The ASRock UEFI Setup Utility on the H61 motherboard is similar to that on other ASRock Sandy Bridge motherboards we have tested. It offers the standard set of features one would expect, a normal set of tweaking and overclocking options, and hardware monitoring support. There's nothing too advanced within there, but the UEFI isn't too stripped down either; it's much better than the BIOSes ASRock had offered many years ago where the overclocking options were extremely limited.
Installing Ubuntu 11.04 and Ubuntu 11.10 (development snapshot) to the ASRock H61M/U3S3 is a positive, nonchalant experience. Putting Ubuntu 11.04 on most H67/P67 motherboards is not a problem and it was not for the H61 either, sans needing to run the very latest graphics driver code to prevent some crashes and other issues that have been well documented on Phoronix in other articles. There is a small hitch with the xf86-video-intel DDX and the Z68 motherboard, but I will talk about that in the respective Z68 motherboard review. For the ASRock H61M/U3S3, I did not encounter any problems.
To not much surprise, LM_Sensors even on the 3.0 kernel with Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2 failed to detect any of the motherboard's integrated sensors (the Intel SNB CPUs though do have per-core thermal support via the Linux coretemp driver). Besides the lack of LM_Sensors support and needing to run the very latest driver stack (that's a Sandy Bridge problem, even on Ubuntu 11.04, and is nothing that's specific to this ASRock motherboard), it was smooth sailing to load Ubuntu Linux on the H61M/U3S3. If you are looking to use any motherboard with Sandy Bridge graphics, until this autumn, you are best off using the very latest Linux kernel, Mesa, and xf86-video-intel DDX from Git. Key versions to look for are Linux 3.0, Mesa 7.11/7.12-devel, and xf86-video-intel 2.15/2.16. Those components will lead to the most optimal graphics experience under Linux.
For reference, included are the Linux benchmark results from an Intel H67 reference "Bearup Lake" motherboard, the ASRock H61M/U3S3 motherboard, and the soon-to-be-reviewed ASRock Z68 Pro3 motherboard. These three SNB motherboards were tested with a Core i5 2500K at stock speeds, and 2GB of OCZ DDR3 memory. Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2 x86_64 was used on all three motherboards with the Linux 3.0 kernel, Unity 4.2.0, X.Org Server 1.10.2, xf86-video-intel 2.15.0, GCC 4.6.1, and EXT4. Intel SNB graphics results from the H61 are not included in this review as there is an entirely separate article dedicated to it that will be published on Phoronix in the next couple of days.