to achieve a very respectable clock increase. However, like the ECS boards the max memory support is 1333MHz so to reach speeds that are beyond that the memory multiplier must be left at the 1333 setting and then you adjust the frequencies using the base clock. In the end this allowed the processor to reach 4.27GHz, but due to the memory limitations of the board it was only able to scale to 1710MHz. However, I was able to use the stock timings at this speed and not the higher settings that are required after the memory reaches the 1800+ mark.

 

 

 

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Each CPU has been tested for its maximum stable clock speeds using Prime95. To gauge the maximum stability level each processor had to be able to perform at least a one hour run through without any errors.

 

Benchmarks:

  • Scientific & Data:
  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Office 2007
  4. POV Ray 3.7
  5. PCMark Vantage Professional
  6. Sandra XII
  7. ScienceMark 2.02
  8. Cinebench 10
  9. HD Tune 2.55
  • Video:
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  3. 3DMark 06 Professional
  4. 3DMark Vantage



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