Vision 3D 137B Internals and Layout

For its modest size, ASRock packs in some decent kit. The mobile Intel Core i3-370M may be lacking Turbo Boost, but it's only a 35W CPU. Clocked at 2.4GHz, this dual-core, Hyper-Threaded CPU is still quite a powerful bit of kit. Paired up with Nvidia's latest GeForce GT 425M that uses a new Fermi-based GF108 core (even before the desktop parts go on sale) there's DirectX 11 support and the usual Nvidia PhysX and 3D gubbins inside. More importantly though, this GPU has 96 stream processors, so it's above the pitifulness of usual notebook graphics cards and verges on 'quite good'.

ASRock Vision 3D 137B Review Vision 3D 137B Internals and Layout ASRock Vision 3D 137B Review Vision 3D 137B Internals and Layout
ASRock throws in its own MCE remote which, while plasticy, has really nice buttons and is a good size

Compared to the Dell Zino HD, the ASRock is leaps and bounds ahead, and even the illustrious Mac Mini is left behind with its older Core 2 hardware and GeForce GT320M: an older 72-stream processor, DirectX 10.1 part.

ASRock Vision 3D 137B Review Vision 3D 137B Internals and Layout ASRock Vision 3D 137B Review Vision 3D 137B Internals and Layout
The Intel Core i3-370M (note the mobile chips have no IHS) and Nvidia GeForce GT 425M

ASRock pitches the system not as console-rivalling gaming PC, but as more of a HTPC with the Blu-ray drive and Nvidia 3D vision kit thrown in. There is a non-Blu-ray version, called the Vision 3D 137D rather than 137B (presumably that's D for DVD and B for Blu-ray).

The advantage of ASrock's use of Nvidia's latest hardware is that it has HDMI 1.4 support for bitstreaming Dolby and DTS HD audio, and it also still has enough bandwidth for Blu-ray 3D and the 120Hz output required. This is only useful if you only care about Blu-ray 3D though; if not, you might as well buy a cheaper PS3. However, since Sony had the awesome idea to remove the 'install other OS' option, the ASRock gives you more freedom to customise. Well done, Sony...

ASRock Vision 3D 137B Review Vision 3D 137B Internals and Layout ASRock Vision 3D 137B Review Vision 3D 137B Internals and Layout
The extra hard disk screws into the bottom, and ASRock thoughtfully provides the extra power plug and SATA cable in the box.

It requires some disassembling, but two 2.5in hard disks can be fitted, giving up to 2TB of space, which is plenty for most HTPC demands. If you need more, there's still eSATA, USB 3, or NAS options to play with. There's no room for internal TV tuners, but USB ones work reasonably well these days.
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