Now with all the B3 stepping goodness.
Since the launch of the budget Intel H61 platform for the Sandy Bridge processors, I was wondering when the Micro-ATX motherboards will start shipping. After the recently reviewed ECS H61H2-A motherboard, which had pretty decent performance for its price, I’ll be looking at the m-ATX version of the same board.
The ECS H61H2-M comes with the new B3 stepping chipsets, so the deteriorating SATA performance is gone now. What we have here is the new Intel 6 series chipset, with all the basics of a good current generation m-ATX motherboard. Some of the main highlights include having onboard VGA & DVI output, 3x USB 3.0 ports and Dual DDR3 memory support for up to 16GB.
As far as the layout is concerned, the H61H2-M looks like a budget motherboard through and through, which is not to say that its performance and quality are hindered in any way. It’s just a very Plain Jane motherboard with a simple layout and minimalist cooling.
The 6 channel HD audio, 4x USB 2.0 ports, LAN adapter and PS/2 connectors are rounded up with the 4x SATA 2 (3Gb/s) ports to complete the ECS H61H2-M. Of course, there are two PCI slots and a PCIe Gen 2 x 16 slot as well. So there’s nothing remarkable here, but at $70 you shouldn’t be expecting anything out of the ordinary either. USB 3.0 was my only main concern here since using this board in an HTPC would mean faster speeds onceUSB 3.0 external HDDs become commonplace in the near future.