Intel DH61BE and Intel DB65AL motherboardsJune 25th, 2011
Intel DH61BE and DB65AL are two inexpensive LGA 1155 Sandy Bridge platform motherboards that recently became available in Pakistan. There are cheaper LGA 1155 motherboards available but these two motherboards stand out because they have support for the latest generation of peripheral device interfaces.
Both motherboards support the full range of Sandy bridge (SB) socket 1155 processors. They’ve also got video out ports to that you can take advantage of the integrated graphics built into SB CPUs. Other features include integrated audio and gigabit Ethernet, and multiple PCIe ports including one PCIe 16x 2.0 port for a discrete graphics card. Neither board can be used to overclock your SB CPU. For that you will need a P67 based board.
The Intel DH61BE comes with 2 USB 3.0 ports. USB 3.0 ports allow you to use faster USB 3.0 flash drives and external hard drives that deliver 70 megabytes per second or more read speeds. Of course USB 3.0 storage devices cost extra compared to their USB 2.0 brethren.
This board also has 2 SATA 6 Gbps ports. SATA 6 Gbps, or SATA 3 as its also known, is a faster interface for storage devices like hard disk drives (HDD) and solid state drives (SSD). SATA 3 allows for speeds of upto 600 megabytes per second. However, current generation hard disk drives can’t even saturate a SATA 1, 1.5gbps interface so SATA 3 is not very useful with hard disks. SATA 3 is mostly for SSDs. If you plan to get an SSD then having SATA 3 is a good option. Generally, budget computer builders don’t spring for an SSD so SATA 3 isn’t very useful in a budget mobo like this. Its more of an upgrade option for the future when SSD prices go down and you can extend the life of your ageing system by installing an SSD in it.
There is one major downside to this motherboard and its the fact that it only has 2 RAM slots. That limits the potential for memory upgrades quite significantly. Officially the board supports 16GB max memory but 8GB DDR3 modules aren’t yet available. So the actual limit is 2x4GB for a total of 8GB RAM. With even browsers taking up 1GB or more of RAM, 8GB or even 16GB is likely to be a major limiting factor down the road. Other H61 chipset motherboards have the same limitation. If you need 4 RAM slots you will have to pay the extra price for an H67 based motherboard or go with the Intel DB65AL which is similarly priced but lacks USB 3.0 support.
The Intel DB65AL is an interesting MicroATX LGA 1155 board. Unlike the H61 based boards the DB65AL has support for one SATA 3 port as well as numerous SATA 2 ports. But it also has the aforementioned 4 RAM slots that allow you to add a maximum of 32GB RAM.
The board is aimed at business PCs so it also has a PCIE x4 slot presumably for RAID controller cards. What it lacks is support for USB 3.0.
At the time of writing the Intel DH61BE is available at Rs. 8300. Other H61 based motherboards like the MSI H61-E23(B3) and the Intel DH61WW are priced Rs. 6900 and Rs. 6500 respectively. These motherboards lack USB 3.0 and SATA 3 support. The Intel DB65AL is priced at around Rs. 7,800. So overall the Intel DH61BE is a good deal especially since you get USB 3.0 support out of the box. If that isn’t important to you then the Intel DB65AL is a great alternative.