ASRock HT100-BD review

Price when reviewed

Although best-known for its output of motherboards, ASRock has also added laptops, set-top boxes and mini PCs to its armoury in recent times. The Core 100HT-BD is the first product from the range we’ve seen, and it makes a good first impression.

ASRock HT100-BD review

In the mould of the recently reviewed Tranquil iXL, the 100HT-BD is intended to be a front room PC for the consumption of music, TV and video, squeezing its wares into an even more compact chassis. In fact, it measures just 194 x 186 x 69mm (WDH) – not much larger than a Nintendo Wii.

As with the Tranquil this machine is powered by a laptop-style brick power supply, but this isn’t just the same old PC in different clothing; there are a few critical differences. First, it’s a bit more of a build-your-own affair: the 100HT-BD comes without an operating system installed, so if you want Windows 7 you’ll have to budget an extra £70 or so.

Second, where the Tranquil is powered by a desktop-class processor and memory, the ASRock is more akin to a laptop. The processor is a mobile 2.13GHz Intel Core i3-330M, the 4GB of 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM comes in the form of a pair of SODIMMs, the Blu-ray drive is low profile and the hard disk is a 500GB 2.5in Seagate model.

The downside of this is there isn’t as much room for expansion as there is in the Tranquil. You can add a second 2.5in hard disk, but not a half-height graphics card. You’ll be stuck with the on-CPU integrated Intel HD Graphics, which means gaming at high resolutions and detail levels is out. Unusually for a media-centre PC, the 100HT-BD doesn’t come with any kind of tuner built-in, so you’ll have to add an unsightly USB model if you want to watch and record TV.

ASRock HT100-BD

The ASRock also isn’t passively cooled like the Tranquil is. Instead, two small fans – one on the rear of the case and the other attached to the CPU – keep the temperature down and air flowing through the case. And neither is this small box the epitome of design chic. Although the build feels sturdy, its glossy, painted finish has a dimply, orange-peel effect.

Luckily those fans are pretty quiet, so you won’t notice the whirring most of the time, and elsewhere the 100HT-BD is a capable media PC. Although there’s no discrete graphics processor, there’s plenty of oomph for the sorts of tasks you might ask of a media PC from day to day. And while it scored a middling 1.10 in our application benchmarks, it will play HD BBC iPlayer content without breaking sweat. It also comes with an infrared remote and a Blu-ray reader/DVD writer combo drive out of the box. Beware, though, there’s no Blu-ray playback software included so you’ll have to fork out another £34 exc VAT or so to actually watch your HD discs on it.

Connectivity is excellent, with an eSATA port on the rear and a pair of USB 3 sockets on the front offering plenty of scope for ramping up your high-speed storage capacity. Plus, the rear panel is bursting with outputs and inputs, with six USB 2, D-SUB and HDMI, optical S/PDIF, five 3.5mm audio sockets and Gibabit Ethernet. Inside, that even extends to 802.11n Wi-Fi via a single-band mini-PCI Atheros AR9287 adapter.

The ASRock’s biggest attraction, however, is its price. Even taking into consideration the need to add the cost of Windows 7, the necessary TV tuner and Blu-ray playback software, it will still end up coming in nearly £300 cheaper than the Tranquil iXL. Aside from the lack of passive cooling and the less powerful processor, then, we reckon the Core 100HT-BD is decent value: it’s reasonably quiet, powerful and comes with a Blu-ray drive as standard. If you’re looking to build or buy a home theatre PC, it’s worth considering.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity500GB
Screen sizeN/A


CPU familyIntel Core i3
CPU nominal frequency2.13GHz
CPU overclocked frequencyN/A
Processor socketN/A
HSF (heatsink-fan)N/A


MotherboardASRock HM55-HT
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM55
Conventional PCI slots free0
Conventional PCI slots total0
PCI-E x16 slots free0
PCI-E x16 slots total0
PCI-E x8 slots free0
PCI-E x8 slots total0
PCI-E x4 slots free0
PCI-E x4 slots total0
PCI-E x1 slots free0
PCI-E x1 slots total0
Internal SAS connectors0
Internal PATA connectors0
Internal floppy connectors0
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec


Memory typeDDR3
Memory sockets free0
Memory sockets total0

Graphics card

Graphics cardN/A
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?no
3D performance settingN/A
Graphics chipsetIntel HD graphics
DVI-I outputs0
HDMI outputs1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
DisplayPort outputs0
Number of graphics cardsN/A

Hard disk

Hard diskSeagate Momentus 5400.6
Hard disk usable capacity466GB
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Cache size8MB
Hard disk 2 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speedN/A
Hard disk 2 cache sizeN/A
Hard disk 3 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 4 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacityN/A


Optical driveSlimtype BD E DS4E1S
Optical disc technologyBlu-ray reader/DVD writer combo
Optical disk 2 make and modelN/A
Optical disk 3 make and modelN/A


Monitor make and modelN/A
Resolution screen horizontalN/A
Resolution screen verticalN/A
ResolutionN/A x N/A
Pixel response timeN/A
Contrast ratioN/A
Screen brightnessN/A
DVI inputsN/A
HDMI inputsN/A
VGA inputsN/A
DisplayPort inputsN/A

Additional Peripherals

Speaker typeN/A
Sound cardVIA HD Audio
PeripheralsMedia Center remote control, Atheros AR9287 802.11n WLAN


Case formatMini ITX
Dimensions194 x 186 x 69mm (WDH)

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)6
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
3.5mm audio jacks5

Front ports

Front panel USB ports2
Front panel memory card readerno

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardNone

Operating system and software

OS familyNone
Recovery methodN/A
Software suppliedN/A

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score1.10
Office application benchmark score0.91
2D graphics application benchmark score1.29
Encoding application benchmark score1.13
Multitasking application benchmark score1.09
3D performance (crysis) low settingsN/A
3D performance settingN/A

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos