Gigabyte H55N-USB3: De Facto LGA1156 Mini-ITX Board?

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Detailed DC Power Consumption

System Power Consumption: Idle/Load (DC)
Test State
Idle / Load Voltage*
Idle
CPU Load
CPU + GPU Load
Intel DH55TC
unknown
18W
63W
69W
Intel DH57JG
0.920V / 1.136V
17W
68W
not tested
Gigabyte H55N-USB3 (-0.0625V)
0.912V / 1.104V
27W
72W
95W
Gigabyte H55N-USB3 (Stock)
0.952V / 1.216V
27W
78W
100W
Asus P7H55D-M EVO [mATX]
0.968V / 1.144V
31W
76W
80W
Zotac H55-ITX-C-E
1.056V / 1.320V
33W
91W
117W
* according to CPU-Z

The H55N is a bit of a mixed bag. It's more energy efficient when idle compared to the Asus P7H55D-M, but less so when on load, especially when the GPU is stressed in addition to the CPU. When the GPU was added to the mix, it suffered from the same inefficiency as the Zotac H55-ITX, albeit to a lesser degree. Thankfully this won't be an issue for most end-users unless they plan on gaming using Intel GMA HD graphics.

The Intel models seem to have a big advantage as none of the third party boards came even remotely close in power consumption. Even when we undervolted the H55N to the point where the reported core voltage was lower than on the Intel DH57JG, the system still ended up consuming an extra 10W DC when idle.

CPU+VRM Power Consumption: Idle/Load (DC)
Test State
Idle / Load Voltage*
Idle
CPU Load
CPU + GPU Load
Intel DH55TC
unknown
5.3W
48.0W
52.7W
Gigabyte H55N-USB3 (-0.0625V)
0.912V / 1.104V
3.4W
33.3W
49.6W
Gigabyte H55N-USB3 (Stock)
0.952V / 1.216V
3.4W
38.1W
54.6W
Asus P7H55D-M EVO [mATX]
0.968V / 1.144V
9.9W
49.0W
51.7W
Zotac H55-ITX-C-E
1.056V / 1.320V
11.7W
47.4W
64.3W
* according to CPU-Z

Our CPU+VRM measurements were taken from the AUX12V connector with the help of a pair of digital multimeters and an in-line 0.01 ohm shunt resistor and represents the approximate draw of the +12V line by the processor including inefficiencies lost to the VRMs. In some cases, this can help us narrow down the causes of power consumption differences between boards.

In this case, it's hard to make sense of the data. The Asus P7H55D-M and Zotac H55-ITX both pull a lot more from the +12V line when idle than the other boards compared above, but they draw even with the ultra-efficient Intel DH55TC when placed on load. The H55N uses less both when idle and on load, but overall system power favors the DH55TC by a heavy margin.

System Power Consumption: Video Playback (DC)
Test Clip
Zotac H55-ITX-C-E
Asus P7H55D-M EVO
Gigabyte H55N-USB3
Intel DH55TC
Rush Hour
(H.264)
40W
37W
38W
31W
Coral Reef
(WMV-HD)
38W
38W
44W
31W
Disturbia
(Blu-ray H.264)
48W
51W
44W
43W
Becoming Jane
(Blu-ray VC-1)
48W
46W
44W
39W
Space
(x264/MKV)
43W
43W
39W
not tested

Intel GMA HD graphics are built into dual core LGA1156 chips, making high definition video rendering a non-issue. However, power consumption during playback does vary from the board to board, and in this case the H55N was only slightly more frugal with power than the boards from Asus and Zotac.



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