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ASRock Vision 3D Blu-ray Compact HTPC E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Notebook | Compact PC
Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASRock Vision 3D Blu-ray Compact HTPC
Closer Look: ASRock Vision 3D
ASRock 137B Detailed Features
ASRock Vision 3D Features
Vision 3D 137B Specifications
Motherboard Testing Methodology
PCMark Vantage Test Results
AIDA64 CPU Benchmarks
Passmark PerformanceTest
Cinebench R11.5 Benchmarks
Media Encoding and Layer Rendering
Video Game Performance
ASRock HTPC Final Thoughts
ASRock Vision 3D 137B Conclusion

Closer Look: ASRock Vision 3D

Despite its miniature size, the ASRock Vision 3D HTPC system actually contains more processing power than the majority of desktop computer systems currently in existence. Measuring 7.87"(W) x 2.76"(H) x 7.87"(L), the aluminum mini-ITX chassis is available in either black or silver with a plastic cover made to a gloss finish. In this review, we test model 137B that comes with a BD/DVD multi drive, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi adapter, and Media Center Edition remote control. The 137D model removes Blu-ray disc functionality and replaces it with DVD. ASRock offers a total of six different Vision 3D models, which come in Blu-ray or DVD with three different processor options.

ASRock_Vision-3D_137B_Nettop_PC_Corner.jpg

All six models utilize the same mini-ITX enclosure in black or silver finish, and receive either the Intel Core i3-370M CPU (Vision 3D 137B/137D), Core i5-460M (Vision 3D 146B/146D), or Core i5-560M (Vision 3D 156B/156D). Our Core i3-370M HTPC packs an incredible amount of hardware inside a tiny 8-inch square 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_Vision-3D_137B_Nettop_PC_Front.jpg

The front panel on the ASRock Vision 3D HTPC offers a slim Blu-ray or DVD optical drive with slot-in disc opening, two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, audio input/output jacks, and a 4-in-1 card reader with support for SD, MMC, MS, and MS Pro. The aluminum chassis is finished with a fine grain texture that hides fingerprints and will not show light scratches. This is a swift departure from previous designs that featured glossy surfaces on every panel. Clearly ASRock has learned from experience, and the Vision 3D series is better for it.

ASRock_Vision-3D_137B_Nettop_PC_Angle.jpg

ASRock markets the Vision 3D series as a self-contained HTPC system; just add Operating System. ASRock has used its experience with previous HTPC designs to assemble the most complete all-in-one kit possible with the series. 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. Those willing to take risks might even consider building the Vision 3D system into a Hackintosh HTPC by using the Apple Mac OS, although 3D support for this platform is very limited.

ASRock_Vision-3D_HTPC_MCE_Remote.jpg

One particular perk included with the ASRock Vision 3D kit is a included Windows Media Center remote control, which transmits to the integrated Microsoft eHome Infrared Transceiver on the HM55-MXM motherboard. The remote is full-function, and supports all MCE extensions. 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.

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



 

Comments 

 
# AwesomeShane 2010-11-24 09:22
I'm almost (well, barely) regretting having built my own HTPC earlier this year. This is hands down more powerful, better featured and less obtrusive than the system I put together. Thanks for the awesome review.

Question, and I apologize if you mentioned this, but which display(s) did you use during testing? Regular monitors at the resolutions mentioned, or did you use an HDTV for the 1080/720p tests?
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# RE: AwesomeOlin Coles 2010-11-24 09:29
Hello Shane:

I feel your pain, and also suffer from buyer's remorse for the hardware I purchased for an already inferior HTPC. There was a mix of displays used, and the exact models and details are listed in the "Motherboard Testing Methodology" section.
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# woops!Shane 2010-11-24 09:33
Reading while working FTL. Obviously glossed over the supporting hardware list. Thanks!
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# doubtFábio Leal 2010-12-14 08:28
it´s possible use the dvi for video 3D (connected on 3D LED TV) and the HDMI for audio (connected on receiver)?
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# RE: doubtOlin Coles 2010-12-14 08:31
That depends on the capabilities of your equipment. Most receivers will stream both audio/video to the devices, but if you connect an 3D LED TV via DVI the HDMI video will be ignored (not connected). It should also work via HDMI, although you may use NVIDIA 3DTV Play.
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# RE: RE: doubtFábio Leal 2010-12-14 09:09
My doubt is because my receiver is not 3d (hdmi 1.3a only), but my TV is 3D. So, if I want watch my 3D films, the audio needs stay connected on receiver via HDMI (audio 7.1) and the movies 3D connected on TV 3D via DVI to HDMI. Is this possible? Could I watch my 3D movies that way?
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# RE: RE: RE: doubtOlin Coles 2010-12-14 09:10
The DVI stream will not pass through the receiver, so it will not matter. The audio will work with 1.3a, so that should not be a problem.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: doubtFábio Leal 2010-12-14 09:14
but it's possible pass the video 3D signal to TV via DVI port on ASRock Vision?
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: doubtOlin Coles 2010-12-14 09:16
That depends on the display. If your 3D LED TV is 120Hz or faster and also has DVI, then it should work.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: doubtFábio Leal 2010-12-14 09:29
Wow, you're fast! Thanks. I thought the 3D video signal was possible only through the HDMI input. So even though my TV has no DVI input, I could use a DVI-HDMI adaptor.
Thank you, so much.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: doubtOlin Coles 2010-12-14 09:36
If your TV does not have native DVI, then I don't think a DVI-to-HDMI adapter will work.
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# RE: ASRock Vision 3D Blu-ray Compact HTPCFábio Leal 2010-12-14 09:45
Why? I will use ASRock this way:
the HDMI output connected on Receiver (audio) and the DVI-I output connected on HDMI input on TV 3D, using DVI to HDMI adaptor (video 3D). What's the problem?
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# can I stream to Xoom directly without using wifi network?js 2011-06-11 11:44
I want to be able to take my xoom, my digital headphones and a small media station like this on road trips. Can I set this up to broadcast w/o an actual wifi network around and pick it up with my Xoom?
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