|ASRock Core-100HT Intel i3-330M HTPC|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Notebook | Compact PC|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 01 July 2010|
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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.
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 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.
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.
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...