It is great to see ASRock update their Nettop line of products with these new models that feature Intel’s new Core Series processors. While the ION 300HT still performs great and would work for anyone looking for a home theater PC, these new processors basically double the performance of the Core 100HT. Also the addition of DDR3 memory, a larger hard drive and USB 3.0 makes the Core 100HT the definite choice out of the two. With the performance boost you are able to run more programs and watch HD video will less system resources being used.
Just like the ION330 HT the Core 100HT comes in an extremely small package (195mm(W) x 70mm(H) x 186mm(L)). This means it will fit pretty much anywhere, on your TV stand, desk, even on a shelf! The small fan on the back of the system does make a little bit of noise, but it is only audible when you are not watching anything on your TV.
One thing that I did not mention was the ASRock Instant Boot software that works with the included remote. It allows you to use the power button on the remote to turn the system on and off. This not only makes it so you don’t have to get up to power the system on and off it has a fast mode that keeps the system power on so getting the system back on is simple and fast. The remote works great in both Windows Media Center and Boxee. It is very responsive and we did not encounter a single issue with it.
The only thing that really bothered me about the Core 100HT was the location of the USB 3.0 connections. They are on the front of the system. This is great for things like flash drives, but most people purchasing USB 3.0 devices are purchasing external hard drives and I don’t want to have a USB cable coming out of the front of my system, I want to keep things clean.
If you are looking for a home theater PC that will play HD video perfectly, has quite a lot of storage space, wireless networking all in a small form factor then the ASRock Core 100HT is for you! The lowest price I found online for the Core 100HT was around $650. This seems about right as the ION330 HT is about $330, so you are getting double the performance for double the price. Overall ThinkComputers gives the ASRock Core 100HT Nettop a 9 out of 10 score and our Editor’s Choice Award!
– Small form factor
– Capable of HD video playback
– HDMI out
– Built-in wireless networking
– USB 3.0
– Included remote
– Would have rather the USB 3.0 ports be on the back