Gigabyte GA-H77TN Thin Mini-ITX Motherboard

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Gigabyte GA-H77TN Thin Mini-ITX Motherboard

October 28, 2013 by Lawrence Lee

Gigabyte GA-H77TN
LGA1155 Thin Mini-ITX Motherboard
Street Price

Intel has been responding to the technology industry's shift towards all things small. Though their Atom chips powered the netbook revolution — which has run its course — they didn't actively evangelize the standard. After launching the Sandy Bridge processor architecture, which offered both great performance and energy efficiency, Intel changed their tune. The now ubiquitous term "ultrabook" was developed and pushed HARD as a way for their PC hardware partners to compete with the popular Macbook Air (incidentally powered by Intel processor and chip, of course). Intel has even developed chips to drive both Windows and Android based phones and tablets.

Intel hasn't ignored the desktop side of things, either, launching the NUC (Next Unit of Computing), their fresh take on a powerful barebones micro nettop PC. They are also heavily promoting the Thin mini-ITX standard, a slimmed down version of the mini-ITX form factor. Intel has positioned this low profile standard, with its small size, excellent energy efficiency, and reasonably powerful hardware, as the basis for a new generation of sleek all-in-one PCs that take advantage of Windows 8's touch interface. Being able to build a monitor and chassis around a tightly defined motherboard form factor rather than a custom designed board makes it possible for smaller makers to get into the AIO market. Intel's Thin-ITX for AIO strategy is sound, given the declining popularity of old school towers, and you can be assured many of the current generation AIOs are Thin-ITX based.

The Gigabyte H77TN box.

The board ships with a manual, driver disc, an I/O shield, small screws for installing an mSATA drive, and a power cable with one slimline SATA plug and four standard SATA connectors.

Thin-ITX's advantages transcend Intel's primary goal, as PC enthusiasts have always been enamored with slim, compact, and efficient machines for a variety of uses. It's especially tempting now because you can drop in a real desktop CPU onto one of these boards, such as Intel's own DQ77KB, and even cool it passively with a case like the Akasa Euler. The DQ77KB is a bit pricey (US$150) due to its use of the business-oriented Q77 chipset. Gigabyte is one of the first Intel partners to join the Thin-ITX bandwagon with a more affordable solution better suited for home use, the GA-H77TN.

The feature list is more or less the same as the Intel DQ77KB. It supports any LGA1155 processor with a TDP of 77W or lower, up to 8GB of DDR3 SO-DIMM memory, two SATA 6 Gbps and two SATA 3 Gbps drives, and USB 3.0. Further expansion is available via three slots, one PCI-E 4x (which will require a riser to be compatible with most low profile cases), one mini PCI-E, and and one mSATA. The most likely candidates for these respective slots are a TV tuner card, a wireless NIC, and a small SSD. Video output is available through HDMI and DisplayPort, but there's also a LVDS connector with adjustable voltage (via onboard jumpers) which can come in handy for the aforementioned AIO systems or industrial uses.

External 12~19V power is required but it has an uncommon port size used by some Dell and HP laptops. The necessary plug has an external diameter of 7.4 mm and an internal diameter of 5.1 mm — this information should be front and center, but it took a lot of digging to find it buried in the product web page's FAQ section.

Gigabyte GA-H77TN: Specifications
(from the product web page)
CPU 1. Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/ Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1155 package (Supports up to 77W)
2. L3 cache varies with CPU

(Some Intel® Core™ processors require a graphic card, please refer "CPU support List" for more information.)
Chipset Intel® H77 Express Chipset
Memory 1. 2 x 1.5V DDR3 SO-DIMM sockets supporting up to 8 GB of system memory
* Due to a Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than the size of the physical memory installed.
2. Dual channel memory architecture
3. Support for DDR3 1600/1333/1066/800 MHz memory modules

(Please refer "Memory Support List" for more information.)
Onboard Graphics Integrated Graphics Processor:

1. 1 x HDMI 1.3 port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200
2. 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 2560x1600
3. 1 x LVDS connector
Audio 1. Realtek ALC887 codec
2. High Definition Audio
3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
* To configure 5.1/7.1-channel audio, you have to use an HD front panel audio module and enable the multi-channel audio feature through the audio driver.
LAN 1 x Realtek GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Expansion Slots 1. 1 x PCI Express x4 slot (Supports 25W only)
(The PCIEX4 slot conforms to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
2. 1 x Mini PCI Express x1 slot
Storage Interface Chipset Chipset:

1. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA0/1) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
2. 2 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2/3) supporting up to 2 SATA 3Gb/s devices
3. 1 x mSATA connector
4. Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
USB Chipset Chipset:

1. Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel
2. Up to 5 USB 2.0/1.1 ports available through the internal USB headers (Card reader/Touch panel/webcam and other devices)
Internal I/O Connectors 1 x 2-pin power connector
1 x CPU fan header
1 x system fan header
2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
2 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
1 x mSATA connector
1 x SATA power connector
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x digital microphone header
1 x AIO speaker header
1 x LVDS connector
1 x LVDS drive voltage header
1 x flat panel display power header (both panel and backlight inverter)
1 x flat panel display power connector
1 x backlight switch header
1 x flat panel display switch header
1 x WIFI activity indicator LED header
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
Back Panel Connectors 1 x HDMI port
1 x DisplayPort
4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
1 x RJ-45 port
2 x audio jacks (Line Out, Mic In)
1 x DC-In power connector
I/O Controller iTE I/O Controller Chip
H/W Monitoring 1. System voltage detection
2. CPU/System temperature detection
3. CPU/System fan speed detection
4. CPU fan speed control
* For 4-pin CPU coolers only.
* Whether the CPU fan speed control function is supported will depend on the CPU cooler you install.
BIOS 1. 1 x 64 Mbit flash
2. Use of licensed AMI EFI BIOS
3. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.6, ACPI 2.0a
Operating System Support for Microsoft® Windows 8/7
Form Factor Thin Mini-ITX Form Factor; 17.0cm x 17.0cm
Remark 1. Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors' website or 3rd party website.
2. Most hardware/software vendors may no longer offer drivers to support Win9X/ME/2000/XP SP1/SP2. If drivers are available from the vendors, we will update them on the GIGABYTE website.

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