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Gigabyte GA-H110M-M.2 Review - Armchair Empire

Gigabyte GA-H110M-M.2 Review

  • NA/10
    Overclocking - NA/10
  • 7/10
    Compatibility - 7/10
  • 9/10
    Performance - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Stability - 9/10
  • 7/10
    Expansion - 7/10
8.0/10

Our Rating

We Recommend the Gigabyte GA-H110M-M.2 For

Unless you plan on making a YouTube channel, speak of gaming peripherals, games and PC parts – you really do not need an expensive motherboard. The Gigabyte GA-H110M series has plenty of versions, each with subtle differences and minor price changes but all models maintain a reasonable cost.

We picked the M.2 edition because an M.2 port gives you the best jump in performance for the least expense. You can practically experience 1440p gaming with this motherboard, by spending the extra money you save with the Gigabyte on a GTX 1070 or RX580 graphics card.

GIGABYTE GA-H110M-M.2 LGA1151 Intel H110 M.2 HDMI Micro ATX DDR4 Motherboard
  • LGA1151, supports 7th/ 6th generation Intel Core processors
  • Dual Channel DDR4, 2 DIMMs
  • Audio noise guard with high quality Audio capacitors

Introduction

Forget every other component in your build, if you do not have a reliable motherboard, your system is doomed from the very beginning. You must have heard us repeat this time and again. The thing is, people often confuse reliable with expensive. No, an inexpensive motherboard can be just as reliable. The Gigabyte GA-H110M-M.2 is inexpensive and dependable. It is an investment that ought to serve you well for years to come.

This motherboard packs in just the bare essentials and nothing more. By the way, Gigabyte offers the GA-H110M in several iterations, each with something unique over its siblings. This particular version we have chosen comes with an M.2 slot because, in our opinion, that is a technology worth investing into.

Specifications

There really isn’t much to speak on the specifications of the Gigabyte GA-H110M in general. However, we want to explain the major differences first between all H110M models from Gigabyte before exclusively laying down the features of the M.2 edition.

All H110M motherboards from Gigabyte have the same layout and components. The primary difference is in the back panel of the motherboard, what kind of video outs you get. The M.2 edition offers HDMI 1.4, DVI-D, D-sub and the usual set of PS/2 ports, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. One addition is the presence of an M.2 slot that takes in SATA or NVMe drives. We suggest opting for the latter since the speed increments are phenomenal.

Naturally, you won’t be relying on the display outputs of the motherboard beyond the testing phase. We did not test this motherboard with the onboard graphics, but when we fired it up for the first time, the display was a bit out of focus and kind of broken. Not great if you plan on using the onboard Intel graphics processor!

Our Review

Gaming is a demanding hobby. It needs top notch components and a motherboard that can bear the brunt of all the parts put together. The Gigabyte GA-H110M-M.2 offers a perfect bed for building a top-notch gaming PC while saving a good chunk of change in the long run. First of all, this motherboard extremely affordable! Couple it with a decent Core i5 or i7 locked 6th or 7th Generation processor, and you have a base that will run Ashes of Singularity without breaking a sweat. We advise buying a CPU cooler though since the motherboard does not have heatsinks as seen on more expensive versions.

Maybe you did not read the last paragraph correctly. Let us repeat the keyword once again. This motherboard supports 6th and 7th generation processors! Buy the motherboard first and decide on the CPU later. Remember that using a 7th generation processor will allow you to buy 2400MHz memory modules, though the performance boost isn’t much. As it stands though, 6th and 7th generation are both great, depends on what you get for cheaper.

This motherboard uses a Micro ATX form factor and hence offers just two DIMM slots. Good news is that both DIMM slots are DDR4 but rated at a maximum of 2133 MHz (only when you couple the motherboard with 7th generation processors can you use 2400MHz or XMP memory). The great news is that the performance difference between 2133 MHz and 3000MHz isn’t huge to warrant an upgrade just yet (when the price falls for the 3000MHz modules, the 20% performance boost will make sense). The motherboard supports a maximum of 32GB in dual 16GB x 2 configurations.

We did notice that the three PCIe slots are bit cramped together. This can be a problem for some especially if you plan on investing into beefier cards. The middle PCIe slot will be hidden for the most part and you are left with just one free slot. Though, we don’t see why that would be a major problem. All this motherboard lacks is Wi-Fi, and one PCIe slot is sufficient to overcome the problem.

Realtek ALC887 codec with High Def audio and support for S/PDIF Out is standard on all iterations of the H110M. The back panel offers up to 5.1 channel audio, and for 7.1 channel you have to use the front panel as well as enable multi-channel audio.

Remember we said the M.2 connector is unique just to this Gigabyte motherboard? It is an M key type 2242/2260/2280 SATA x2 SSD port so it should take any M.2 type SSD drive. That is the reason why we suggest this particular model instead of the other H110M offerings from Gigabyte. M.2 drives offer faster data transfer rates as default. If you haven’t yet used an M.2 SSD but have experienced SATA SSD with 6GBps connections, then get ready for double the speeds!

The motherboard isn’t particularly well built and neither does it offer multiple fan outlets. In fact, we advise investing into a PSU with multiple chassis fan connectors so you need not draw power from the motherboard. You could invest in a separate fan controller though.

Pros

  • Inexpensive and surprisingly useful. This motherboard packs in just the right amount of features for optimal performance.
  • You can spend the money you save on a powerful graphics card, an M.2 SSD, and a better processor.
  • Supports 6th and 7th generation processors out of the box. Not many motherboards today offer this degree of choice.
  • Micro-ATX design will help a lot to build an affordable PC, and you need not invest in a large cabinet.

Cons

  • The design currently blocks the middle PCIe lane if you use a big and bulky graphics card. Basically, any card from two generations back might be too large for this motherboard, but it will fit and work.
  • Just the essential features except for the M.2 slot.

Conclusion

The Gigabyte GA-H110M-M.2 is an affordable motherboard with good build quality and essential features necessary to build a proper gaming rig. It can do with new coolers and fans to ensure longevity though this isn’t absolutely necessary. The money you save on this motherboard will be put to better use buying a powerful CPU and graphics card – components that truly improve your gaming and work experience.