There are currently a number of quality options available for price-conscious users who want to build a new computer. For example, the AMD Phenom II X2 processor series gives you a lot of computing power for just $ 110 for the 3.2 GHz flagship. Combine this with the affordable AMD 785G-based motherboards, which sell for around $ 70, and you have what it takes to be a really affordable platform.
However, if you're ready to part with a little more money, the new Intel Core i3 series may be the way to go. Compared to the dual-core Phenom II X2 555, consumers pay around $ 20 to $ 30 more for a Core i3 530 processor, while compatible Intel H55 motherboards average $ 20 to $ 30 more than the AMD alternative .
There are a number of high quality H55 motherboards available at reasonable prices. Both Asus and Gigabyte were very competitive with their products in this regard. For example, the Asus P7H55-M Pro only costs $ 100, while the Gigabyte H55M-UD2H is only a little more expensive at $ 105.
Despite their affordable prices, none of these products are cheap. In fact, both appear pretty high quality and are very well equipped in terms of features. If you need something cheaper, both Asrock and ECS have H55-based motherboards for just $ 80.
The Asrock H55M Pro is a modest motherboard with impressive features for the money. The ECS H55H-CM, on the other hand, is more than what you would expect from a product in its price range, since it offers rather few functions.
With so many great MicroATX options priced at $ 100 or less, choosing the right board for your next Intel H55-based build is no easy task. That's why we've included these four rather different products in our resume, which will go through the usual series of tests as we review their on-board capabilities and overclocking capabilities. Read on as we try to figure out which consumers offer the best price for their money.