ASUS produce a whole range of PC motherboards with many different innovations. When it comes to home theatre building or media centres the H81I-PLUS motherboard is a great choice. It’s price is low enough for media centres built for just movies and music but for a little board it can deliver all of the capabilities needed for high end gaming. In this ASUS H81I-PLUS review we will take a look at what this motherboard has to offer and detail it’s features. We will show you the main ASUS H81I-PLUS specs and exactly what you get for your money. We also include an ASUS H81I-PLUS price compare feature allowing you to pitch this board against other similar devices.
ASUS H81I-PLUS Price Compare
Compare the ASUS H81I-PLUS mini-ITX motherboard against similar devices.
|MSI A88XI AC||AMD||Socket FM2+, DDR3 Memory up to 2133MHz (Max 32GB), 4X SATA3, Onboard Graphics, Wifi|
|ASUS H81I-PLUS||Intel||Socket LGA1150, DDR3 Memory up to 1600MHz (Max 16GB), 2X SATA3, Onboard Graphics, Low Price|
|MSI H110I||Intel||Socket LGA1151 (Skylake), DDR4 Memory up to 2133MHz (Max 32GB), 4X SATA3, Onboard Graphics|
|ASUS B150I||Intel||Socket LGA1151 (Skylake), DDR4 Memory up to 2133MHz (Max 32GB), 4X SATA3, Onboard Graphics, Wifi, (GAMING)|
|GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XN||AMD||Socket FM2+, DDR3 Memory up to 2400MHz (Max 64GB), 4X SATA3, Onboard Graphics, Wifi, Bluetooth|
ASUS H81I-PLUS Review
The board is based on the larger H81-PLUS but compressed into the mini-ITX form factor. It has all of the features of its big brother but trimmed down to just 17cm X 17cm. Perfect for building a device to sit in your TV cabinet. The board ways in at 798 grams so is fine if you are building a portable media device. The only features taken out of the H81I-PLUS are the extra PCI-E slots you get with the larger ATX motherboards. If you buy ASUS H81I-PLUS you get a board that has been designed with Windows 8 in mind. It has many new advanced features for this operating system.
And so the main question in the ASUS H81I-PLUS review; what do you get with this mini-ITX motherboard?
ASUS H81I-PLUS Specifications
The below table shows the main ASUS H81I-PLUS specs.
|Architecture||Intel||Supported CPUs||I3,I5,I7||USB Ports||6|
|Form Factor||Mini-ITX||Memory Type||DDR3 1600Mhz||Output||HDMI & VGA|
|Weight||798 grams||Max Memory||16384mb||PCI-E||1|
ASUS H81I-PLUS – CPU Support
The first of the ASUS H81I-PLUS specs is the CPU support. For this board you will need to select a socket LGA1150 Intel processor. The ASUS H81-PLUS utilises the Intel H81 Express chipset and supports all 4th Generation Intel I3,I5,I7 CPUs. The majority of PC games today will run comfortably on an I3 processor so this board offers plenty of room for future proofing. If you are someone who likes to play system emulators on your media centre then an I3 processor will run everything up to Dolphin (GameCube) and PCSX2 (Playstation 2).
Looking for the smallest possible case for mini-ITX motherboards? [Read: Top Mini ITX Cases for the Smallest HTPC Build]
ASUS H81I-PLUS – Memory Support
The H81I-PLUS utilises Dual-Channel DDR3 1600Mhz SDRAM and can take up to a maximum of 16384MB. The board has two memory slots and the 1600MHZ will give you all of the bandwidth required for the latest games, system emulators and 3D movies. The board will also take 1333MHz and 1066MHz memory frequencies.
ASUS H81I-PLUS – Storage
2X SATA 6Gb/s ports are provided on the H81I-PLUS mother board. The board supports all 7200 rpm, 10000 rpm and Solid State Disks.
ASUS H81I-PLUS – Networking
The H81I-Plus comes with a signal Realtek 8111G 10/100/1000 Mb/s ethernet socket. One of the top features when looking at the ASUS H81I-PLUS specs is its networking. ASUS have developed a tool set for this board to significantly improve the end user networking experience. Network I-control is a handy piece of software designed to increase your systems performance over a network. With Network I-Control you create profiles for your applications and then prioritise these profiles when your network is under load or congested. This is perfect for a home media centre. Say you are downloading new content to you HTPC and at the same time watching your favourite movie. With Network I-control you can give the movie streaming priority over the download meaning your film will run uninterrupted.
ASUS H81I-PLUS – USB 3.0
The H81I-PLUS provides a total of 6 USB ports, 2 front and 4 rear. The two front ports are USB 3.0 offering a transfer rate of up to 5 Gb/s which is around 10X faster than the previous USB 2.0 standard. ASUS have developed their own USB Boost technology for Windows 8 which supports UASP or USB Attached SCSI Protocol. UASP is a protocol used to increase speeds of USB attached storage devices and can accelerate transfer by around 170%. The H81I-PLUS comes with enough ports for you to connect all of your game controllers and HTPC remote controls and with superfast transfer rates moving your media from your external storage devices could not be more efficient.
ASUS H81I-PLUS – Onboard Graphics and Sound
Buy ASUS H81I-PLUS motherboard and you get sound and graphics included. The inboard devices are fine for media centres designed solely for music and movies but you will need to add a graphics card for PC gaming. If it is retro gaming you are into using system emulators then these are fine but do not expect to play any of the newer generation systems. I have tested the Playstation emulator PCSX and games are playable in lower resolutions. For the more graphically hungry emulators and games you do have the PCI-E expansion slot on this motherboard for a dedicated graphics card.
ASUS H81I-PLUS Review Additional Features
A now essential part of and media centre build is HDMI. With high definition movies now replacing standard format a HDMI port is a must. HDMI is a requirement if you want your media centre to have 3D support. The ASUS H81I-PLUS come with a single HDMI port. (Cable not included).
ASUS load thH81I-PLUS with their UEFI Bios. For most the features of this are perhaps overkill but for the techies out there who really want to get the most out of their systems it is a great tool. The UEFI BIOS is mouse controlled and highly customisable. You can change port names to suite you and even add notes next to changes you have made for easy rollback.
Reasons to Buy ASUS H81I-PLUS Motherboard
There are many reasons to buy ASUS H81I-PLUS and below are our main reasons.
- Small mini-ITX form factor for HTPC media centre builds
- Feature rich for a compact device
- On-board graphics and sound
- I-control intelligent networking
- The ASUS H81I-PLUS specs are great for its price
ASUS H81I-PLUS Review – HMP Verdict
For its price the ASUS H81I-PLUS specs are decent. This board will suite any home theatre PC build and will give you an optimum level of features and performance in all areas. It’s compact, relatively light weight and has almost everything a full ATX form factor motherboard has. Whether you want a standard media centre for music and movies, a compact portal device or a performance gaming machine this motherboard can accommodate. The only thing to bear in mind is the fact that the board has just a single PCI-E expansion slot but this is typical with the majority of mini-ITX form factor motherboards. We were pleased with the ASUS H81I-PLUS review and this is a great product at a decent price. Use the ASUS H81I-PLUS price compare feature above. Buy ASUS H81I-PLUS motherboard from Amazon now!