The ASRock Vision 3D 252B is basically a notebook solution. It wouldn't make sense to compare it with full blown desktop Sandy Bridge solutions (or for that matter, any system with a power consumption of more than 100W). In the comparative benchmarks provided in the rest of this review, we will provide the scores obtained by the Vision 3D 252B and other similar SFF HTPC solutions.

Windows Experience Index

This metric is often considered meaningless, but we feel it serves as an indicator of what could be the bottleneck in a system for pre-built HTPCs. With such a premium configuration, the only letdown is the absence of a SSD, and it is duly reflected in this index with the primary hard disk weighing in at 5.9.

Using a SSD as the primary disk is the only thing that could have been done in order to improve this score.

Miscellaneous Performance Metrics

The graphs below give an idea of where the ASRock Vision 3D 252B stands with respect to performance when compared with other SFF HTPCs.

PCMark Vantage's PCMark score gives a general idea of the system's capability.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

We also ran the 3D Mark Vantage and 3D Mark 06 benchmarks and the graphs below show how the GT 540M (in conjunction with the Core i5-2520M) fares when compared to the graphics capabilities of other pre-built SFF HTPCs.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3D Mark 06

The Vision 3D 252B is miles ahead of the SFF HTPCs from last year. This goes on to prove that the bar for the high-end HTPC just keeps getting higher.

In addition to the above synthetic benchmarks, a couple of common HTPC workloads were also benchmarked. We have some data on the x264 encoding performance using the i5-2520M. Note that we are unable to utilize QuickSync for this test because QuickSync is unable to provide any for of support for accelerating x264 encode. As expected, the results match what was obtained in the CoreHT 252B review.

x264 Encoding - Pass 1

x264 Encoding - Pass 2

An estimate of how well WinRAR performs, particularly with respect to processing split archives, wraps up this section. To evaluate this, we take a 4.36 GB MKV file, compress it in the 'Best' compression mode into a split archive (97.1 MB each), which results in 44 files on the hard disk. The time taken to decompress this split archive is then recorded. The performance in this benchmark is heavily influenced by the hard disk in the system. It looks like both the hard disk characteristics of the Vision 3D 252B are the same as that of the CoreHT 252B.

WinRAR Benchmarking

We have deliberately refrained from dealing with gaming benchmarks in this review. Instead, we will focus on very HTPC-centric benchmarks over the next few sections. For readers interested in finding out how the GT 540M fares in gaming bencmarks when coupled with a mobile Sandy Bridge processor, I suggest taking a look at Dustin's gaming benchmarks prepared as part of a notebook review. Though Dustin doesn't have kind words for the GT 540M, note that the Vision 3D 252B is definitely a step up from the first generation Vision 3D (for which we have gaming benchmarks here).

System Teardown and Analysis Network Streaming
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  • 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).
    Reply
  • Southernsharky - Monday, May 7, 2012 - link

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    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.......
    Reply
  • 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).
    Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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 (ffdt.info) 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.
    Reply
  • 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. Reply

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