Biostar Refresh 2011’s 1155 Motherboard in 2020 with H61MHV2

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The H61MHV2 with text saying

In April 2011, Biostar released the H61MH socket 1155 motherboard for Intel 2nd generation Core processors (Sandy Bridge). In December 2011 it got an initial BIOS update for 3rd generation Core (Ivy Bridge), and in May 2012 it got a final BIOS update with the latest microcode for full Ivy Bridge support. Normally that would be all there was to say. An unremarkable low-end motherboard went through a normal product lifecycle. But it seems someone at Biostar asked “If the H61MH was so good, why isn’t there an H61MHV2?” and here we are, in 2020, with a new socket 1155 Biostar board straight out of 2011.

The H61MHV2

Left, Biostar’s 2011 H61MH. Right, the 2020 H61MHV2. Both socket 1155 motherboards.

The new H61MHV2 certainly looks different to its predecessor. Maybe in 2011 the brown PCB and red plastic were cool, but in 2020 Biostar want their socket 1155 motherboard to look modern. A sleek black PCB and yellow plastic for the memory and PCIe slots ensures you and your H61 chipset won’t look out of fashion. The H61MHV2 is still described as “Micro ATX” by Biostar, but the cut down PCB is technically Mini DTX sized. DDR3 slots have retained the same orientation, which is in line with the airflow path for a small form factor case.

IO for the H61MHV2 - a PS/2 keyboard port above 2 USB 2.0 ports, a black VGA port, a large gap, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port in a cluster with 2 more USB 2.0 ports, and the usual 3 audio jacks
The IO is minimal but functional

Diving into the full specs, there are a few more differences as well.

H61MH

H61MHV2

Chipset

Intel H61

Intel H61

CPU Support

Socket 1155 Consumer

Socket 1155 including Sandy Bridge Xeons up to E3-1275

Memory

2 DIMMs DDR3-1600

2 DIMMs DDR3-1600

Integrated Graphics Outputs

VGA, DVI and HDMI

VGA and HDMI

Storage

4x SATA II 3Gbps

4x SATA II 3Gbps

Ethernet LAN

Realtek RTL8111E Gigabit

Realtek RTL8111H Gigabit

Audio Codec

Realtek ALC662

Realtek ALC662

USB 2.0

4 + 4 via Headers

4 + 4 via Headers

USB 3.0

No

No

PCIe

PCIe 3.0 x16 (3.0 with Ivy Bridge CPU), PCIe 2.0 x1

PCIe 3.0 x16 (3.0 with Ivy Bridge CPU), PCIe 2.0 x1

PCI

Yes, 2 Slots

No

PS/2

Yes, Keyboard Only

Yes, Keyboard Only

Parallel (Printer) Port

Via Header

No

Serial (COM) Port

Via Header

Via Header

S/PDIF Digital Audio

Via Header

No

Consumer IR

Via Header

No

Compared to its 2011 namesake, the H61MHV2 drops a lot of legacy connectors that very few people use, has a more recent gigabit ethernet controller, and supports certain Xeon processors. Biostar, however, are actually pitching this board as a successor to the IH61MF-Q5 which itself launched in January 2018.

Left, Biostar’s 2018 IH61MF-Q5. Right, the 2020 H61MHV2. Both socket 1155 motherboards.

The full specs can be spared this time. The only differences on paper are the RTL8111G LAN becomes an RTL8111H, the PS/2 mouse port is lost, and an HDMI video output is gained. We can also see more modern-looking power components and solid capacitors.

Why Biostar Would Launch a Socket 1155 Motherboard in 2020

Biostar say “the H61MHV2 motherboard is packed with some of the most requested upgrades”, which may have some truth to it – if you’re stuck with only a VGA port and want a modern monitor, the HDMI port would be welcome. That makes it an upgrade from the IH61MF-Q5. There’s also always a market for people repairing old systems. Capacitors wear out with use, especially if they’re run hot, and that leads to voltages drifting out of spec and systems getting unstable.

There is, however, another reason. Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge had a reputation for longevity, and they’re still fast enough for a lot of people. As office machines go through upgrade cycles, sometimes only the CPU is saved and sold on. Biostar are giving those lonely Core i5s and even i7s a good home, plus some Xeon CPUs that may have come out of workstations or small servers. CPUs, especially in the LGA package, are traditionally robust so it would be reasonable for a builder on a very tight budget to buy a used CPU but go for a new motherboard to pair it with.

Availability

The Biostar H61MHV2 hasn’t shown up in retailers at time of writing, but you can search for it on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Full product information is, as ever, available on Biostar’s web page for the H61MHV2.

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