The ASRock Vision 3D 252B is primarily built out of notebook components, and it is not possible for the average enthusiast to build such a system with off-the-shelf components.

Motherboard & Chipset : mini-ITX Intel HM65-MXM

The motherboard used in the Vision 3D series is based on the Cougar Point Intel HM65 chipset. The 2 SATA 6 Gbps ports are available as headers on the motherboard, while one SATA 3 Gbps port is made available as an eSATA3 port. Another SATA port is available as a header on the motherboard (it is connected to the Blu-ray drive).

The mini PCI-E slot is taken up by the Atheros based AzureWave WLAN module. The two sides of the Vision 3D chassis are used as antennae. The two DIMM slots are on the right side of the board, next to the CPU. There is also a MXM slot in which the GT 540M MXM module is plugged in.

CPU : Intel Core i5-2520M

The Core i5-2520M is a 35W TDP processor belonging to the 32nm Intel Sandy Bridge family. Clocking in at 2.50 GHz, it is capable of going up to 3.2 GHz for a single core and 3.0 GHz for both the cores in turbo mode. 3MB of Intel Smart Cache is shared between the two cores and the integrated GPU.

Integrated GPU : Intel HD Graphics 3000

The integrated GPU in the Sandy Bridge processors come in two varieties, namely, HD Graphics 2000 and HD Graphics 3000. The Core i5-2520M uses the latter. It has a base frequency of 650 MHz, and is capable of going up to 1.3 GHz in stressful conditions. It supports full 3D video capabilities, QuickSync and WiDi. However, WiDi is not supported by the CoreHT 252B. WiDi makes sense for laptops, but not much for SFF HTPCs. So, we don't fault ASRock for avoiding this feature. Since we also have a discrete GPU in the system, Virtu from LucidLogix is necessary for users to be able to take advantage of the HD 3000's capabilities. The Vision 3D 252B's BIOS comes with a license for Virtu. Most users will be using Virtu to take advantage of QuickSync.

Discrete GPU : NVIDIA GT 540M

The MXM module in the Vision 3D 252B is the NVIDIA GT 540M. This is a slight step up from the GT 425M used in the first generation Vision 3D 137B.

DRAM : ASInt 2 x 4GB DDR3-1333

ASRock has used a relatively new memory vendor in ASInt for the CoreHT 252B. The memory chips operate with a 9-9-9 CAS latency.

Hard Disk : Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB 7200 rpm 2.5"

The 750GB Scorpio Black is one of the best reviewed hard disks in its class. It has been reviewed to have upto 120 MBps sequential read speeds.

The hard disk is a good choice with respect to the price - performance ratio for the ASRock Vision 3D 252B.

Optical Disk Drive : Philips Lite-on Blu-ray / DVD RW Slot Loading Drive

The ASRock Vision 3D 252B ships with the Philips Lite-on DS-4ETS BD Combo Drive. This is a slot loading drive similar to the one in the first generation Vision 3D, befitting a high end premium HTPC.

MCE Remote

One of the shortcomings of the ASRock HTPCs when compared with something like the Zinos from Dell is the absence of a wireless keyboard / mouse combo. However, ASRock does take care to ensure the presence of an IR receiver in the system and also bundle a MCE remote.

The MCE remote bundled with this system is the same as that of the CoreHT 252B. When the CoreHT 252B shipped with the same remote as the Vision 3D first generation unit, we thought the second generation Vision 3D would also get a step up. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

As we have noted before, the quality of the MCE remote is a big letdown. The keys are quite small and the unit feels cheap in the hand despite being pretty decent in appearance.

In the next few sections, we will take a look at the performance of the ASRock Vision 3D 252B.

Unboxing Impressions Generic Performance Metrics
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • BPB - Monday, May 7, 2012 - link

    Hook this up with an HDHomeRun Prime and you have one heck of a DVR. It will do lots more than any of the other items you mentioned.

    But, the point about the Mac Mini is a good one, you can just buy one of those, load Windows for $100, and you're good to go (sans blu-ray).
  • Southernsharky - Monday, May 7, 2012 - link

    HP Pavilion dv6-6c50us Notebook Intel Core i5 2450M(2.50GHz) 15.6" 6GB Memory DDR3 750GB HDD 5400rpm BD Combo Intel HD Graphics 3000

    In stock.
    Was: $799.99
    Now: $759.99

    Ok yes it only has 6gb of memory, but it also has a quad core processor... and of course a screen and that sort of thing.... And oh yeah... its 759.99.

    Its even got the 750gb HD.......
  • ganeshts - Monday, May 7, 2012 - link

    That would compare with the Core HT 252B we reviewed earlier (There is no dGPU in that model).

    Add the dGPU, and the laptop cost would turn out to be similar to that of the system here. The only difference is the screen (we have analyzed this in the first generation Vision 3D review), and the reason the laptop turns out cheaper is because of the economies of scale (more laptops are bound to be sold compared to the number of such HTPCs).
  • Wurmer - Monday, May 7, 2012 - link

    I agree with many posters here, 1190.00 $ for an HTCP is way too much money. I've built a few by mostly salvaging parts from older computers. Some may argue that I don't get the best power efficiency by doing is so but I certainly save a bundle of cash in parts. Anyways, you don't need a super powerful rig to play Blue ray and store media. A good mid end rig of three years ago is plenty good for HTCP usage. I got some parts on the cheap so my next HTPC will include an AMD x3 455, 8 gig of rams and cheap MSI board, GT 430. The only thing I'll be spending cash on this time around is a dedicated HTPC case from Lian Li (200.00$) which should last me many years. The only real thing that is expensive with that kind of built is the storage since the last year or so HHD prices have gone through the roof and if you use you HTPC quite a bit then you need some serious storage space.
  • philipma1957 - Monday, May 7, 2012 - link

    Yeah I agree I even set about building a htpc/gamer with new parts.

    an intel 2500t 210 or a 2500k for 210 I have both.
    a crucial ssd 199
    a wd 2tb hdd 99
    a passive gpu card hd7750 140 or a hd6870 with a fan for 150 I have both,
    a mobo 130
    samsung ram 80
    a cheap rosewill case 25
    a seasonic psu 110
    a samsung bluray 65
    total 1058

    add soft ware and a tuner and you are at 1.2k all new parts. functionally it is just better.

    It will game that gpu gets 7.4 on wei and if you sub a hd6870 you can game at almost all games. I know I have a hd6870 and it runs hotter uses more power but gamers better and gets a 7.8 for wei.

    now if you are in an apartment and are really tight for space this unit makes sense over my build.

    If you have rack space this unit does not make sense at least to me it doesn't. my wei scores are 7.3 for the cpu and 7.4 for the gpu. and 7.8 for all other. if you swap the 2500k and the hd6870 you get 7.8 for all score . same price but more watts used. this all fits in a 14 by 14 by 7 inch case.

    I can't see using the asrock unless space is really really really tight.
  • Scannall - Monday, May 7, 2012 - link

    A Mac Mini with an i7 and a real video card is $4.00 less. And a better machine.
  • Wurmer - Monday, May 7, 2012 - link

    I've considered the mac mini but the IGP Intel 3000 is a bit weak and the one with the optional AMD GPU is not much more powerful. When the Mac mini gets Ivy bridge and Intel 4000 IGP things will be more interesting I think.
  • justniz - Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - link

    This unit comes with an IR receiver.
    Why are most manufacturers still producing/supporting IR remotes instead of wireless remotes?
    Wireless remotes have many advantages and no disadvantages, such as better range, including through walls, they still work in bright sunlight, and theres no need to point the remote at the receiver.
    The ergonomics of remotes is limited by the need to point them. Without that limitation their whole design could be improved.
  • JSt0rm01 - Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - link

    for $99 you can get a apple tv that while it has way less raw "features" Has the ability to stream content from your main system and stream from the internet all in 1080p with 5.1 digital audio output. I dont see how these feature sets are worth $900 more then the feature set of a apple tv or roku.


    Also, after being a member of the anandtech forums for 10 years I was permanently banned by the moderators there because they wanted to censor a website ( that had conversation that was critical of their moderation. I find that the free flow of all information on the internet is critical. For a tech website such as this to limit the flow of information is offensive the core of these beliefs and its all because certain people in positions of illusory power deem that information detrimental to their positions.
  • axellslade - Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - link

    I just built a brand new HTPC but I can't seem to be able to find the VESA mounting holes on the side of my HAF X. And it's weighting like a ton. I think I did something wrong.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now