Gigabyte GA-H77TN Thin Mini-ITX Motherboard

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Fan Control

The H77TN is odd in that it comes with literally no extra software, neither on the driver disc, or on the website. All previous Gigabyte boards we've tested shipped with the EasyTune utility which included fan control features. The H77TN has some basic BIOS settings, but if you want extra fan functionality, you'll have to figure it on your own.

BIOS: fan control options.

The BIOS is severely limited, offering no CPU, GPU, or memory options except for a non-specific overvoltage setting for the RAM. Fan control options are available but they're stripped to the bone, offering no customization. The only options are "Enabled" and "Disabled" and while you can choose between 3-pin and 4-pin control for the system fan, the 3-pin fans we tested with it always ran at full speed, so it's really PWM control only on both.

SpeedFan main screen with correlations entered.

SpeedFan, our fan control utility of choice proved to be invaluable. A pair of temperature sensors running off the IT8728F chip turned out to be the PCH and CPU temperatures respectively, while most of the other sensors were unidentifiable and displayed constant readings throughout testing. Separate PWM controls for each fan header were available after some configuration — find the "IT8728F" chip in the Advanced menu and set the PWM modes to "Software controlled" to enable the "Pwm2" and "Pwm3" controls.

Fan speed and temperature over time (CPU load).

To test the board's fan control system, we connected a pair of 4-pin PWM 2,000 RPM fans, placed the CPU on load, and monitored temperatures and fan speeds.

The CPU fan came alive when the CPU temperature reached 57°C but the speed didn't seem to form a linear relationship with the temperature, instead taking a step approach once it reached about 60°C. Judging by the graph, the CPU fan isn't very aggressive; its maximum speed probably doesn't kick in until 80°C or so. The SYS fan speed appeared to be tied to the PCH (chipset) temperature, which very slowly increased by only a few degrees during testing. It's unlikely the SYS fan will ever exceed 50% speed without user intervention.

Storage Subsystem Performance

To test storage subsystems We used CrystalDiskMark, the 1000 MB setting with 0x00 fill test data, and a Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB solid state drive (compressible data produces the best possible speeds out SandForce drives). The drive was connected using an Icy Dock external dock which supports eSATA and USB 3.0 (limited to 3 Gbps and 5 Gbps respectively).

The performance of the H77TN's SATA 6 Gbps and USB 3.0 controllers is very similar to previously Intel series 7 chipset boards (Z77, Q77, H77) and not worth detailing. Below we've presented our previous comparisons between various SATA/USB chipsets/controllers. Intel's solution is slightly faster than AMD, though you need a high throughput device to truly take advantage of it.

SATA 6 Gbps

USB 3.0

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