Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI Mini-ITX Motherboard

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TEST RESULTS

Power Consumption (Core i5-2500K)

Unfortunately it is difficult to ascertain exactly how much of the energy draw is generated by the processor alone, as the amount of power pulled from the AUX12V/EPS12V connector depends on how board power regulation has been implemented. On this board, Gigabyte has gone with a basic 4+1 power phase design which pulls more power from the AUX12V connector than most LGA1155 models, especially on heavy load. With both the CPU and GPU stressed, approximately 96% of the total power draw was coming through the the 4-pin connector.

Simpler power phase designs often translate into good idle efficiency but poor load efficiency and that's certainly the case here. When idle or playing H.264/MKV video, the total system power draw was only 20W and 25W DC respectively, very low for this CPU. On load, boards with more sophisticated power regulation pulled ahead. Cooling may also have played a part as the H77N-WIFI is the only model compared that lacks a VRM heatsink and its PCH heatsink is diminutive. As these integral components heat up, they become less efficient.

Cooling

To test the board's cooling, I stressed the CPU for ~15 minutes with Prime95. Temperatures of the boards' chipset heatsinks were recorded using a spot thermometer. The highest temperatures were taken for comparison.

On full CPU load, the surface temperature of the PCH cooler peaked at 47°C above ambient. This was slightly warmer than the Zotac H67-ITX WIFI but considerably hotter than most LGA1155 boards I've tested. This result is not surprising considering the scant onboard cooling. I should point out that no instability was observed, caused by this issue or any other, but it would probably be a good idea to have some direct airflow blowing over the PCH.

Our test heatsink is of the downblowing variety but it's a large model with the fan sitting high up, far away from the PCB and set to a relatively low speed. A slimmer model with a fan that sits closer to the socket would presumably do much better.



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