Back just a few years ago, Intel revolutionized the HTPC market with the Intel Atom platform. Suddenly users could have a full HTPC with extremely low power consumption in an insanely small form factor the size of the Nintendo Wii or even smaller! The only thing holding the Atom nettops from taking over everywhere was the limited performance. However, if you wanted more performance, you had to resort back to a bulky form factor, even with a microATX motherboard. Even a Shuttle small form-factor PC is too big for many home theater setups.
With the dawn of the Intel Core i series processors from 2010, Intel has greatly reduced the power consumption of their performance worthy CPUs. ASRock has taken notice of the low power Core i3 CPUs and realized that they would make a great HTPC platform. In order to solve the bulky HTPC form-factor problem, ASRock has taken die shrinks to a whole new level for their HTPC lineup.
Today we have an in-depth look at the ASRock Core 100HT with the Intel Core i3 330 processor. If you recognize this form factor, it is the same form factor as the ASRock ION 330HT-BD we reviewed in May 2010! This time though, ASRock has crammed a desktop-caliber system in an insanely small form factor!
The ASRock Core 100HT came in a box that made clear what was inside. When we first picked up the box, we were instantly surprised with how light the box was for a complete system. The only thing we needed to do to get this system up and running was install Windows 7 Professional Service Pack 1.
The bundle of the ASRock Core 100HT includes everything you need for a true home theater PC. This includes the power adapter, case badge, instructions, specs, a drivers CD, and a HDMI to DVI adapter. On top of that, there is the fully functional remote control designed for Windows Media Center with batteries included. Since the unit only comes with a single hard drive the bundle includes a SATA/power adapter to use with the second HDD/SSD if added. The last thing to note in the bundle is the large black pad. This is a grip pad to set the ASRock Core 100HT on so it doesn’t slide around. The unit itself does not have pads attached to the case, so this gripper pad is used instead.