Late last year, we took a look at the ASRock CoreHT 252B, a Sandy Bridge-based midrange HTPC. We liked the CoreHT quite a bit, noting that the small form factor HTPC was a solid choice for most users in this segment. It was hit all the key points, though it didn’t do anything in particular to set itself apart from the rest of the SFF crowd. Our main complaints centered around the hard drive performance, and to that end comes the ASRock CoreHT Server.

It’s very similar to the CoreHT we reviewed before, even sharing nearly the same specs. The one major difference: there’s two 500GB HDDs in the place of one, configured in RAID 0. Other than that, there’s the same mobile Sandy Bridge internals, headlined by the HM67 chipset and Core i5-2410M processor.

ASRock CoreHT Server Edition HTPC Specifications
Processor Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5-2410M
(2 x 2.30 GHz (2.90 GHz Turbo), 32nm, 3MB L2, 35W)
Chipset Intel HM67
Memory 2 x 2GB DDR3-1333
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 3000
650 MHz / 1.2 GHz (Turbo)
Hard Drive(s) 2 x 500GB 7200RPM 2.5" HDD (RAID 0)
(Western Digital Scorpio Black WD5000BEKT, Hitachi HTS7250)
Optical Drive Blu-ray/DVDRW Combo
Networking Gigabit Ethernet
802.11b/g/n (2T2R Atheros AR5B97 in AzureWave AW-NE121H mini-PCIE card)
Audio Microphone and headphone/speaker jacks
Capable of 5.1/7.1 digital output with HD audio bitstreaming (optical SPDIF/HDMI)
Operating System Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (Retail unit is barebones)
Extras THX TruStudio Pro Audio Certification
IR receiver and MCE remote
Pricing TBD

ASRock’s Core HTPC line is their midrange model, slotting between the entry level ION-based machines and the high-end Vision 3D units. The Server is externally exactly the same as the 252B, so I’ll refer you back to that review for more details on the unboxing experience. The CoreHT case is glossy black, mostly angular, but the industrial design is understated and fits well in an A/V cabinet. I like the two USB 3.0 ports on the front, as well as the understated nature of the design. The industrial design isn’t premium by any means, but it’s generally inoffensive and doesn’t bring attention to itself, which is perhaps the most important visual trait for an HTPC.

There’s a decent array of ports on the back, with four USB 2.0 ports, another pair of USB 3.0 ports, eSATA, SPDIF, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, and of course HDMI. Cooling is handled with an intake vent on the front of the system and a small exhaust fan at the back.

ASRock CoreHT Server Edition - Internals
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  • Death666Angel - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    So, everyone has to have the same taste in your world? :-)
  • zyrmpg - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    your link is 404'd and now I'm curious what this case is. Reup or model #?
  • Raider1284 - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    hi Zyrmpg. This is the enclosure DeathAngel was trying to link to:
  • Raider1284 - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    and the link to the product page:

    Is there not a way to edit your own posts?!
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    Sorry about the broken link, the parenthesis at the end messed up the link. Thanks for posting the right one, Raider.
    Unfortunately, I think they are only selling in Europe. and are selling them and the process of buying Amazon from abroad is pretty painless in my experience (I'm in Germany and regularly buy from UK and USA).
    The German Amazon website has some more pictures of my mod:
  • Bejusek - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    Server edition and only one RJ-45?! I would buy it if it had two.
  • JKoltner - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    I'm curious... what do you want the two Ethernet ports for? So that the PC can also serve as a router/firewall?

    (I'm just thinking... I have a a small file server machine like this I built a couple of years ago, and while it does have tow Ethernet ports, I've only ever used one...)
  • Bejusek - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    Yes, I would use is as a combined router / media center / home file server, low power machine.
    I'm currently about to build something for this purpose. It either will be based on intel g620 or amd a6-3500 with some mini-itx mainboard.

    However a pre-built pc like this one could be an interesting option, if only it had two ethernet interfaces; I'm not going to use a usb network card etc. 'Server edition' caught my eye and my first thought was finally something with dual network cards, thus my disappointment and comment.
  • mcnabney - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    You would use a box with a net storage capacity of 1TB as a storage server?

    I guess my 18TB server makes everything look puny...
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    He could add several large HDDs via eSata (RAID) enclosures. :-)

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