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ASRock Core-100HT Intel i3-330M HTPC E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Notebook | Compact PC
Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 01 July 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASRock Core-100HT Intel i3-330M HTPC
ASRock Core 100 Features
Core 100HT Specifications
Closer Look: Asrock Core 100HT
ASRock HM55-HT Detailed Features
Motherboard Testing Methodology
PCMark Vantage Test Results
EVEREST CPU Benchmarks
Passmark PerformanceTest
Cinebench R11.5 Benchmarks
Street Fighter IV Benchmark
Lightweight Gaming Performance
ASRock HTPC Final Thoughts
ASRock Core 100HT Conclusion

Closer Look: Asrock Core 100HT

Despite its miniature size, the ASRock Core 100HT HTPC system actually contains more processing power than the majority of desktop computer systems in existance. Measuring 7.68" W x 2.76" H x 7.32" L, the mini-ITX chassis is available in either black or white gloss finish. In this review, we test the Core 100HT model that comes with a DVD multi drive, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi adapter, and Media Center Edition remote control. The Core 100 base model removes Wi-Fi and MCE remote, while the Core 100HT-BD model keeps them and adds Blu-ray disc functionality. All three models from the Asrock Core 100HT HTPC series come equipped with a 2.13GHz Intel Core i3-330M dual-core mobile processor and 4GB of DDR3 system memory.

Notice: the ASRock Core 100HT packs an incredible amount of hardware inside a tiny mini-ITX enclosure. One look at our full hardware component report will reveal a much bigger picture, and help fill in the details for our closer look section.

Asrock-CORE-100HT-Front-Anglel.jpg

The front panel on the ASRock Core 100 HTPC offers a small vent along the left edge, while two SuperSpeed USB-3.0 ports, audio input/output jacks, and the power button are all located beneath the slimline optical drive. The front bezel is made of plastic and has a gloss finish, which will show scratches and fingerprints if handled directly.

Asrock-CORE-100HT-Rear-Panel.jpg

ASRock markets the Core 100 series as a self-contained HTPC system; just add Operating System and software. On the back panel they've outfitted the Core 100HT with a native HDMI 1.3a port for HDTV connections, along with an HDMI-to-DVI adapter for digital monitors, and an D-Sub VGA connection for older analog monitors. External storage devices can be attached by the eSATA port, or one of six HiSpeed USB-2.0 ports. Digital optical audio TosLink output compliments the 5.1-channel analog audio outputs, and Gigabit Ethernet allow for network connectivity.

Asrock-CORE-100HT-Topless.jpg

Removing two Phillips-head screws (not thumb screws) from the backside of the ASRock Core 100HT enclosure will allow the 'side' panel to be removed in similar fashion to tower cases. Once exposed, a drive tray assembly houses a slim-line internal SATA DVD-burner drive and 500GB Seagate Momentus 5400.6 SATA hard disk drive (unformatted). Regardless of HTPC or Nettop application, the high-capacity drive inside the ASRock Core 100HT will easily handle the storage needs demanded of it. For power users who want more performance without sacrificing capacity, the Seagate Momentus-XT Solid State Hybrid Drive is an excellent alternative.

ASRock_Nettop_ION330_AMCP7A-ION_Drive_Tray.jpg

The internal drive tray pulls out away from the enclosure once two retaining screws are removed, allowing for motherboard or drive access. The HM55-HT motherboard has a third SATA and power connection add-on, should you need it, but the drive tray does not accommodate mounting. Luckily, there's just barely enough room beneath the tray for another 2.5" SATA notebook drive.

In the next section, Benchmark Reviews will detail some of the more advanced features hidden in this Intel Core-i3 HTPC platform...



 

Comments 

 
# RE: ASRock Core-100HT Intel i3-330M HTPCv_lestat 2010-07-01 16:57
It is a home theater pc. Not a gaming machine or anything even remotely close to it.

On the other hand AsRock needs to have their heads examined... the intel 4500hd video chip...wtf.... you cant do hd decoding with that without crushing the cpu ...

Go back and use a nvidia chipset and watch it pur like a kitten thru Ll the hd content you have.
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# Cpu overhead when decoding HD ?Stef 2010-07-02 01:22
This looks nice enough to sit under my TV , but what about HD media ? Quality , cpu overhead , etc ?
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# Gaming on HTPCOlin Coles 2010-07-02 05:51
I think that many people would like to play video games on their HTPC, which is why we test graphics performance. You don't know what a product can do until you test it.

As for HD quality and CPU overhead, they were difficult to demonstrate because each media changed the outcome. DVDs were clean and lossless, MKV and flash each performed extremely well but had different CPU usuage depending on the source. Overall I didn't have any problems with HD media playback.

Encoding was not tested, aside from the included encoding tests that PCMark and Passmark perform.
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# They Can't Use Nvidia with Core i3Ryan 2010-07-07 11:24
Unfortunately to move to the Core i3 based processor, they cannot use an Nvidia chipset, which is how the Ion is packaged. They must use the Intel HD GPU that comes with the Core processors, or accept a separate GPU board through the PCI-e slot.

This is an Intel restriction, and a quite anti-competitive one at that.
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# intel HDmikeccuk2005 2010-07-03 08:30
GMA HD is a different story to hd4500 and other predecessor.
Just look at the score at hwbot.org 3000 3dmark06:
#hwbot.org/hardware/videocard/gma_hd?tab=rankings#/manufacturer.rankings.do?applicationId=12&manufacturer=intel&hardwareTypeId=GPU_1645&hardwareType=GPU&tabid=gpubenchmarks
compared to ion 1.9k:
#hwbot.org/hardware/videocard/nvidia_ion?tab=rankings#/manufacturer.rankings.do?applicationId=12&manufacturer=nvidia&hardwareTypeId=GPU_1530&hardwareType=GPU&tabid=gpubenchmarks
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# $400.00?????Swamp 2010-07-17 15:00
##newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16856158013

hmmmm......didn't quite make that
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# Thank youOlin Coles 2010-07-17 15:28
I appreciate the pricing update... that's quite a difference from the ION-330 series. I've updated the article with all the prices.
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# XBMC media centerHenrique Ferreira 2011-02-26 09:24
My ideia is to setup one of these in my house as a media center, running windows 7 64 bit and XBMC. Will i be able to playback 1080p and 720p movies and videos with 5.1 dts audio in this device properly???

Thanks in advance!!
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# RE: XBMC media centerOlin Coles 2011-02-26 11:56
Hello Henrique:
Yes, you can easily play back 1080p video with this and stream via HDMI for full DTS sound. I might suggest something that could play games, too:
benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=620
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# RE: RE: XBMC media centerHenrique Ferreira 2011-02-26 12:35
First of all, thanks for the fast reply! ;)
What are the main diferences between this and the Vision 3D?
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# RE: RE: RE: XBMC media centerOlin Coles 2011-02-26 13:56
Please read the Vision 3D review, because I explain it there in more detail.
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