ASRock H55DE3 Motherboard
|ASRock H55DE3 Motherboard|
|Closer Look at the H55DE3|
|H55DE3 Features and Specs|
|BIOS and Overclocking|
|Test Setup, HDD Testing and More|
|Synthetic System, CPU and Memory|
|Real World Apps and Gaming|
|Final Thoughts and Score|
While the LGA775 platform is dated, it is still a viable option for those that want an Intel-based system on a limited budget. The 1366 Core i7 platform is still a little too expensive for many consumers and that is where the Core i3/i5/i7 LGA1156 platform comes in. Today we are looking at a very affordable motherboard solution for your favorite Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processor. This board is based on the H55 chipset that allows the CPU to contain the GPU. We will be looking at the ASRock H55DE3 board combined with a Core i7 860 CPU and doing the stand-alone review as well as some comparison numbers with a full X58 based 1366 system.
The H55DE3 isn't their high-end fully-loaded board but it has enough features to get started for most people. It has a nice feature set but lacks SATA3 (6G) USB3.0 or Firewire. It sticks to the basics of last year with SATA2 (3G) and USB2.0. I don't use Firewire that often but I do wish they had included a rear port.
True to ASRock form, the bundle is pretty lean. Other than the manual, CD and quick install guide, they have included two SATA cables and the rear IO shield. If you're a geek, you'll be able to see that the rear IO shield contains support for HDMI, DVI, VGA, four USB2.0 ports, network, two eSATA ports and 7.1 audio. It is lean, but it should be good enough for most people.
First Look at the Board:
The H55 chipset from Intel isn't anything too incredible, and the layout of the board is a little different that we are used to with previous chipsets from Intel. The H55 chipset supports Intel Socket 1156 chips with the memory controller built into the CPU as well as chips with integrated GPUs. This eliminates a chipset to support Intel GMA graphics and yields a board with a single solitary chipset. This gives the board a nice clean layout and even though the board is not a full-sized ATX board, it isn't crowded.
A couple of interesting
things worth noting before we move onward and take a closer look at the H55DE3 motherboard are the location of the USB and SATA ports. They are all crammed together at the very bottom of the board. On some boards with three graphics card slots, this is a bit deal, but with both GPUs located farther up the board, even large cards should be able to be used without interfering with the cables below. The layout is actually pretty clean and simple. There is ample room between the two GPU slots so that if you are using large dual-slot cooled graphics cards, you'll still have room to spare. This is a nice touch which makes up for the complete lack of interesting features.