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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  • LoneWolf15 - Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - link

    As nice as it looks, I'll pass.

    Cool PC, bro --but there are options that will get this job done equally well, for far less. Ones that don't have Asrock's track record for awful customer support if something goes wrong (having owned one of their high-end mainboards briefly, I experienced that personally).

    Less expensive options have desktop CPU upgrade options too. The mobile Sandy Bridge systems currently out aren't upgradeable to mobile Ivy Bridge, so I doubt this is, either.
    Reply
  • cjmccarthy72 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    I almost dare not admit to owning one of these- I can imagine the comments especially from the build your own brigade....

    But I got one just before Christmas and it is a real box of joy. I stuck a SSD from my previous HTPC inside it and this goes like the wind. Large photo, music and movie collection load really quick in WMC. Streams HD media with ease. Extremely quiet- the fans on my plasma are more audible!

    Very small- and yet it is truly a one box solution- despite this review I can play most games like Street Fighter IV at full spec on it.

    I live in tiny city centre flat and so yes it is expensive, but it beats having a laptop or desktop on the floor, taking up space. Paired with a soundbar and HD tv it means very little space is taken up with my equipment and so my wife is happy. It means that my AV cabinet is now taken up with more family friendly boxes- Scrabble, Monopoly, Battleships!

    Last, but not least, it has Blu-Ray- now if only Windows 8 supported it natively....
    Reply
  • allensays - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    I can do the same things with my similarly spec'd Asus K73S laptop, then unplug it, go out on the deck or take it to the beach...

    ...For much LESS $.

    What a waste.
    Reply
  • cjmccarthy72 - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    I'm happy for you- no beach or deck where I am I am afraid- & lots of rain at the moment here unfortunately... but also no USA Amazon so no "similarly spec'd Asus K73S laptop". Our Amazon has listed only an Asus K73S- but this only has an i3 cpu, dvd only, 4gb ram only, 320gb hard-drive only - all for $852 equivalent price in dollars. So you clearly have the better deal your end.
    I have a company laptop which sounds like a jet taking off so I like the silence of this HTPC but I also use it as my PVR so want it hooked up all the time- yet hidden away without my family needing to plug it in and hook it up. + I can do some limited upgrades with it. My last HTPC, a Sony VGX-XL, was also relatively expensive- but I had it for over 5 years before I sold it and so thought that was a reasonable investment.

    But clearly for some people this would be a waste- I agree- no argument. However as an owner I thought I would add an opinion about this HTPC, as the majority of comments here only deal with the price.
    Reply
  • iq100 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    There are better alternatives to the $50 JRiver MediaCenter game. Did you know that JRiver will charge you again and again for each new release? Worse is their censorship. Criticize them, post about alternatives, and you will be BANNED for life. And they will get their 'commercial friends' to do the same. These folks are NOT like anandtech. They are not about sharing ideas. They add on free GNU softward without embracing the spirit of open source code. They are about commercial money wars. If they were Egypt, or Iran, or Iraq, the would kill your right to speak.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltoQwSpHQBA

    iq100
    the best way to delete an idea is to post one of your own.
    Reply
  • ix400 - Sunday, June 3, 2012 - link

    Or is there an alternative tool for finding out the exact refresh rate of the display? Reply
  • iq100 - Monday, June 4, 2012 - link

    With MPC-HC:
    http://www.homecinema-hd.com/autofrequency_en.html

    iq100
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltoQwSpHQBA
    Reply
  • ix400 - Thursday, June 7, 2012 - link

    ... but this tool doesn't show me a precise value of the refresh rate that is actually set. Reply
  • iq100 - Friday, June 8, 2012 - link

    >http://www.exampledepot.com/egs/java.awt/screen_Sc...

    You can do this in java:
    http://www.exampledepot.com/egs/java.awt/screen_Sc...

    iq100
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltoQwSpHQBA
    Reply
  • shurik_1 - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    try to create couple of dozen gig archive on another PC. create a parity set. corrupt a few bits. transfer to Vision 3D. try to repair and see for yourself what happens...

    I have complained to ASRock about this and was forced to send entire PC for repairs (no they do not refund shipping costs you have to swallow it). Only change is that BIOS now is 1.10c instead of 1.10. A friend of mine managed to get from their support the actual BIOS without shipping back and indeed it solved his issues as well.

    Now I try to update memory to 16GB and the issue is back. Had to go back to 8GB. It's been over a month since I reported this new issue to them and still no fix.

    Note that they never acknowledged the issue and never posted updated BIOS to their site. Customers data gets silently corrupted meanwhile...

    Other than that is has everything I wanted in HTPC.
    Reply

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