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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

ASRock Core 100HT HTPC System Review

Benchmark Reviews has maintained a secret love affair with Home Theater PC hardware for many years, and the ASRock nettop series of compact HTPC systems continues to maintain its seductive allure. As multimedia standards are improved to handle larger bit rate formats, so does the hardware that produces them. The latest updates add SuperSpeed USB-3.0 functionality for attached storage devices, and THX TruStudio PRO technology to deliver a realistic audio experience. Other additions come in the shape of a wireless media center remote control, and uncompressed digital HDMI audio/video output.

It's been one year since we last tested an ASRock HTPC: the ION 330 AMCP7A HTPC armed with the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M GPU. Now equipped with Intel's Core i3-330M 2.13GHz dual-core mobile processor and Intel GMA HD integrated graphics on an ASRock HM55-HT mini-ITX HM55-Express motherboard with 4GB of DDR3, Benchmark Reviews tests high-definition video playback and gaming performance for the ASRock Core 100HT HTPC system.


For many years I've searched for the perfect home theater PC, and every time the 'perfect' combination was within reach a critical drawback would snatch it away. My criteria wasn't very strict, but a man's home theater is a trophy onto itself. The ideal HTPC needed to allow wireless Internet access, comfortable web browsing, fast file transfers, properly display multimedia content over native uncompressed HDMI, and also play PC video games. Not a very tall order, but still no short order by any measure. So while past HTPC projects have come close, the size and functionality have continued to create limitations. ASRock combines the mobile Intel Core-i3 processor and H55-Express platform to create a system that appears to meet my requirements for the ideal HTPC.

The problem has always been size and performance. High-performance notebook computers have evolved to the point where they can now replace desktop PC's, so it seems the age of large heavy-weight HTPC has come to pass. Equipped with a capable dual-core Intel Core i3-330M 2.13GHz CPU for processing power, the Core 100 series easily outpaces most other mobile/compact alternatives. Up to 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 is supported by a 128-bit bandwidth lane from the ASRock HM55-Express motherboard.

Intel's Auburndale/Arrandale Integrated Graphics Controller (IGC) is termed 'Intel HD Graphics', and resides on the Core i3-330M processor die. The full hardware acceleration of MPEG-2, VC-1, and AVC formats is perfect for streaming video content over a native HDMI 1.3a connection at high-definition 1080p (or larger) resolutions, but a small 128MB shared video memory buffer and limited OpenGL 2.1 compatibility have me concerned about 3D gaming functionality.

About ASRock Inc.

ASRock Inc., established in 2002, target at entry to mainstream segment MB business, is an energetic company with the combination of technology and humanity. Devoting efforts to bring customers the innovative and reliable motherboards with the design concept of 3C, "Creative, Considerate, Cost-effective", ASRock has successfully established a well-known leading brand of the best price-performance motherboard in the industry. ASRock products' high recognition stems from company's devotion to bring the most cost-performance products to users. asrock_logo_400x70.gif

Besides creative features and solid products, ASRock engineers also pay special attention to EMI, thermal, acoustics and details to achieve complete customer satisfaction. In addition to price-performance, creative and considerate features, ASRock also pay special on the issue of eco-environmental protection with the release of ROHS products and energy saving functions to save the environment.

To succeed in this ultra-competitive industry, ASRock provides great products with speed-to-market, cost and service to customers. Facing the constantly changing technologies of motherboard, ASRock will always keep the vision of the future and develop future-proof products upon our 3C design concept to our customers.



# 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.
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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 3000 3dmark06:
compared to ion 1.9k:
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# $400.00?????Swamp 2010-07-17 15:00

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:
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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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