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:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
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

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.

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