AnandTech Reviews ASRock's Vision 3D 252B HTPC
If I'm honest I don't really get these ASROCK's NVIDIA + Intel HD Graphics SFF HTPCs because there really isn't much that adding a dGPU nets you outside of slightly better gaming performance. That said, I am glad that ASROCK continues to develop new machines for this segment and that these systems are beginning to look a lot more like I want them too.
The small form factor (SFF) HTPC market has been steadily growing over the last few years. As mobile processors become more and more powerful, it is becoming easier for users to be satisfied with their performance even in desktop configurations.
The DIY HTPC crowd has a marked preference for mini-ITX motherboards and cases. However, the excessive TDP of desktop CPUs results in complicated thermal designs and noisy results. Thermal designs for systems with mobile CPUs with 35W TDPs are fairly straightforward and not very noisy. In fact, it is even possible to create systems which are fully passively cooled.
ASRock has three HTPC families catering to the entry level, mid-range and high-end markets. While the ION based HTPCs form the entry level (and have since been discontinued), the Core series serves the mid-range and the Vision series caters to the high-end. Today, we will be looking in detail at the Vision 3D 252B, the second generation Vision 3D series HTPC from ASRock. First off, let us take a look at the configuration of the review unit sent to us by ASRock