Thinking on buying a Blu-Ray player? Maybe you will be making a better deal buying the ASRock Core 100HT-BD, a tiny complete computer with a Blu-Ray player, being smaller than a commercial player and you get a full working computer for your living room. Let’s see if this idea makes sense.
The ASRock Core 100HT-BD is not a barebone system: it is a complete computer. It supports any PGA988 CPU, meaning Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 mobile processors, but the model currently being sold in the USA comes with a Core i3-330M processor, 4 GB DDR3-1066 memory, 500 GB hard drive, IEEE 802.11b/g/n wireless connectivity, and, of course, the Blu-Ray drive. It also comes with a remote control.
We were impressed by the reduced size of this computer (7.7 x 2.8 x 7.3 inches or 195 x 70 x 186 mm, W x H x L) and its nice overall looks, with its case painted with a shiny black automotive paint. In order to achieve this impressive size, the Core 100HT-BD uses a mini-ITX motherboard with an external power supply.
At its front panel, the Core 100HT-BD has two USB 3.0 ports, a headphones jack, a mic in jack, infrared sensor for the remote control, the power button, and the front of the Blu-Ray drive, which is also a dual-layer DVD recorder.
At the rear panel, the portrayed HTPC comes with both VGA and HDMI outputs, six USB 2.0 ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port (the product also has wireless IEEE 802.11b/g/n connectivity, as mentioned before), one eSATA-300 port, one optical SPDIF output, and five jacks for analog audio. As the system supports 7.1 audio, if you have a 7.1 analog speaker set you will have to “kill” either the mic in or the line in jacks, but if you have a 5.1 analog speaker set this problem doesn’t happen. Since you are likely to connect this computer to a home theater receiver using either the optical SPDIF output or the HDMI output, the shared 7.1 analog jack isn’t a real problem.
The system is cooled by a 50 mm fan, which is located at the rear panel.
In Figure 4, you can see the external power supply of the Core 100HT-BD, manufactured by Lite-On, which can be connected to any AC power source from 100 V to 240 V, either 50 Hz or 60 Hz. It outputs 19 V at a maximum current of 4.74 A, meaning that this is a 90 W power supply (P = V x I, therefore P = 19 V x 4.74 A).
The remote control that comes with the ASRock Core 100HT-BD can be seen in Figure 5.