Super-budget Intel motherboards

Written by Antony Leather

November 20, 2012 | 08:14

Tags: #htpc #mini-itx

Companies: #bit-tech

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ASRock H61M-VS
Manufacturer: ASRock
UK Price (as reviewed): £47.41 (inc VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): N/A

Our bargain hunt also uncovered the H61M-VS by ASRock. It's slightly more expensive, but you get more PCB for your money. It's a super-narrow Micro-ATX motherboard, barely any bigger than the Mini-ITX MSI H61I-E35 on the previous page. It has a couple of advantages over the latter and a couple of downsides too.

It's the cheapest LGA1155 motherboard we found with a 16x PCI-E slot. This clearly opens up a whole world of possibilities, especially as it has a 1x PC-E slot too, although being equipped with an H61 chipset, there's no CPU multiplier overclocking, even with K-series CPUs.

However, it's just as well you're able to chuck in a graphics card because the H61M-VS has no HDMI port, which is a major drawback if you intend to keep power consumption to a minimum by using your Intel CPU's on-board graphics.

*Super-budget Intel motherboards ASRock H61M-VS *Super-budget Intel motherboards ASRock H61M-VS
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*Super-budget Intel motherboards ASRock H61M-VS
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Thankfully the layout is better than the MSI board in that the four SATA 3Gbps ports are located south of the 1x PCI-E slot, and there's plenty of room around the CPU socket. Sadly there's still no USB 3, but after updating the BIOS we did at least get Ivy Bridge support. Above you can see yet another practically vacant I/O panel, at least compared to what we're used to.

*Super-budget Intel motherboards ASRock H61M-VS
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Delving deeper into the BIOS revealed that you're actually able to tweak the CPU voltage, although only by 0.1V up or down. Still, this is better than the MSI which has zilch. While this will allow you to shave a few degrees/watts off your CPU, most Ivy Bridge Pentiums and Core i3s run so cool anyway that we've seen them running happily without fans on most tower coolers.

  • Chipset Intel H61
  • CPU support LGA1155 Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7
  • Memory support 2 slots: max 16GB DDR3 (1,600MHz)
  • Expansion slots one 16x PCI-E, one 1x PCI
  • Sound 6-channel HD audio via VIA VT1705
  • Networking Realtek RTL8105E Gigabit Ethernet
  • Ports 4 x SATA 3Gbps, 10 x USB 2, 1 x LAN, audio out, line in, mic, VGA
  • Dimensions (mm) 226 x 170 (Micro-ATX)

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