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

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Cooling

To test the board's cooling, we ran the CPU fan at a fixed speed (~900 RPM) using an external power source and ran Prime95 and FurMark. The system was left to stew until temperatures stabilized. Temperatures were taken with a spot thermometer and the results were for the hottest portion of the heatsink.

Heatsink Temperatures
Board
PCH
VRMs
Intel DH55TC
39°C
44°C (bare)
Asus P7H55D-M EVO
54°C
45°C
Zotac H55-ITX-C-E
52°C
53°C
Gigabyte H55N-USB3
52°C
70°C (bare)
Thermalright MUX-120 with stock fan @ ~900 RPM.
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

In addition to the lack of WiFi and two fewer SATA ports, the H55N-USB3 has one more deficiency compared to the Zotac H55-ITX-C-E: a complete lack of VRM cooling. On full load, most of the MOSFETs next to the CPU socket measured above 60°C, while the hottest one we could find was a toasty 70°C, 20~25° hotter than other H55 boards we've tested.

Fan Control

During our cooling test we also monitored fan speeds and temperatures using SpeedFan. Fans were connected to the onboard headers and if the fans did not reach their maximum rated speeds, we lowered the CPU fan speed to induce higher temperatures.

Fan Control
Criterion
CPU Fan
(2500 RPM)
SYS Fan
(1600 RPM)
Min. Fan Speed
600 RPM
1580 RPM
Trigger Temp.
20°C
N/A
Max. Fan Speed Temp.
68°C
N/A

During our test, the H55N kept a 2500 RPM PWM fan at 600 RPM when core temperatures were under 20°C. Once past this point the fan speed increased linearly until topping out at approximately 68°C. With such a wide temperature range between the minimum and maximum fan speeds, the increase in fan speed was pleasantly gradual. The second fan header could not be controlled and supplied a full 12V to fans connected to it.


EasyTune Smart Fan settings.

While there was nothing we could do in the BIOS to customize the automated fan control, in Windows, Gigabyte's EasyTune software allowed us to adjust how the fan behaved.


SpeedFan screen with correlations added to the sensor titles.

We are happy to report that SpeedFan works on the H55N without issue. Some of the voltages were out of whack and there were a pair of temperature sensors that were stuck at the same reading, but it was otherwise functional. There are two speed controls available for the CPU fan header, one for voltage control and one for PWM. To enable full fan control, go to the Advanced Configuration menu, find the chip "IT8720F" and change its PWM modes to "Software Controlled."



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