Archive Home arrow Reviews: arrow Motherboards arrow ASRock Core-100HT Intel i3-330M HTPC

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

ASRock HM55-HT Detailed Features

When you task your design engineers with building on a micro-sized scale, component placement must be handled with the utmost efficiency for the system to work. ASRock has done an excellent job finding a home for everything needed to bring the HM55-HT platform to life on the mini-ITX form factor. From the overhead view illustrated below, you can see that there's very little open or available space inside the proprietary ASRock enclosure.

Compared to the recently tested ASRock AMCP7A motherboard, the ASRock HM55-HT motherboard is more directly designed for HTPC purposes. The component layout is completely different, with one additional SATA port and a mini-PCI Express port that is filled with a Atheros AR9287 wireless network adapter. These two features, along with the added eSATA port, Realtek RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet adapter, and NEC uPD720200 SuperSpeed USB-3.0 controller all add up to reasons why the Core 100 series could be the ideal all-in-one HTPC Media Center solution.


ASRock has used its experience with previous HTPC designs to assemble the most complete all-in-one kit possible with the series. All-solid capacitors prolong component lifetime and can endure harsh operating conditions, and the thick PCB is quality made. Users are still given the freedom to choose and install the Operating System that best fits their needs, whether that OS is Windows or Linux, which helps cut down on production costs.

Engineers designed the ASRock HM55-HT motherboard inside the Core 100 HTPC to be completely silent. To reach this goal, unnecessary electronic components were stripped from the design and remaining hardware was orientated in-line with the enclosures front-to-rear airflow. Notice that the DDR3 DIMM modules and Intel Core i3-330M processor are positioned directly in-line with the airflow channel between a front bezel vent and the only exhaust fan inside this compact case.


The ASRock Core 100 series all feature the 2.13GHz dual-core Intel Core i3-330M mobile processor. The i3-330M includes 3MB (128KB L1 per core, 512KB L2 per core, and 3072KB shared L3) of Intel Smart Cache memory on a 32nm process, and includes Intel's 64-bit instruction set. The i3-330M maintains a 35-watt TDP, which operates separately from the 45nm Intel HD Graphics integrated 367MHz Ironlake-M GPU. The CPU processor measures 81mm2 while the GPU measures 114mm2, and both are cooled by a low-profile heatsink and silent blower fan assembly.

Conversely, the mobile Intel HM55-Express chipset is cooled by a basic alloy heatsink by way of passive airflow cooling. Storage is managed by Intel's 5-series/3400 chip, and offers four SATA-3Gbps data channels. High-definition audio is available through the VIA VT2020 chip, as well as Intel's Ibex Peak PCH via HDMI.


ASRock includes two dual-channel 2GB SoDIMM modules of ASint Technology SSZ3128M8-EDJ1D DDR3-1333 (667MHz), which offer the following latency timings:

  • 609 MHz: 8-8-8-22 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 30-68-4-10-5-5 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP)
  • 533 MHz: 7-7-7-20 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 27-59-4-8-4-4 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP)
  • 457 MHz: 6-6-6-17 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 23-51-3-7-4-4 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP)

The ASRock HM55-HT motherboard supports only 1.5 volt DDR3 SoDIMM memory, so upgrades to 8GB (maximum allowed by motherboard and Intel i3 limitations) will need to maintain JEDEC standards.


One particular perk included with the ASRock Core 100HT kit is a included Windows Media Center remote control, which transmits to the integrated Microsoft eHome Infrared Transceiver on the HM55-HT motherboard. The remote is full-function, and supports all MCE functions. While some users may consider a separate remote unnecessary, since most HTPC users will undoubtedly utilize a Media Center specific keyboard such as the nMedia HTPCKB, it helps transition the PC into a fully-integrated home theater component.



# 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 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.
Report Comment
# 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 ?
Report Comment
# 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.
Report Comment
# 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.
Report Comment
# intel HDmikeccuk2005 2010-07-03 08:30
GMA HD is a different story to hd4500 and other predecessor.
Just look at the score at 3000 3dmark06:
compared to ion 1.9k:
Report Comment
# $400.00?????Swamp 2010-07-17 15:00

hmmmm......didn't quite make that
Report Comment
# 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.
Report Comment
# 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!!
Report Comment
# 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:
Report Comment
# 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?
Report Comment
# 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.
Report Comment

Comments have been disabled by the administrator.

Search Benchmark Reviews

Like Benchmark Reviews on FacebookFollow Benchmark Reviews on Twitter