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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-BDCore i3 Desktop HTPC
CPUIntel Core i3-330M (Arrandale), 2.13 GHz, QPI-2400 MHz, 3 MB L3 CacheIntel Core i3-530 (Arrandale), 2.93 GHz, QPI-2400 MHz, 4 MB L3 Cache
MotherboardASRock HM55-HT, Intel HM55, BIOS P1.32Gigabyte H55M-UD2H, Intel H55, BIOS F8
NetworkingRealtek 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)
MemoryNanya 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
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics (Integrated)Intel HD Graphics (Integrated)
SoundVia VT2020 8-channel HD audio codec with THX TruStudio ProRealtek ALC889 audio codec
Hard Drive500 GB Seagate Momentus 5400.6500 GB, 5400 RPM, 8 MB cache, SATA 3Gb/s640 GB Western Digital Black640 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB cache, SATA 3Gb/s
PowerDelta Electronics ADP-90CD DB90 W, 19 V, External AC adapterCorsair TX650W650 W, ATX 12 V 2.2, EPS 12 V 2.91
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectX versionDirectX 11
Graphics DriversIntel Win7Vista_64_15177
Benchmark Configuration
PCMark Vantage x64Version: Professional 64-bit edition 1.0.1.0, Total System score, Memories, TV and Movies, gaming, Music, Communications, Productivity, Hard Disk
SiSoft Sandra 2010Version: 2010.1.16.11, Network Bandwidth benchmark, Network Latency benchmark
HD HQV BenchmarkBlu-ray, Version 1.0
  • ivan_chess
    Interesting but I wonder if an AMD system would provide more value on your dollar.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • zooted
    This would be great, if it were priced around $300-400
    Reply
  • DeZenT
    Asrock also puts alot of focus on the possibility of streaming true Bluray sound. One thing, that all other pre-buildt htpc lack
    Reply
  • 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......
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • domenic
    ni
    Reply
  • 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... :)
    Reply