ASRock Core 100HT-BD Home Theater PC

Test Systems And Benchmarks

With a fairly good grasp of the Intel H55 chipset/Core i3 CPU combo performance and limitations, we’re more interested in seeing how the H55M mobile chipset and Core i3-330M mobile CPU perform relative to a desktop HTPC configuration. To this end, we’re benchmarking the ASRock Core100-HT against a Core i3-530 HTPC we put together specifically for this article. Our benchmarks will tell us if the Core 100HT-BD is in the same league as a desktop Core i3-530 system, or if the mobile hardware’s limitations cripple it in comparison.


ASRock Core100HT-BD
Core i3 Desktop HTPC
CPU
Intel Core i3-330M (Arrandale), 2.13 GHz, QPI-2400 MHz, 3 MB L3 Cache
Intel Core i3-530 (Arrandale), 2.93 GHz, QPI-2400 MHz, 4 MB L3 Cache
Motherboard
ASRock HM55-HT, Intel HM55, BIOS P1.32Gigabyte H55M-UD2H, Intel H55, BIOS F8
Networking
Realtek RTL8111E Gigabit Network Adapter (LAN)
Atheros AR9287-BL1A wireless card
(WiFi)
Realtek RTL8111D Gigabit Network Adapter (LAN)
D-link WDA-2320 Wireless G card
(WiFi)
Memory
Nanya PC3-10700, 2 x 2048 MB, 533 MHz, CL 7-7-7-20-1TOCZ PC3-8500F, 2 x 2048 MB, 533 MHz, CL 7-7-7-20-1T
Graphics
Intel HD Graphics (Integrated)Intel HD Graphics (Integrated)
Sound
Via VT2020 8-channel HD audio codec
with THX TruStudio Pro
Realtek ALC889 audio codec
Hard Drive
500 GB Seagate Momentus 5400.6
500 GB, 5400 RPM, 8 MB cache, SATA 3Gb/s
640 GB Western Digital Black
640 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB cache, SATA 3Gb/s
Power
Delta Electronics ADP-90CD DB
90 W, 19 V, External AC adapter
Corsair TX650W
650 W, ATX 12 V 2.2, EPS 12 V 2.91
Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectX versionDirectX 11
Graphics Drivers
Intel Win7Vista_64_15177
Benchmark Configuration
PCMark Vantage x64
Version: Professional 64-bit edition 1.0.1.0, Total System score, Memories, TV and Movies, gaming, Music, Communications, Productivity, Hard Disk
SiSoft Sandra 2010
Version: 2010.1.16.11, Network Bandwidth benchmark, Network Latency benchmark
HD HQV Benchmark
Blu-ray, Version 1.0
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47 comments
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    Top Comments
  • ivan_chess
    Interesting but I wonder if an AMD system would provide more value on your dollar.
    18
  • zooted
    This would be great, if it were priced around $300-400
    10
  • Other Comments
  • ivan_chess
    Interesting but I wonder if an AMD system would provide more value on your dollar.
    18
  • Stardude82
    Certainly beats a Zino, but the price puts it in the class of a Mac Mini. An M600 + HD4200 system would be interesting for a HTPC like this.
    1
  • zooted
    This would be great, if it were priced around $300-400
    10
  • DeZenT
    Asrock also puts alot of focus on the possibility of streaming true Bluray sound. One thing, that all other pre-buildt htpc lack
    1
  • liquidsnake718
    Well this is great and can do alot more than a regulr media player, but id prefer the ASUS OPLAY! and have a standalone media player while I also have a supercomputer or a monster PC and a console gaming system......
    -1
  • amgsoft
    I'am testing one at home. Excellent piece of hardware for multimedia and TV center. This HTPC is much faster to boot and shutdown (S3 sleep mode) then the traditional DVB-T boxes i had previously at home (2-3 sec startup, 9-11 sec shutdown). All I needed to do was to buy a DVB-T USB dongle (terratec). In S3 it uses very low power (less then 1W according to the reviews on the internet). I'am using for watching the DVB-T, dvd's, playing music, showing photo. Its performance is more then adequate, so I cannot see any reason for overclocking the unit. The heat comming out of the unit is very acceptable, the noise is hardly, if at all, noticeable.

    The only limitation is the angle of the IR remote. The angle for remotelly controlling the unit from your living room is a bit narrow for home use and I hope that they will consider to provide an external IR receiver later.

    Regarding the price, I was trying to find a cheaper unit with same specs and same look and size, but I was not able to find any. Dell has a PC which is a bit smaller (a bit bigger then wii) however it is not a htpc unit. You can build a sligthly cheaper one. It will be larger, will need a larger power supply, the case will like a traditional pc which you don't want in your living room, and at the end of the day you will end up with something which has cost you more money. In my mind its a very good hardware piece and worth to consider if you want a home media center in you living room.
    1
  • jestersage
    Where I am, it's mighty expensive. But what I like about this article and the Core100HT-BD is that it inspires me to put together a similarly small and 'cute' system.

    I'm thinking along the lines of an e3300 and G31 chipset with a 200w or 300w mATX PSU (how I'd love to get my hands on a Silverstone 300w mATX unit from the SG05!).

    Without the powersupply, the unit will cost about USD250 here. With a decent 80plus mATX PSU, the cost goes beyond the USD320 mark.

    It won't play blu-ray but everything else would run better than, say, an Atom (even the ION variants). It would be twice as tall, almost twice large and a tad deeper, true, but it would have room for a half-height PCIE video card (ahem, HD5570) upgrade.

    One bit of constructive feedback for Don: why use a 650W PSU on the comparison unit? Wouldn't a 380w or even 300w PSU be sufficient - not to mention place the power draw closer to the center of the efficiency curve?
    0
  • rwpritchett
    A step in the right direction. I'd like to see more pre-built HTPC's like this but with better styling and more expansion options. A slot load drive would also be great.

    I wish they would make the parts available so us DIY'ers can build our own like this.
    2
  • bunz_of_steel
    good review and attention to the real needs of an htpc. size, heat, noise and video performance. The price tag is just yuk! I would like to see how this would compare to a geek dude building their own and see how it fares... :)
    0
  • fozzie76
    $700 is the MSI gaming notebook range. Why not just buy the MSI notebook, and keep it folded up in the entertainment center. Then if you need to travel just unplug the HDMI cable and off you go!
    0
  • Nossy
    Why cant they just throw in a LAPTOP sans the LCD and call it an HTPC? Geez. Seriously just cram in a i7 with a powerful graphics card into a notebook package.

    If you're lookin for just something to play videos files, youtubes, etc, just get a Popcorn hour, Asus Oplay, etc. There's almost no good reason for a HTPC anymore.
    -1
  • Humans think
    It has everything I need from a HTPC, including analog audio output, but price is too high to justify a purchase. Since I have a PS3 I would probably buy the DVD version.

    If it was a little bigger and used underclocked desktop components to lower the price around $450 (without OS, all I need is UBUNTU/XBMC), I would buy it for sure
    2
  • digitalgriffin
    $750?!?!? w/o OS?

    You could buy a prebuilt laptop with the OS for less money and it will occupy roughly the same amount of space. And it will be more powerful to boot!
    1
  • zaixionito
    The problem is, HTPCs are just too expensive for their specs. Maybe a $300 one is just dreaming, but I would never purchase one, even if I were in the market. :|
    2
  • Onus
    jestersage...(how I'd love to get my hands on a Silverstone 300w mATX unit from the SG05!)...

    You can (although it's out of stock right now): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817104075
    Apparently the SG-05 uses a slightly custom variant with different cables, but this is the one. HardwareSecrets reviewed it favorably: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/FSP300-60GHS-Power-Supply-Review/757
    Seasonic also has a 300W TFX PSU that is 80+ bronze, which has also been favorably reviewed: http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story5&reid=190 and http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Seasonic-SS-300TFX-Power-Supply-Review/1021
    0
  • kilthas_th
    $750 seems incredibly steep for basically adding Bluray support to a media box like the Oplay. If it were a more capable gaming setup, it would be more acceptable, but it's grossly overpriced for what it can realistically deliver.

    I think the real take-off for these will be the second or third generation of intel/AMD's CPU/GPU consolidation. Sandy Bridge looks like a huge step forward for integrated graphics, and I'm hoping AMD's Fusion efforts will prove similar. Must not forget nVidia's SB/GPU integration project, as well. All of these projects should bring reduced cost, increased functionality, and more manageable power usage to the HTPC arena.
    0
  • elbert
    I can build my own HTPC for under $500 based on the 785G. With a wireless KB/MS you really have no need for the remote. Newegg has plenty of combo deals with the 785G motherboards so you can at times get $20 off a CPU or $10 off the OS.
    Currently tho best BD player for the price on Newegg is LG's burner and under combo get upto $25 of a CPU.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductCombos.aspx?Item=N82E16827136181&SubCategory=600&SortField=0&PageSize=10&Page=2
    2
  • terr281
    For roughly $750 during the fall of last year, I built a:

    1. AMD Phenom 2 720 BE CPU (undervolted at base running speed)
    2. Gigabyte AMD 770 chipset MB (not crossfire capable)
    3. 8 GB DDR3 1066 7-7-7-20-1T (4 x 2 GB) (only did 8 GB instead of 4 GB due to the fact this pc will hopefully never be upgraded)
    4. WD Black 750 GB HD (enough storage for movies and music)
    5. ATI 4670 1 GB (light gaming capable
    6. Cooler Master Elite 360 case (entertainment component sized, with plenty of room to work with inside it)
    7. Corsair 400w PSU (plenty of power for the system)
    8. Logitech Wireless Keyboard and Mouse (functional 15 foot range)
    9. DVD Writer
    10. Blu-Ray Reader (with software included)
    11. Win Vista Home Premium 64 bit OEM with Win 7 upgrade included (already completed)
    12. Cooler Master Gemini 2 CPU cooler
    13. Quiet fans throughout the case. (Inaudible under idle, HT use, and light living room gaming by my ears at the keyboard/mouse range)

    Missing from my year old system, when compared to the reviewed unit:

    1. Remote control (Not needed for my family, wireless keyboard and mouse)
    2. Wireless capability (Not needed, house wired with GB wiring)

    The only benefit I see to the ASRock unit, and other units like it, for tech enthusiasts is the unified warranty and lack of labor and support required to put it together.

    As the article states, for "the mom, father, grandparents, etc...," especially those without large entertainment centers with multiple components, units such as this work perfectly. (The only issue, of course, being that the "standard universal remote" will not work with these units... and they must use 2+ remotes.

    The computer will eventually move away from the "computer room" and into the "living room." For we computer gamers, we can only hope that this happens, and is accepted by the general population, before computer gaming has further deteriorated and console gaming has completely taken hold.
    1
  • elbert
    On some CPU's tho note that a few newer designed like the 6 cores and 445 rana require motherboard bios upgrades flashed. IE you don't have a CPU the motherboard supports with is current bios your stuck.
    0