Asrock Ion 330HT-BD Nettop Review

By Julio Franco ยท 30 replies
Dec 14, 2009
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  1. Despite paying little attention to the hype behind the Nvidia Ion, it turns out we loved Asrock's implementation of the platform. By combining Nvidia's latest chipset with the Intel Atom processor, Asrock has put together an extremely impressive low-profile computer.

    Read the full review at:

    Please leave your feedback here.
  2. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +901

    I want one of those, here in Chile I was looking for a Gear Ion series computer which has the same n330+ion 2gb ram and 320gb hdd, without an optic drive it measures a bit less than that and looks much more stylish too, just waiting for the old computer to sell, has pretty decent gaming hardware, but nowadays I don't even have time to play so... I want one of those =)
  3. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 529   +7

    Looks very cool, and could be a great higher end Blue-ray player option or great little computer for non power users. Wouldn't pass mustard for my main pc though. I would love one as a multimedia pc connected to my TV, the only thing to be missing from my wish list is to be able to able to use this as a TV capture device.
  4. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    I may have to get one of these to replace my larger HTPC that I put together earlier this year, which I may repurpose as a gaming rig for my son :)

    @compdata, there are plenty of USB capture devices that work very well for TV capture. I've personally used one of the Hauppauge models, and for my HTPC that I built, I got an ATi 650 HD which is USB, has digital and analog input, and an integrated MPEG-2 encoder to crunch the video as it comes in, rather than taxing the CPU. Pair 1 (or 2) of those with this little media gem reviewed here, and you'd have a great system.
  5. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,713   +855

    Very slick. I've forwarded this on to our IT Manager for consideration.

    Great review - thanks!
  6. fastvince

    fastvince TS Enthusiast Posts: 70   +19

    The only thing missing are USB 3.0 ports. I still don't know why most manufacturers are not including these on stuff they make !?
  7. LightHeart

    LightHeart TS Rookie Posts: 155

    Looks good.

    You did a great job on the review!
  8. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +901

    Probably because one of very many reasons...

    Posible First: Would increase the cheap factor from this to not so cheap and in the end would be much more convenient to buy another thing.

    Posible Second: They don't work with any mainboard, they use limited hardware and most of it is notebook oriented, and the mainboard must be very limited as it is.

    Posible Third: It just didn't fit into the box.

    Posible... I don't know, picture it :p
  9. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +1,092

    For how small it is it packs quite a punch. I might buy one in a year or so when prices come down a bit. But first, i want a high-end PC.
  10. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +901

    For the price it has Puiu, I doubt it will come down a bit at all.

    I doubt big time that it could go any lower.
  11. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,375   +168

    Nice machine and a comprehensive review. One thing I would have liked to be given more attention would be gaming. Even though this HTPC isn't very good at it, it's something I'm still interested in. First of all, I think that such an HTPC would likely be used with an HDTV, so 720p and 1080p are better resolutions to test with than those tested. Secondly, it'd have been nice to see some benchmarks of lower quality settings and games that might run, instead of just commenting about it. Games that appeal to the whole family, like WoW, might be good candidates for a living room HTPC.
  12. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    @ET3D I have a comparable zotac ion that I've been playing with over the last few months. Unfortunately nothing in the last 5 years is even remotely playable, even with all the settings turned down.
  13. Timonius

    Timonius TS Evangelist Posts: 647   +58

    I would like to see what's 'under the hood' here.
  14. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,668   +988

    Excellent feedback ET3D, I will pass this along to Steve. Admittedly we are more used to review desktop components meant for gaming, so we didn't stop to think about this and include it on this particular review.

    In the meantime, tekkaraiden seems to be running a similar Ion box from Zotac (you can find them selling online) and his feedback can serve you for the moment.

    @Timonius: Under the hood? Check out page #5 for all kinds of naked screenshots:
  15. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,668   +988

    @fastvince - It's safe to assume USB 3.0 would come at a great expense with little gain at the moment since there are no devices ready for it just yet.
  16. fastvince

    fastvince TS Enthusiast Posts: 70   +19

    Yea...that seems right. I personally wont buy anything without them. In six months from now, when 3.0 is the new standard , I would have to buy all new stuff again...Better off waiting..
  17. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    I really don't think USB 3.0 is an important consideration right now. It will be some time before devices such as the Asrock Ion 330HT-BD support USB 3.0 and truth be told you are not missing out not having it with such a product. External drives should use the eSATA port while USB will mostly be used for low bandwidth devices anyway.

    Also ET3D mentioned that we should have tested more games ... I do not feel that it was necessary. The Ion 330HT-BD is not suitable for gaming and should not be purchased with the intention of doing any kind of 3D gaming. Basically we showed what we did only to prove that statement.
  18. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +901

    I second ET3D to test drive this sort of machines for casual gaming.

    I for one would love to see how WoW or DDO would run on it, I know I ran DDO on a GMA945 with a bit of lag normal gameplay, and a lot of it in big areas. On the other hand, how the n330 works on java games, like facebook games, with an N270 some games lagged hard, even on an a64 5000+ have seen them lag when too many objects are on screen.

    The idea ET3D gave was not for hard gamers, but the casual you can play on the net maybe.

    @Fastvince: I doubt we will have USB 3.0 as new standard in 6 months, maybe a little more time to come.
  19. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,375   +168

    Steve, I did a little googling, and looks like Tom's Hardware did a little gaming test on a similar platform earlier this year (,2300-5.html). WoW actually ran pretty decently at 720p. So don't discount it so easily.
  20. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 839   +29

    My first thought on seeing this was 'But I can get a PS3 for $300, and even with all the cables, I can get it for under $350 - and it plays PS3 games also'. I know the PS3 is rather picky about the formats it will take for video, but from the guides I have come across online and playing with my friends PS3, its not all that hard to get it to play movies on his HDTV, and it has a Blu-Ray player.

    By no means am I saying this isn't a beautiful little HTPC - I would rather own a PS3 personally.
  21. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +901

    I would rather have a computer than a PS3, much much more versatile and could have more than a couple uses.
  22. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 839   +29

    Yah but I already own 2 computers and a laptop. Main purpose of this device seems to be to play video and movies on your TV. I would rather get the PS3 to do that, and be able to play PS3 games.

    Im not saying its useless, just I don't need another computer.
  23. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    I agree with you Kibaruk it is much better for playing HD content than a PS3 and it provides much more functionality.

    Still if all you want to do is game then yes the PS3 is a better solution. Though having said that if you want to game, better yet build a gaming PC, that's way better than a PS3! That's right I went there :p
  24. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +901

    There is just something about consoles not filling that "something" when you play games, I don't know what it might be.
  25. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Posts: 729

    I was just wondering, how well did the Media Center remote work? Is it set up straight out of the box, like a TV/Blu Ray player remote would be? Also, can it be used for anything other than windows Media Center. For example, can you program it to open a browser or other application?

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