ASRock H55DE3 Motherboard - Closer Look at the H55DE3

Article Index
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

Closer Look:

Like many other motherboards, the H55DE3 from ASRock uses a completely passive cooling solution that seems to work very well - especially now that the chipset has fewer responsibilities that the P45 generation.  Still, if you plan on doing any extreme overclocking you will probably want to beef up the cooling - at the very least add a fan to create airflow over the heatsink.  The CPU socket area is well cleared out and you won't have any issues installing aftermarket cooling on this board.  As you can see below, ASRock uses a mix of solid-state and electrolytic capacitors on this board t save some money and still provide a high quality product.  I'd like to see the board price increased by $5 and include all solid state caps in order to ensure that they won't leak.

CPU Socket
CPU Socket

 

The main power connector is located almost tight to the RAM slots and while I'm not super excited about this idea, it really shouldn't bother anything.  You'll also notice that the RAM slots are a little closer than on some other boards.  If you are using very fast RAM on this board and running increased voltage through your memory, you'll want to make sure that you have additional cooling or you may cook your RAM.

 RAM Slots
RAM Slots

 

Moving on down and then around back we've got a picture of the bottom of the board that shows off the hand-dandy COM port, three extra USB2.0 headers as well as the four SATA connectors.  While four should do for most people, keep in mind that there aren't any old IDE connectors on this board and if you use a pair of hard drives, an optical drive and have a from eSATA cable hooked up, you're out of ports.  With that in mind, there is a pair of powered eSATA ports on the rear IO that should keep you happy for your external storage needs.

 Bottom Of Board
Bottom Of Board
Rear IO
Rear IO

 

As previously mentioned, the board supports integrated graphics - as long as the graphics are integrated into the GPU.  You have three output options - DVI, HDMI and VGA, but you can only use two of them at a time.  A nice feature on the rear IO is the two powered eSATA ports.  There are a few eSATA "Thumb Drives" and these require power-over-eSATA to be really useful.  The ASRock H55DE3 has you covered - twice.