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Jetway XBlue H55 1156 Motherboard

Jetway was nice enough to send us over their XBlue-H55, which is also based on the cheaper chip-set. It is one of a trio produced by Jetway. The other two models are the BI-751 and the HI06. Each has its own set of unique features. Out of the three, the XBlue has the between layout, feature set and colors. We will be coupling the board with a new Core i3 540 processor, a known overclocker, to see what the board has offer in graphics and overclocking headroom.

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Jetway xblue h55

Jetway was nice enough to send us over their XBlue-H55, which is also based on the cheaper chip-set. It is one of a trio produced by Jetway. The other two models are the BI-751 and the HI06. Each has its own set of unique features. Out of the three, the XBlue has the between layout, feature set and colors. We will be coupling the board with a new Core i3 540 processor, a known overclocker, to see what the board has offer in graphics and overclocking headroom.

Introduction to the Jetway XBlue-H55

Today, we are taking a look at another motherboard based on the Intel H55 chip-set. This chipset has proven to be a winner in today’s market mostly due to the low cost and the integrated graphics when mated with the right CPU, namely the Intel Clarkdale. We have taken a look at models from Gigabyte and Asrock thus far.

Jetway was nice enough to send us over their XBlue-H55. It is one of a trio produced by Jetway. The other two models are the BI-751 and the HI06. Each has its own set of unique features. Out of the three, the XBlue has the between layout, feature set and colors. We will be coupling the board with a new Core i3 540 processor, a known overclocker, to see what the board has offer in graphics and overclocking headroom.

Specifications

CPU
  1. Support INTEL® LGA1156 Processors
Chipset
  1. INTEL® H55 Express Chipset
Memory
  1. Dual Channel DDR3 memory technology
  2. 4 * 240-pin DDR3 DIMM slots
  3. Supports DDR3 1333/1066 non-ECC ,un-buffered memory
  4. Max.16GB
Expansion Slots
  1. 1 * PCI Express x16 slot by 16-lane
  2. 1 * PCI-Express x16 slot by 4-lane
  3. 1 * PCI Express x1 slots
  4. 1 * 32-bit PCI slot
StorageEmbedded INTEL H55 Chipset:

  1. 6 * Serial ATA2 3Gb/s connectors
Audio
  1. Realtek ALC883 8-Channel HD Audio CODEC
Ethernet LAN
  1. Realtek RTL8111DL PCI-E Gigabit LAN
USB
  1. Embedded 10 * USB 2.0/1.1
Special Features
  1. Advanced Power Design that supports the latest LGA 1156 Processors
  2. “IMAGE IT!” System Backup Software and “ProMagicPLUS!” System Recovery System
  3. Support 3D Audio Technology
  4. D.I.Y Switch x3 & G.P.I function
Rear Panel I / O
  1. 4 * USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  2. 1 * PS/2 keyboard/MS port
  3. 1 * Coaxial_OUT port & 1 * Optical_OUT port
  4. 1 * RJ-45 ports
  5. 1 * Audio I/O ports
  6. 1 * VGA Port & 1 * DVI Port & 1 * HDMI
Internal I / O
  1. 3 * USB 2.0/1.1 headers for 6 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  2. CPU / Chassis Fan connectors
  3. 1 * 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector
  4. 1 * 24-pin ATX Power connector
  5. 1 * COM port & 1 * IR header
  6. 1 * HDMI_SPDIF header
  7. 1 * WIFI header
BIOS
  1. AMI 32MB DIP Flash ROM
Form Factor
  1. U-ATX Form Factor(230mm X 245mm)

Features

  • INTEL® H55 Express Chipset
  • Support INTEL® LGA1156 Processors
  • Supports PCI-Express 2.0
  • Supports Dual Channel DDR3 1333/1066
  • Onboard Gigabit LAN
  • Integrated ALC883 HD Audio CODEC with 8.0 CH
  • Support 3D Audio Technology
  • Support G.P.I Technology
  • Support WIFI Technology
  • Supports ATI CrossFireX Technology
  • Ready for Windows® 7
  • U-ATX Form Factor(230mm X 245mm)

Closer look

The XBlue H55 is a mATX motherboard, which means it is sized to fit into any mATX and standard ATX cases. This doesn’t mean that you will lack in the overclocking arena or features, though. It just sports a smaller PCB and takes up less space. The blue and white colors resemble those of Gigabyte, but we will call that a coincidence.

Chances are the first thing you notice about the XBlue is the large flat blue heat sick that is used to cool the North Bridge. This is a common accessory for the XBlue line of motherboards. Unfortunately, this is the only form of cooling offered on this board. We would have loved to see some passive cooling on the circuitry surrounding the CPU socket.

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For add-in slots the board each of the PCI standards are represented here. There are dual 16x, a single PCI and PCIe 1x. If you are fortunate enough to have dual graphic cards for Cross-firing the second of the larger slots runs at 4x bandwidth. There is plenty of room between the two, if you elect not to use the other PCI slots.

The XBlue has a total of six blue SATA plugs. Unfortunately, there is no support for raid at all. Located beside the SATA ports are the on-board power, reset and clear CMOS buttons. Always a plus for benchers.

If you take the number of DIMM slots and multiple them by six, it will give you the maximum amount of ram the board will support which is 24 gigs of DDR3 PC1333. The board does not support anything past this point. So if you need your PC1600 to run at default, you will have to run your processor overclocked. There is no XMP or profile support on the XBlue.

The rear of the board is filled with various ports to achieve everything from analog to digital computing. Being characteristic of other motherboards with the same chipset, this board also offesr VGA, DVI and HDMI. For audio ports there are RCA, optical and standard mini jacks. In to get the most from your games Jetway implemented 3D audio into this board. Simply pressing the 3D button will give you that function.

BIOS of the XBlue-H55

Testing Begins

Testing Hardware:

Motherboard: Jetway XBlue H55
Processor: Intel Core i3 540
Ram: OCZ DDR3 PC12800 4GB Dual-Channel
Video Card: XFX HD 4770
HDD: Seagate 7200.11
Power: Thermaltake Tough Power XT 1000 (Donated by Thermaltake for our test bench)
Case: Open Air
Cooling: Thermaltake Silent 1156
OS: Windows 7 RC

Futuremark PCMark Vantage
3DMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed to test the DirectX10 performance of your graphics card. We’ve been making 3DMark for over 10 years, with each new edition using the latest 3D technology to determine real-world performance.

Futuremark 3DVantage
3DMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed to test the DirectX10 performance of your graphics card. We’ve been making 3DMark for over 10 years, with each new edition using the latest 3D technology to determine real-world performance.

A 3DMark score is an overall measure of your system’s 3D gaming capabilities, based on comprehensive real-time 3D graphics and processor tests. By comparing your score with those submitted by millions of other gamers you can see how your gaming rig performs, making it easier to choose the most effective upgrades or finding other ways to optimize your system.

3DMark is widely used by the PC industry, press and media as well as individual users and gamers, for comparing performance levels between whole systems or even specific components

SiSoftware Sandra Lite 2007 SP1
SiSoftware has announced the availability of Service Release 2 (SR2) for SiSoftware Sandra 2005, the latest version of its award-winning utility. The focus of this service release has been improved support, compatibility and reliability rather than new features. We have been working closely with more hardware vendors than before to be able to bring greater direct support of an increased market share of commodity and server technologies.

Lavalys Everest
Lavalys EVEREST Home Edition is freeware system information, system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for home PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. It offers the world’s most accurate system information and diagnostics capabilities, including online features, memory benchmarks, hardware monitoring, and low-level hardware information. EVEREST Home Edition is uniquely available for home users without any charges, based on the freeware license.

Maxon Cinebench
CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer’s performance capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

Super PI Modded 1.5
In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi in collaboration with Dr. Y.Kanada at the computer center. This record should be the current world record. (Details are shown in the windows help.) This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environment such as Windows NT and Windows 95. In order to calculate 33.55 million digits, it takes within 3 days with a Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
The events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat unfold shortly after the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Having discovered about the open path to the Zone center, the government decides to hold a large-scale military “Fairway” operation aimed to take the CNPP under control.

According to the operation’s plan, the first military group is to conduct an air scouting of the territory to map out the detailed layouts of anomalous fields location. Thereafter, making use of the maps, the main military forces are to be dispatched.

Despite thorough preparations, the operation fails. Most of the avant-garde helicopters crash. In order to collect information on reasons behind the operation failure, Ukraine’s Security Service send their agent into the Zone center.
From now on everything depends on the player.

Tech ARP x264 HD 3.15
Simply put, it is a reproducible measure of fast your machine can encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video file. It’s nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports a fairly accurate internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All these factors make this an ideal benchmark to compare different processors and systems to each other.

Overclocking the XBlue H55 and the Intel Core i3 540

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The overclocking options in the XBlue are pretty limited. You do not have the option to raise or lower the CPU multiplier. Nor do you have the rights to set ram options using XMP or profiles. But you have all the other rights like raising voltages and setting ram timings manually. With the limited options you will need to know just what they do as they are not commonly titled. Normally, in the BIOS when you want to raise just the CPU voltage you will CPU voltage as an option followed by CPU PLL, etc. Not in the XBlue. So, if you want to overclock this board you will need to be on the top of your game.

We took the time to explore the BIOS and play with the various voltage options. We find that our i3 540 sweet spot was at the 1.38v. And this netted us a 4140MHz upgrade. This was with a 180MHz bus speed. Taking the voltage up to 1.40 got us to 4260MHz but it was not stable resulting in non-completion of benchmarking programs or incomplete boot ups.

Conclusion

Everyone has preset notions about a motherboard without having ever touched the board. I see it all the time on different forums. One member will ask what do the rest think of a motherboard and the responses will either be negative or positive based solely on the manufacturer. If I was to make a post on a message board asking what they think about the new Jetway XBlue H55 I wonder what the comments would be. Being that it isn’t made by ASUS, Gigabyte or MSI, chances are the responses would be mostly negative. Having had the pleasure of testing one, I would love to respond with the following:

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“The Jetway XBlue H55 is a really solid motherboard based on the newest Intel chipset. Like all the other H55 motherboards, it offers a full list of features that would make it a great fit for a HTPC rig or a great workstation motherboard. If you were looking for something that overclocks pretty well, then it can do that as well. Granted, it doesn’t offer all the BIOS features of some other higher end boards, but it can take a lonely Intel Core i3 540 CPU and overclock it to over 4100Mhz stable using very little voltage.”

I am not saying that this board will bump Jetway to the top of the motherboard manufacturing pyramid, but it is a board that should be given a chance in the hand of many that want a nice reliable motherboard to build their HTPC box or whatever other reason someone would need a mATX motherboard.

This motherboard is not without its faults. The lack of BIOS options limits its overclocking abilities, but we feel there will be new updates in this area. A few would be CPU multiplier controls and simplifying the voltage controls.

Another area this board lack is in the form of RAID. Even with the large amount of SATA ports there is no RAID support. Nor does this board offer eSATA or fire wire ports. These ports we can definitely do without but honestly you will never know when you will need them.

There are some small features that make this motherboard a worthwhile unit. If you are gamer and you love your audio the 3D button will be your best friend. As it made the sounds of C.O.D. come more alive. And if you are a bencher the on-board buttons for power, reset and clear CMOS is a life saver.

We would like to think Jetway for giving us the first opportunity to review this board. And we give it the recommended award for its overclocking and HTPC ability and features.

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ProClockers was founded in 2004, and since then we have reviewed thousands of tech products, including motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, PC cases, cooling solutions and more. Whilst many of the original products we reviewed back then have long bit the dust, we continue working hard to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews.

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