Before we tell you more about Asrock's Ion-based nettop, imagine buying a complete desktop PC that is only $ 350 and is both modern and stylish. In addition, this imaginary computer supports many new technologies, runs Windows 7 with no problems, and offers Full HD playback. In addition, it consumes less electricity under full load than a conventional light bulb and makes almost no noise.
Our imaginary computer is about the size of a cookie jar or about 19 x 19 cm. (7×7 in) with a height of only 7 cm. (<3 in). This computer sounds like the perfect HTPC and to be honest it is.
Let us no longer get rid of this thought as an invention of our imagination. Although we paid little attention to the hype behind the Nvidia Ion, we really liked Asrock's implementation of the platform. By combining the latest Nvidia chipset with the Intel Atom processor, Asrock has put together an extremely impressive low profile computer.
A number of Ion 330 configurations already exist, with the 330HT-BD we are reviewing today being the most appreciated by Asrock. This version ($ 580) includes a Blu-Ray combo drive, as well as a Media Center Edition remote control, and a few other useful features that we'll get to know shortly.
Before we show you more about the Ion 330HT-BD, however, we'll go back in time with a brief history of the Mini-ITX form factor. We'll also discuss the evolution of the Intel Atom series and explain exactly why we think the proposal behind the Ion platform is so relevant to its continued success …