While the P7H55D-M EVO lacks high-end overclocking hardware features like physical power, reset, clear-CMOS, voltage or turbo buttons found on its more expensive cousins, it does still have a few enthusiast features.
Perhaps the cleverest of these is Turbo Key, which rather than having a physical button on the board turns your PC’s power button into a… well, turbo button, giving you an instant processor overclock. GPU Boost is largely redundant though, as while the H55’s integrated Intel GMA graphics are perfectly adequate for everyday tasks and video, not even a 100 per cent overclock would make it a competent gaming card.
As ever, Asus’ BIOS is crammed with options but generally features a fairly intuitive layout – though we still don’t see why O.C. Profiles are hidden under Tools rather than Ai Tweaker. Together with the eight different fully customisable profiles, Ai Tweaker gives you great control over overclocking, whether manual or automatic.
Old familiars TurboV and Fan Xpert are also on hand. The former lets you dynamically overclock the PC from Windows or switch between several calibrated profiles, while the latter will assess the performance of whatever fan you’re configuring to see how well it performs and assign fan-speed levels to it accordingly, again with varying profiles. Last but not least among software features is Asus’ ExpressGate ‘instant-on’ OS, though it needs to be installed on your system rather than being included on flash memory like with higher-end boards.
Having covered the hardware and software basics, it’s time to see how this motherboard performs at overclocking. To be honest it didn’t do as well as we had hoped. Unlike the other most recent Asus motherboard we looked at, the stonking ROG Maximus III Gene, the P7H55D-M EVO wasn’t limited by our testing-cooler in overclocking. In fact it nearly failed to break the 4GHz barrier, with even a few MHz above that on our Intel Core i5 750 (which runs at 3.2GHz stock) crashing the entire system within seconds of running anything intensive. This certainly wasn’t due to CPU temperature, which hovered around 70 degrees.
So what are we left with? A good-looking mainstream board with all the features you’d really need including USB 3.0, but suffering from slightly under-par overclocking performance, for around £100. If you’re not planning anything too extreme, it’s certainly a worthy contender. However, there’s no lack of competition, with the likes of Gigabyte’s Micro-ATX GA-H55M-USB3 offering a similar feature set (with the addition of a DisplayPort video output and AutoGreen energy saving using Bluetooth) for only £90. Our advice would be to wait (if you can) for more USB 3.0-sporting Micro-ATX boards to make it to market.
Asus’ P7H55D-M EVO offers an attractive design and future-proofing with USB 3.0 support, but its slightly high price and relatively poor overclocking performance mean it falls short of a recommendation.
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