Asrock Vision HT 420D HTPC Review

By on February 4, 2014, 1:26 AM

It's been a few years since we published an enthusiastic review of Asrock's pricey yet powerful Vision 3D HTPC. The company has since kept our attention with annual updates, now on its fourth generation, the Vision HT 420D has received a proper upgrade to Intel's Haswell architecture as well as other improvements that contribute to the system's respectable list of features, making it one of the most impressive HTPCs to date.

Although the Vision HT 420D has largely picked up where the Ivy Bridge-based Vision HT 300 left off, the newest range isn't quite as diverse . The HT 300 series included models with Core i3 and i5 processors, while some were complete builds and others were barebones options that let you customize your memory and storage. For now, Asrock's latest Vision offerings are limited to two models: the 400D and the 420D.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 24

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Guest said:

That is the perfect media player but the wrong price. That's just not going to be easy to sell despite it's awesomeness.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

If it has 2 memory slots, then we can easily get 16GB of RAM for it. And if it has SATA-3, then we can fit in a good SSD. Then it would be a nice home server.

Do we have all those options? 'Cos if we do, I would consider buying it.

EDITED: Just checked on their website - yes, we do have all that.

However, it is an unusual configuration for today:

- If one buys it to be used as a home server, then blu-ray is a waste of space and energy;

- if one buys it as a media player, then it should have DisplayPort 1.2a, so it can be connected to the new 4K monitors.

And it is something in between, not ideal for either one.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

If it has 2 memory slots, then we can easily get 16GB of RAM for it. And if it has SATA-3, then we can fit in a good SSD. Then it would be a nice home server.

Do we have all those options? 'Cos if we do, I would consider buying it.

EDITED: Just checked on their website - yes, we do have all that.

However, it is an unusual configuration for today:

- If one buys it to be used as a home server, then blu-ray is a waste of space and energy;

- if one buys it as a media player, then it should have DisplayPort 1.2a, so it can be connected to the new 4K monitors.

And it is something in between, not ideal for either one.

I agree with you, its got this Hybrid feel thats just missing certain key features that would make the premium worth it in my book. With an OS I might be willing to say its not bad, but even though I doubt I could make something as compact (Unless I could find a case and motherboard in that category of size then I could), it makes its argument in that area.

Honestly what this type of Media center needed was either to go with an Iris Pro Intel chip or an A10 with the new R7 chip to get that 4k output in a Media PC. In this type of machine it would not need to much processor power and would be more beneficial to have an nicer GPU for high resolution/media center types of things and a blu-ray.

Asrock has been doing alot of cool machines lately with the Asrock M8 machines is a really great device but I feel this one is just missing a few key parts to make it be a great device sadly. But again this is all just my opinion and nothing more.

Guest said:

Too pricey but the hardware is very decent!

AnilD AnilD said:

While in the topic of small footprint PCs... maybe Asrock should offer the same hardware with Chrome OS, media playback functionality out of the box and the option for dual booting Windows. I do agree the Vision HT is too expensive vs. building your own rig, but then again, you pay for convenience yet the software side of it is non-existent when there are viable free alternatives.

Guest said:

I like these but I'd like them a bit cheaper. With Windows 8, they become stellar on a TV, in particular because they are so much better than an Xbox to access Xbox video and other services not available on the console. Once the VLC store app comes out, I think the argument will be quite strong since Windows 7-style window management via a remote, just doesn't work on TVs. For this reason, Win 8 is the way to go, but at that price... errrr..

Guest said:

You lost me at Asrock.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

You lost me at Asrock.

Life must be scary in that tiny box of yours :(.

Guest said:

If I bought a lemon from ASUS or Gigabyte people would be saying I had bad luck. If I bought an ASRock lemon people would be asking why I bought an ASRock.

3 people like this |
Staff
Steve Steve said:

You lost me at Asrock.

Anyone who questions the quality of Asrock products today clearly has little idea what they are talking about.

Guest said:

Got a Sandy Bridge ASRock one of these just over 2 years ago. Used constantly. Not a problem. Meanwhile in the same period, on my 4th work supplied Apple Macbook...

Guest said:

It's got a mini-pcie free in the photo's.

Can you have a mSata SSD & 2x 2.5" HDD's I wonder...

Guest said:

I built my HTPC with an i5, Lian Li case (not cheap), 8 GB ram, 5 hard drives for storage, SSD for the main drive, Seasonic gold rated PSU. Real slick PC that works for my media and storage purposes for $800. Of course, it is not that small due to hard drives but it is the most compact you can get for my setup, but again that's for $800.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

H1 2013 in parenthesis

h2 2013

http://dgxtech.com/hardware-failure-rates-2013-h2

Motherboards failure rates by brand:

Gigabyte - 1.43% (1.19%)

MSI - 1.83% (3.05%)

ASUS - 1.86% (1.79%)

ASRock - 2.09% (2.09%)

Intel Z77 chipset motherboard return rates:

MSI - 1.88%

ASUS - 2.01%

Gigabyte - 2.44%

ASRock - 3.51%

Four models had return rates of over 5%

ASRock 970 Extreme3 - 7.05%

MSI X79A-GD45 - 6.19%

ASRock 990FX Extreme3 - 6.08%

ASRock 970 Pro3 - 6.06%

Burn me once, why would I go back if there are plenty of other good options.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

I am yet to have an Asrock board fail out of the dozen or so I commonly use. Last year just one Gigabyte board died on me and two MSI boards so that stats are meaningless to me.

That being the case I certainly wouldn't call MSI or Gigabyte board's rubbish. Motherboards are a complex bit of kit, sometimes things go wrong.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Burn me once, why would I go back if there are plenty of other good options.
Looking at those figures and then hearing you mention getting burned, makes me wonder why you used those figures to back your claim.

To me it looks as if you are intensionally pissing on the entire plate, even though 95% is still good. If you have a hatred for ASRock, just say you have a hatred. Using those values does nothing to strengthen your claim, that ASRock should not be used. If the values were closer to 50%, then I could understand.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

Anyone who questions the quality of Asrock products today clearly has little idea what they are talking about.

I agree, I recently purchased an Asrock M-ITX A88X board for a friends build and ive had many other people purchase them. I really do like the boards and the way the bios is setup in them, they are nice quality and pretty good prices.

Looking at those figures and then hearing you mention getting burned, makes me wonder why you used those figures to back your claim.

To me it looks as if you are intensionally pissing on the entire plate, even though 95% is still good. If you have a hatred for ASRock, just say you have a hatred. Using those values does nothing to strengthen your claim, that ASRock should not be used. If the values were closer to 50%, then I could understand.

Yea, I mean most boards are going to have a failure rate of up to 6% in some cases so I do not understand why that's such a big deal. It really takes at least for me three times in a year to 2 year time frame of failure to make me hesitate on buying certain brands. The only actual brand I hesitate to buy is biostar in the motherboard category just because they have broken that rule to me. Asrock make good quality products and I dare even put them now a days as one of the top 5 brands out there now.

Guest said:

Ok, I concede that they are barely the worst. I still don't like them.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Ok, I concede that they are barely the worst. I still don't like them.

You have conceded more than that

I agree, I recently purchased an Asrock M-ITX A88X board for a friends build and ive had many other people purchase them. I really do like the boards and the way the bios is setup in them, they are nice quality and pretty good prices.

That's a really nice board I am currently using it in a system as well.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

That's a really nice board I am currently using it in a system as well.

Yea I love the board, it was the only board (In that size) that had DDR3 2400 support and it was priced the same as the gigabyte so I went ahead and tried it out. Really like the overclocking and the feature set because out of the box the 7850k worked (Though a bios update was required for certain features with it to 100% work). In fact my only two things I would have liked was a heat spreader on the mosfets and something other than punch holes for the wireless.

Asrock make some really nice boards, I really was impressed with how well everything works with the board and how easy it is to mess with all the feature sets. I tend to even recommend them now alot more even compared to Asus, MSI, and gigabyte mostly because the price to performance is so good.

Guest said:

Read the full article at:

[newwindow= [link]

Please leave your feedback here.

From what I can see regarding the specs the 420D does not have a Blu-Ray reader but an DVD-RW combo. I have checked the drive specs on the internet and on AsrockĀ's homepage. I am thinking about buying the 420 but without blu ray it is not an option. Can anyone confirm that it have a blu ray reader?

"Lite-On SATA slim slot-load DVD+/-RW drive (DL-8A4SH). The latter drive supports read speeds of 24x CD, 8x DVD and write speeds of 8x DVD+/-R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 6x DVD+R DL and 24x CD. It also features a relatively small 2MB buffer with access times of 250ms Blu-ray, 180ms for DVDs and 180ms for CDs."

Staff
Steve Steve said:

No Blu-ray that was a small typo that has now been corrected.

Guest said:

In the review it states this version has a blu ray reader but when I look at the specs from retailers and arocks homepage it is stated "DVD combo" or DVD-RW. Can anyone confirm that the 420D have a blu ray reader? mabe it comes in different versions depending on market I live in Sweden and thinking about bying this but only if it comes with built in 3D Blu ray reader.

Thanks in advance,

1 person liked this | GeforcerFX GeforcerFX said:

Hmm I don't have issue with the brand at all, it looks nice, but for almost $700 I would expect HD 5000 graphics Intel has them on there NUC boards (though with less CPU power) I would expect better graphics for that price, there almost $200 above other small HD 5000 boxes.

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