The Outside: Bundle And Appearance
The first thing you notice about the ASRock Core 100HT-BD is that it is very small. Think Wii-sized small. At about 7.5” wide, 2.75” tall, and 7.25” long, the Wii is actually about an inch longer, but the Core 100HT-BD is an inch taller and wider.
On the front of this tiny HTPC there is a slim Blu-ray drive, two USB 3.0 ports, audio output and input jacks, and a power button.
On the back of the unit there is much more to see: six USB 2.0 ports, five audio jacks, an S/PDIF audio port, a gigabit network port, an eSATA II port, an HDMI 1.3a output, and a VGA output. There is also a small DC power input jack on the bottom left and the 35 mm exhaust fan on the right.
The bundle includes a number of important accessories, such as the AC power converter, a Windows Media Center Remote control with the necessary batteries, an HDMI-to-DVI cable adapter, a driver/software CD, an anti-slip pad for the Core 100HT-BD to rest on, and cables and screws to accommodate the addition of a second internal hard disk.
The included Windows Media Center remote is an important piece of equipment to make an HTPC accessible to folks who aren’t particularly tech-savvy. The remote that ASRock includes in the bundle is a model TSGV-IR01, a functional unit with all of the necessary buttons and a few more.
All in all, the Core 100HT-BD is an attractive little HTPC with a good measure of connectivity and a handy remote.
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Interesting but I wonder if an AMD system would provide more value on your dollar.Reply
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.Reply
This would be great, if it were priced around $300-400Reply
Asrock also puts alot of focus on the possibility of streaming true Bluray sound. One thing, that all other pre-buildt htpc lackReply
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......Reply
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.Reply
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.
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.Reply
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?
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.Reply
I wish they would make the parts available so us DIY'ers can build our own like this.
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... :)Reply