ECS has put together a nice little board here, literally, with the H57H-MUS micro ATX. There’s a pretty good layout, respectable features, and good connectivity options with VGA, DVI, and HDMI capabilities. And with one PCI-E X16 slot available, you can install a nice discrete card, perhaps something along the lines of a Radeon 5670, to give your video capabilities a boost and do some light gaming.
While there are some overclocking and tweaking options available, the reality is that this motherboard isn’t designed to be pushed like that. A simple and straightforward BIOS is really all that’s required. The eOC overclocking utility is rather rudimentary compared to what you find on enthusiast-classed motherboards, but this isn’t an enthusiast-classed board, so it’s a good start in the right direction for ECS. For the average user, these will work just fine, and frankly may never be touched for the most part.
The onbard video connectivity included here is rather robust with the inclusion of the VGA, DVI, and HDMI ports available. The SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 add-on cards are a nice inclusion to offer the latest technology, but they’re not as fast as native connectivity, though we can understand the tradeoff for a lower cost for consumers here. eJIFFY is a great idea, but the implementation is a disappointment, however, as it’s required to be initially loaded onto the drive rather than simply flash-integrated, making things unecessarily cumbersome. And while the BIOS does offer some respectable overclocking options, it is a bit quirky and the ability to really push a CPU is a bit limited.
However, the H57H-MUS is a good motherboard for those who want the latest technology at an affordable price. With great connectivity options available, an HTPC setup is certainly a great option. The H57 chipset isn’t a barnburner but it does the job. If you choose to drop in a budget discrete card, along with a Core i3 530, for example, then you can put together a fine little media box on the cheap. If you need a capable all-around smallform motherboard that offers some good features without expecting to push things very hard, then the ECS H57H-MUS micro ATX motherboard is a good option to consider.