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::>Motherboards > 2015 > 05 > GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

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23-05-2015


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Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H: review and testing 

The product which will be discussed in this review is one of the most affordable solutions of GIGABYTE in format microATX. At an average cost of about $ 55 - 60 GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H has a good circuitry, a compact format, support for modern interface USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s, as well as a number of other improvements and proprietary technologies.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

It is bases on the youngest chipset (Intel H81), which nominally does not provide overclocking of the processor and has less features, but compares favorably with the support of the above-mentioned interface, which is important in the segment of affordable models.

Let's learn the detailed specifications of motherboard GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H:

Producer

GIGABYTE

Model

GA-H81M-H (rev 2.0)

Chipset

Intel H81

CPU socket

Socket LGA1150

CPUs supported

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 4th gen

Memory frequency

1600 / 1333 MHz

Memory support

2 x DDR3 DIMM-slots with support of memory up to 16 GB

Expansion slots 

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16

2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

Disk subsystem

Intel H81 chipset supports:

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

2 x SATA 3 Gb/s

LAN

1 x Realtek 8111G (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC887

8-channel sound

Power

24-pin power socket ATX

4-pin power socket ATX12V

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

1 x system fan connector (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiators on chipset 

External I/O

1 x HDMI

1 x D-Sub

2 х PS/2 (for mouse and keyboard connection)

1 x LAN (RJ45)

2 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

3 x audio jacks

Internal I/O

2 x USB 2.0, each with support of two USB 2.0

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

2 x SATA 3 Gb/s

1 x TPM socket

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS

BIOS

AMI UEFI BIOS

1 x 32 Мb

PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0

Packaging

 

user manual

warranty card

disk with drives and documents

2 x SATA cables

1 х bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor,

dimensions

microATX

226 х 170 mm

 Producer website

GIGABYTE
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available at support page

Package and content

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

Package of the new item is made of cardboard and decorated with quality printing in dark colors. On the front side, besides the usual names of the manufacturer and model of the device, you can pay attention to a great logo of branded concept Ultra Durable, which includes the following features:

  • Ultra Cool & Performance - power circuit uses highly FETs with a low on-resistance (Low RDS (on)), as well as long-lasting solid state capacitors.
  • Ultra Safe - this model is equipped with an additional protection of USB ports and LAN against ESD. Each LAN and USB-port is paired with a special protective filter that is able to withstand severe electrostatic discharge, which protects the system against voltage surges, even during a storm. Here is the presence of protective circuits that save internal components from overvoltage and an improved installation of fiberglass on PCB, thus reducing the negative impact of moisture.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

The reverse side has a schematic representation of the motherboard and its interface panel, and the description of the above-mentioned key advantages.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

 

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

In the box with the test model, in addition to the disk with software and interface panel plug, we found two SATA cables, as well as the bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI, which is a bit strange, since the motherboard lacks the possibility of installing two graphics cards.

Design and featuresGIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

The test model is implemented on a compact dark brown PCB color in format microATX (226 x 170 mm) and has a very restrained design in dark colors. The layout of the on-board components is at a high level, so you will not have problems with this aspect of the use.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

Perhaps the only worth mentioning is the use of capacitors in some power circuits electrolytic, while the CPU power circuit has more reliable and durable solid-state counterparts.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

On the reverse side of the PCB you can draw attention to the standard base plate of the socket, as well as the fact that the only chipset heatsink is attached with plastic clips.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in socket, socket TPM, connection module for system fan, CMOS and front panel connection module. Also here you can find two modules for activation of ports USB 2.0. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is six: four are internal and two on the interface panel. As for USB 3.0, the quantity is two and they are external. All USB ports are provided by chipset. 

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

The organization of disk subsystem is provided by two SATA 6 Gb/s (white) and two SATA 3 Gb/s (black). All connectors are functioning thanks to a set of system logic.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

Mainboard GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H has two DIMM-slots for memory modules of the standard DDR3, which are equipped with latches on both sides. Modules operating at frequencies from 1066 MHz to 1600 in nominal mode are supported. The maximum memory capacity is up to 16 GB, which is enough for a compact and inexpensive system.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

The cooling system consists of aluminum radiator that removes heat from system logic Intel H81. In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 36.7°C (during overclocking 37.1°C);
  • field-effect transistor of CPU power subsystem – 74.2°C;
  • chokes of CPU power subsystem – 72.5°C (during overclocking 77.5°).

The results can be described as average, but there is an ample reserve to the critical values.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

 

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

Processor power supply is performed via 3-phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ISL95812. All power components of CPU have high reliability level: solid capacitors, field-effect transistors with open channel. Basic 24-pin and additional 4-pin connectors are use for power feeding.     

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

To extend the functionality the motherboard has three slots:

  1. PCI Express 2.0 x16;
  2. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  3. PCI Express 2.0 x1;

It is expected that the new product provides the ability to install only one video card in a single slot PCI Express x16, which is connected to the processor and always uses all 16 lines of the standard PCI Express 2.0. Don’t forget that the chipset Intel H81 does not support the distribution of lines between the slots and operation with the standard PCI Express 3.0. However, this is not a critical disadvantage, since the difference between PCI Express 3.0 and PCI Express 2.0 will not lead to a noticeable drop in performance of connected graphics card. If you install the graphics card with overall cooling system, which occupies several slots, you will lose access to one or two connectors PCI Express 2.0 x1.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

If you decided to take advantage of the integrated graphics core, you have two video outputs: D-Sub and HDMI, which operate thanks to the controller PTN3360DBS.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

Multi I/O features are based on the controller ITE IT8620E, which controls the operation of the system fans, PS/2 port, and provides monitoring. 

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

Gigabit LAN-controller Realtek 8111G is used to support network connection. Software GIGABYTE LAN Optimizer allows to distribute network resources between application.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

Sound system of the motherboard based is based on the 8-channel HDA-codec Realtek ALC887, which supports audio formats 2/4/5.1/7.1.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

Interface panel of the model contains the following ports:

  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 2 x USB 3.0;
  • 2 x USB 2.0;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x D-Sub;
  • 2 x PS/2 for mouse and keyboard connection;
  • 3 x audio jacks.

Do note a very successful layout of interface panel, especially considering the affordable cost of the product. It offers two video outputs, including a modern HDMI, and an ample number of ports USB. The features include only inconvenient connection of multichannel speakers, where you must use the audio outputs on the front panel or transmit multi-channel audio stream via HDMI.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

The possibility of organizing the cooling system inside the body is pretty standard. Here are two 4-pin fan connectors, one of which is used for the CPU cooling system, while the other is intended for system fan.

UEFI BIOS

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

Tested model is equipped with UEFI firmware based on microcode AMI with a nice graphical user interface, the ability to control with the mouse and support for drives larger than 3 TB. 

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

Most of the settings related to changes in frequency of the clock generator (BCLK), CPU, integrated graphics core and memory are grouped under «MB Intelligent Tweaker» («M.I.T.»), where they are conveniently separated in thematic subsections.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

Multiplier allows you to set the frequency of the memory modules within the 800 MHz to 1600 MHz.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

If required in subsection «Advanced Memory Settings» you can access the memory timings adjustments.

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

Also there is an opportunity to fine-tune the voltage on the main components of the system.

Settings required for optimizing the system are summarized in the table:

Parameter

Menu

Range

Step

CPU multiplier

CPU Clock Ratio

8 – MAX

 

RAM frequency

System Memory Multiplier

800 – 1600

 

CPU voltage

CPU Vcore

0,900 – 1,200

0,001

Automatic overclocking profiles

CPU Upgrade

Auto; 4,3; 4,4; 4,5; 4,6; 4,7 GHz

 

RAM voltage

DRAM Voltage

1,160 – 1,700

0,020

Chipset voltage

PCH Core

0,955 – 1,150

 

0,005

GPU frequency

Processor Graphics Clock

400 – 4000

50

 

Turbo Power Limit

1 – 4096

1

 

Core Current Limit

10 – 1000

1

 

CPU VRIN Voltage

1,700 – 1,900

0,010

CPU voltage

CPU Graphics Voltage

0,900 – 1,100

0,001

 

CPU RING Voltage

0,950 – 1,149

0,001

System agent voltage

CPU System Agent Voltage

-0,100 − +0,100

0,001

 

CPU I/O Analog Voltage

-0,100 – +0,100

0,001

 

CPU I/O Digital Voltage

-0,100 – +0,100

0,001

 

PCH I/O

1,400 – 1,700

0,005

Processor graphics memory

Intel Processor Graphics Memory

32, 64, 96, 128, 192, 224, 256, 320, 384, 448, 512

 

RAM timing

Timing Control

CAS, tRCD, tRP, tRAS, tRRD, tWTR, tWR, tWTP, tWL, tRFC, tRTP, tFAW

 

GIGABYTE GA-H81M-H

In the section «PC Health Status» you can get the access for monitoring the temperature of the processor and chipset, as well as speed of installed fans. Additionally you can monitor the voltage at the processor core, memory and power rails +12V, +5V and +3.3V. Note the possibility of taking screenshots.


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