ASRock Core 100HT-BD Home Theater PC

HD Video Playback Benchmarks

This benchmark shows the CPU utilization during playback of a Blu-ray disc encoded with the H.264 codec. During the first half of the benchmark, the disc is actually displaying dual video streams using the Picture-in-Picture (PiP) special feature. As you can see, CPU utilization remains low and consistent throughout the benchmark on both platforms, which shows that Intel HD Graphics has good Blu-ray and PiP decoding acceleration.

When decoding a 1080p HD Flash movie, the CPU is stressed a little more than it is during Blu-ray playback, but CPU utilization remains at a low 25% on the Core 100HT-BD system. The Core i3-530 system fares a little better here, showing us that the Intel HD Graphics chipset probably doesn’t do much for Flash decode acceleration--not that it appears necessary, as these low-end CPUs can handle the load just fine.

HD HQV Video Playback Quality Benchmark

There's more to video playback than just CPU usage, however. Video quality is a point of contention between today's graphics chipsets, so let's see how the integrated Intel HD Graphics chipset in the Core 100HT-BD enhances Blu-ray playback:

HD Benchmark Totals
(100 possible points)
Graphics ProcessorScore
HD Noise Reduction (25 possible points)
25
Video Resolution Loss (20 possible points)
20
HD Video Reconstruction (20 possible points)
20
Film Resolution Loss (25 possible points)
25
Film Resolution Loss - Stadium (10 possible points)
10
Core 100HT-BD TOTAL SCORE:
100

The Core100 HT-BD scores a perfect 100 points in the benchmark. Admittedly, HQV has released a new, more detailed Blu-ray benchmark that we are looking into for future articles. For the purpose of this piece, we can see that Intel HD Graphics is no slouch when it comes to HD video playback enhancements.

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  • Interesting but I wonder if an AMD system would provide more value on your dollar.
    18
  • This would be great, if it were priced around $300-400
    10
  • Other Comments
  • Interesting but I wonder if an AMD system would provide more value on your dollar.
    18
  • 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
  • This would be great, if it were priced around $300-400
    10
  • Asrock also puts alot of focus on the possibility of streaming true Bluray sound. One thing, that all other pre-buildt htpc lack
    1
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • $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
  • 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
  • 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
  • $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
  • 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
  • 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
  • $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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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