If you are looking at upgrading to a second generation core processor and are not looking at serious gaming or anything like that the H61iCafe is a good choice. It gives you everything you need without the need for a discrete video card. Keep in mind you don’t need to get a very powerful processor either. This board supports Core i3, i5 and i7 processors. As far as features you want on a newer board this board gives you both USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s connectivity.
The board itself is not overly large and will fit into pretty much any ATX case. Also there is a lot of room around the CPU socket so you can fit many aftermarket CPU coolers. The board offers 3 different fan connections, all of which can be controlled. The only real issue that I found with the design of this board is the location of the 8pin CPU power connector. I would have liked it to be on the opposite side like many other motherboards.
This is the first time that we able to test Intel’s HD graphics that are built on to the CPU itself and honestly we were not impressed at all. If you think that these graphics are going to replace a discrete video card, even a lower-end card you are wrong. These graphics will play many older games at decent settings, but if you want to play anything new then consider getting a discrete video card. These graphics will play HD video and Blu-ray content as well as 3D content. You are given HDMI, DVI and VGA connections so you can connect your system to pretty much any display.
Some other cool features of the board are the XFast USB, The Graphical UEFI BIOS and APP Charger. The XFast USB technology delivers the world’s fastest USB data transfer speed. Our tests did prove that when XFast was enabled the drive performed much faster. The graphical BIOS’s are something we have been seeing with the new motherboards and they make it so easy to navigate your BIOS and make the BIOS less imposing for beginners. By simply installing the App Charger driver, it makes your iPhone charge much quickly from your computer and up to 40% faster than before. ASRock App Charger allows you to quickly charge many Apple devices simultaneously and even supports continuous charging when your PC enters into Standby mode (S1), Suspend to RAM(S3), hibernation mode (S4) or power off (S5).
The board sells for $74.99 at my favorite online retailer, which puts it in the budget category, but you are really getting a lot of features with this board. Overall ThinkComputers gives the ASRock H61iCafe Intel H61 Motherboard a 9 out of 10 score.
– USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s connectivity
– Graphical UEFI BIOS
– No discrete video card needed for most applications
– Placement of the 8pin CPU power connector is out of place