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Intel DH57JG Mini-ITX Motherboard with Intel Core i5 660 CPU Review

The Intel Core i5 660 is based on Intel's ‘Clarkdale' architecture and is fabricated using a 32nm process.  It runs at a clock speed of 3.33GHz (25x 133MHz) by default but can hit 3.60GHz (27x 133MHz) in Turbo Mode.  The CPU features 4mb of Level 3 cache and each of the two cores has 32kb of Level 1 cache and 256kb of Level 2 cache.  It supports up to 16GB of dual-channel DDR3 RAM.

When used in conjunction with H55 and H57 based motherboards, the i5 660's onboard graphics are enabled.  For those who are wondering, the difference between the 660 and 661 CPUs is the onboard graphics; the 660's run at 733MHz and the 661's at 900Mhz.

The DH57JG is supplied in a small blue box which reflects the tiny size of the motherboard inside, along with the limited bundle that Intel includes.  This bundle consists of two SATA cables and a variety of different papers, one of which is possibly the most simple to follow installation guide we've ever seen with a motherboard.  But, unfortunately, there isn't a more detailed manual included.

Moving on to the motherboard itself, the 1156 CPU socket takes centre stage and is positioned in the centre of the motherboard.  As a result of the compact nature of the DH57JG, all of the other components are located within very close proximity to the CPU socket so those who are planning to install a large aftermarket CPU cooler should consider their options carefully.  The two DDR3 RAM slots are found alongside the CPU socket.

Below the CPU socket we find a lone PCI Express x16 slot which most users will choose to fill with a graphics card.  We tried to fit in our HIS HD5550 Silence graphics card but the large heatsink which protrudes from the underside of the card conflicted with the CPU cooler.  So we were forced to use our Sapphire 5850 TOXIC for testing.

At the top of the motherboard we find almost all of the connections.  The four 3.0Gb/s SATA ports support RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 and are accompanied by three front panel USB2.0 connectors.  The 24-pin power connector is also located at the top while the 4-pin CPU power socket is located next to the CPU socket.

Intel have managed to cram numerous connections on the I/O panel.  These consist of a RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet Jack, six USB2.0 ports, an eSATA port, five 3.5mm audio jacks, a S/PDIF port, an HDMI port and a DVI port.  Unfortunately there is no support for USB3.0 which is disappointing considering there are cheaper mini-ITX boards on the market with this feature.

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