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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 HTPC Final Thoughts

Computers are at a constant struggle with scaled performance, and the PC is ground zero for innovation. CPU's and GPU's have both become much smaller, while fitting many more transistors into them. The opposite is true for their total package size, as evidenced by the growing dimensions for heatsinks and printed circuit boards. These things directly relate to HTPCs, primarily because personal entertainment enthusiasts demand oversized performance inside of undersized enclosures. While CPUs have scaled accordingly, as has storage media with the SSD, it seems that GPUs are still clinging to the outdated 'bigger is better' philosophy.

Intel and AMD each offer dual-core mobile processors, and they offer excellent performance with very low power consumption demands. Seagate offers a 500GB Solid State Hybrid Drive that outperforms some of the fastest desktop hard drives while remaining notebook-sized. SoDIMM-sized system memory has made 4GB RAM modules available to compact computers, breaking a barrier that has held notebook computers back for years. Even motherboards have shrunk to miniature proportions, such as the micro-ITX form factor seen with the ASRock HM55-HT. The only remaining holdout is the graphics processor.


Integrated graphics can display HD content at 1280x720 for 720p resolution on your HDTV, or even 1920×1080 for 1080p, but the situation changes when 3D video games are added into the equation. Based on the performance results we've received thus far, it seems that powerful 3D gaming performance isn't coming to compact HTPCs anytime soon. Benchmark Reviews has already proven that almost any discrete video card on the desktop graphics market will play our favorite games with acceptable settings and frame rate performance, but more than halfway through 2010 consumers still can't get the same performance for mobile/compact computer platforms. While I'm sure someone has found a level of satisfaction in playing video games on their tiny netbook PC at 1024x600 resolution, it's simply unrealistic to expect that same gaming experience to equal desktop PCs or gaming consoles.

Ultimately, only the most lightweight video game titles are playable with integrated/mobile GPUs. While there are a few exceptional GPUs out there that have been 'made mobile', but none of these are economical or operate in a low-power envelope, and none of them are going to be your cheap ticket to replacing desktop-level graphics performance with demanding 3D video games. Intel has yet to produce any GPU capable of powerful 3D gaming, as the Intel HD Graphics inside ASRock's Core 100HT HTPC has demonstrated. Unfortunately, graphically powerful GPUs with low-consumption and low-TDP aren't available from NVIDIA or ATI either.

Have they read the writing on the wall? The desktop computing segment shrinks by the day, ever woefully losing market segment to compact computing devices. It's not my place to tell someone how to run their business, but one would think that selling leaded fuel in the hydrogen age would be a losing proposition. Intel has conceded defeat to NVIDIA in the GPU industry and has returned to doing what they've always done best. Perhaps it's time for ATI to focus itself on the mobile graphics market, just as AMD has remained focused on the value-processor segment. Doing things incrementally better each time is not nearly as important as doing things that the industry needs.



# 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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