Late last year, we took a look at the ASRock CoreHT 252B, a Sandy Bridge-based midrange HTPC. We liked the CoreHT quite a bit, noting that the small form factor HTPC was a solid choice for most users in this segment. It was hit all the key points, though it didn’t do anything in particular to set itself apart from the rest of the SFF crowd. Our main complaints centered around the hard drive performance, and to that end comes the ASRock CoreHT Server.

It’s very similar to the CoreHT we reviewed before, even sharing nearly the same specs. The one major difference: there’s two 500GB HDDs in the place of one, configured in RAID 0. Other than that, there’s the same mobile Sandy Bridge internals, headlined by the HM67 chipset and Core i5-2410M processor.

ASRock CoreHT Server Edition HTPC Specifications
Processor Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5-2410M
(2 x 2.30 GHz (2.90 GHz Turbo), 32nm, 3MB L2, 35W)
Chipset Intel HM67
Memory 2 x 2GB DDR3-1333
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 3000
650 MHz / 1.2 GHz (Turbo)
Hard Drive(s) 2 x 500GB 7200RPM 2.5" HDD (RAID 0)
(Western Digital Scorpio Black WD5000BEKT, Hitachi HTS7250)
Optical Drive Blu-ray/DVDRW Combo
Networking Gigabit Ethernet
802.11b/g/n (2T2R Atheros AR5B97 in AzureWave AW-NE121H mini-PCIE card)
Audio Microphone and headphone/speaker jacks
Capable of 5.1/7.1 digital output with HD audio bitstreaming (optical SPDIF/HDMI)
Operating System Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (Retail unit is barebones)
Extras THX TruStudio Pro Audio Certification
IR receiver and MCE remote
Pricing TBD

ASRock’s Core HTPC line is their midrange model, slotting between the entry level ION-based machines and the high-end Vision 3D units. The Server is externally exactly the same as the 252B, so I’ll refer you back to that review for more details on the unboxing experience. The CoreHT case is glossy black, mostly angular, but the industrial design is understated and fits well in an A/V cabinet. I like the two USB 3.0 ports on the front, as well as the understated nature of the design. The industrial design isn’t premium by any means, but it’s generally inoffensive and doesn’t bring attention to itself, which is perhaps the most important visual trait for an HTPC.

There’s a decent array of ports on the back, with four USB 2.0 ports, another pair of USB 3.0 ports, eSATA, SPDIF, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, and of course HDMI. Cooling is handled with an intake vent on the front of the system and a small exhaust fan at the back.

ASRock CoreHT Server Edition - Internals
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  • beginner99 - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    ...and hdd combo?

    For HTPC purpose, the ssd alone would be enough because anyone considering to pay as much fro a HTPC probably already has a NAS or a lot of storage space in his desktop.

    The hdd would just be not to scare away people that would like to use it as a tiny desktop or just because of the low numbers on the tech sheet .
  • VMguy - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    An HTPC review without any indication of db output? For shame!

    At least let us know if the second disk accounts for any additional noise relative to the 252B.

  • VivekGowri - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    Sorry, I wasn't equipped to test noise level, but I wouldn't expect noise levels to change significantly. It's seriously exactly the same unit, just with two HDDs; if you were hitting the storage pretty hard maybe you'd see a marginal increase in noise output compared to the 252B, but I have difficulty believing it'd be anything more than negligible/error margin.
  • VMguy - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    Sorry, I just checked back on the 252B review and found that there were no noise output measurements there either... Doh!

    For me, hearing the whir of a fan (or BD) during quieter segments of a movie is pretty annoying. Any plans to add this to the review template?

  • VivekGowri - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link
  • cjs150 - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    Now I understand

    Way too loud.

    As VMGuy said "For me, hearing the whir of a fan (or BD) during quieter segments of a movie is pretty annoying. "

    Totally agree - in fact my stand alone BD player annoys me, which is my I am looking to rip everything onto the NAS (in basement so who cares about noise) and then stream, so my HTPC should have no BD noise, preferably no fan. Nothing comes close as yet but have high hopes of something based on Raspberry Pi or CuBox or even E-450 fusion
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    I like tiny HTPCs. I built myself a Llano system in a small enclosure (
    The thing I find a bit puzzling about this config is the HDDs. RAID0 doesn't make a lot of sense. :-)
  • darckhart - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    that's a rather beautiful enclosure. do you have model number/details?
    in fact, i'm looking into building a small htpc for my parents. would you mind to pm me details of yours?
  • NCM - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    Beautiful? Seriously?
  • pat38 - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    Any one see this REAL HTPC

    Lanmate hk mini pc

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