ASRock Vision 3D - the Ultimate HTPC?


Is this the Ultimate HTPC?

Is this the Ultimate HTPC?

It's a question that we usually address near the end of a review, not at the beginning. But a glance at the specs of the ASRock Vision 3D convinced us that we were dealing with an extremely competent PC that home theater PC (HTPC) enthusiasts have been lusting after for the longest time. Dare we hope that those dreams of a small form factor, low-power PC that can satisfy all your media cravings are about to come true?

Almost.

Before we go into its few shortcomings, let's take note of its many positives. The ASRock Vision 3D series of mini PCs is what ASRock dubs these compact desktop machines geared for media consumption. While there are six different models with slight variations in their specifications, they share the same foundation, namely, an Intel Core i3 or i5 mobile processor and an NVIDIA's GeForce GT 425M capable of supporting NVIDIA's 3D Vision (hence the name). If you're looking to save a few bucks or a fervent believer of digital distribution of content, you can opt to get the DVD combo drive instead of the Blu-ray version.

Besides the optical storage option, you can only vary the grade of the processor. The other specs, like its 4GB SODIMM DDR3 1066MHz memory, the ASRock HM55 based motherboard with up to three USB 3.0 ports, the 2.5-inch 500GB 7200RPM hard drive and the integrated Wi-Fi module are all standard. As you can tell, it's a pretty solid system in a form factor that usually limits one to more anemic specs like integrated graphics. Not for this little system though.

 

9.0
Design
8.5
Features
8.5
Performance
9
Value
8
The Good
Excellent performance
Plays HD content including 3D Blu-ray like a champ
Packed with features
The Bad
Lacks an internal TV tuner option
Expensive