Intel H55 chipset is a single-chip solution. The basic features provided by this chipset include six SATA-300 ports (no RAID support), no support for parallel ATA (PATA) ports, 12 USB 2.0 ports supporting port disable, embedded Gigabit Ethernet MAC (Medium Access Control) and six x1 PCI Express lanes.
Intel DH55TC provides all the six SATA-300 ports. The SATA connectors are placed in a position where the first two ports (SATA 0 and SATA 1) can be blocked if you install a dual-slot video card longer than 8” (20 cm). Two of these SATA ports (the red ones) can be converted into eSATA ports using adapters that don’t come with the product.
In Figure 4, you can see that this motherboard has a parallel port, an I/O connection that is practically dead. In order to use this port you need an adapter that doesn’t come with the product. A serial port is also available near the PCI slot (see the green connector in Figure 2), also needing an adapter that doesn’t come with the board.
Since Intel H55 chipset does not provide parallel ATA port and Intel H55TC doesn’t have any additional PATA controller chip, this motherboard doesn’t have any parallel ATA port. It also lacks a floppy disk drive controller.
All 12 USB 2.0 ports supported by the chipset are present on this motherboard, six soldered on the rear panel and six available through three motherboard headers. No FireWire (IEEE1394) port is available.
Audio is generated by the chipset using a Realtek ALC888 codec, which has a relatively good audio quality, providing 7.1 audio with 24-bit resolution, 97 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the outputs, 90 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, 192 kHz sampling rate for its outputs and 96 kHz sampling rate for its inputs. For working professionally with audio capture and editing (converting LPs and VHS tapes to digital format, for example) we recommend you to look for a motherboard with a codec that provides at least 95 dB SNR on its analog inputs.
The main problem with this motherboard is that it only offers three shared analog audio jacks. So if you install a six-channel analog speaker set you won’t have the line in and mic in inputs available. And this motherboard doesn’t come with SPDIF outputs soldered on the board, even though you can install these outputs as the motherboard has an SPDIF header (you will need to buy this adapter). Digital audio is obviously provided on the on-board HDMI output, so the absence of on-board SPDIF outputs may not be a limitation if your home theater system is capable of extracting audio from the HDMI output.
Intel DH55TC has a Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by the chipset and using an Intel 82578DC chip to make the interface with the physical layer.
In Figure 5, you can see the motherboard rear panel with PS/2 connector for either a keyboard or a mouse, six USB 2.0 ports, VGA output, DVI-D output, HDMI output, Gigabit Ethernet port and shared analog 5.1 audio outputs.
The VGA output supports resolutions up to 2048 x 1536 at 75 Hz refresh rate, while HDMI and DVI-D outputs support resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 at 60 Hz refresh rate. Even though this motherboard has three outputs, only
two of them can be used at the same time.