Low-end motherboard are sounding better?
Published: 26th September 2014 | Source: Gigabyte |
Low-end motherboard are starting to sound better.
A typical feature for many high end motherboards now is improved Audio components and features like separated PCB layers to reduce interference with the rest of your motherboard and higher grade capacitors and other components. Now these features are trickling down to even lowest end boards, which is a great thing to see.
Gigabyte has now launched the H81M-WW, their newest entry-level socket LGA1150 motherboard. Small micro-ATX motherboard, based on the Intel H81 Express chipset.
Despite being very basic, it does have one unique selling point for this class of motherboard, it's onboard audio solution. The board features a Realtek ALC887 HD audio CODEC in the 6-channel configuration. The CODEC itself isn't overly impressive, with its under 90 dBA SNR, but is backed by Nichicon audio-grade electrolytic capacitors, and ground-layer isolation from the rest of the board. The Audio section of the motherboard is also on a separated section of the PCB, which reduced interference. It is no doubt that the audio here is not like a dedicated soundcard, but it will be a lot better than most motherboards in this price bracket.
The rest of its feature-set is exceptionally basic, 4-pin CPU power connectors with a basic 3-phase CPU VRM. The CPU is wired to a single PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot. Other expansion slots include one each of PCI-Express 2.0 x1 and legacy PCI. Storage connectivity includes two each of SATA 6 Gb/s and 2 SATA 3 Gb/s ports. The only display output is a D-Sub (analog signal with a max resolution 1920 x 1200). The board's other legacy connectivity includes one each of serial (COM) and parallel (LPT). Two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, and a single gigabit Ethernet connection.
While most of you will simply dismiss this board out of hand it represents a step toward a greater audio experience for all PC Users, for both budget users and enthusiasts. Budget users could even try popping a 1150 Pentium and a low powered GPU like the GTX 750Ti and have a great performing and sounding budget PC. Hopefully we will be seeing the other motherboard vendors acting like this soon.
Join the discussion on the Gigabyte H81M-WW and the recent improvements of onboard Audio on the OC3D Forums.