ASRock ION 330HT-BD Review 5

ASRock ION 330HT-BD Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The ASRock ION 330HT-BD will set you back around 400 €, while the version with a simple DVD-RW drive starts around 320 €
  • Excellent set of features
  • Can easily be overclocked a whooping 500 MHz
  • Allows for second HDD to be installed for RAID configuration
  • Easily upgradable due to standard components used
  • BD-ROM with DVD-RW functionality included
  • Very compact
  • MCE remote included
  • Internal CIR receiver for remote
  • Can be had in black or white
  • eSATA in the rear
  • Can play 1080p video easily
  • Atom 330 processor
  • Very low power consumption with a peak of around 35W
  • Internal fan adequately quiet - better than any Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 any way you look at it.
  • Internal antenna for the wireless N network connectivity
  • Well packaged
  • No front USB connectivity
  • Low noise, but high pitched
  • No wireless Keyboard/mouse included
  • Piano finish paint job may not fit well into your home theater setup
  • 5400 RPM Drive may be too slow for some scenarios
There are plenty of companies offering ION based netbooks and nettops these days. Most of them have very similar spec sheets and thus the price becomes the only deciding factor. ASRock has taken a different approach with the ION 330HT-BD. This high-end unit costs more than most other ION nettops on the market, but delivers features well worth the price. The most obvious aspect is the BluRay drive - something other nettops lack. ASRock has opted for a drive also capable of writing DVD-R/W so you may also use your HTPC to record media. On top of that you get an eSATAp port and all the usual connectivity of a real PC along with HDMI out. As is the case with many other nettops on the market, ASRock has included a draft-n wireless card with internal antennas, so there won't be any ugly stick poking out the back. While those are all obvious advantages, the biggest one is the expandability of the device. Using standard components you may add an additional hard drive or install more memory. Last, but certainly not least, the included overclockablity is simply awesome. It is incredibly easy to kick the 1.6 GHz dual core Atom 330 into overdrive and tickle another 500 MHz out of it, with a few key presses in the BIOS. All that without raising the noise level much at all.

That said, there are a few small aspects which can be improved upon as well. While the ION 330HT-BD manages to keep the noise down, it does come with a fairly audible high pitch sound, due to the small fans. If ASRock were to invest more thought into the cooling solution, such an annoyance could be avoided. Another notable drawback is the lack of USB ports in the front of the device, so you will have to reach to the back of the case every time you want to plug in a flash drive. But, overall the ASRock ION 330HT-BD is an impressive allrounder, which should be able to perform multiple duties, no matter if it may be Blu-Ray playback, DVD recording, Bittorrent downloading, web surfing or even casual gaming on the big TV screen.
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