ASRock Vision 3D 252B HTPC Review
ASRock Vision 3D 252B Interior
Although the ASRock Vision 3D 252B appears to be a compact, sealed fortress of a mini-PC, it is actually very easy to disassemble. There is a single button on the back of the machine, that when pressed, ejects the glossy lid off the top. Once the top is removed, it’s just a matter of unscrewing a few screws and removing an EMI shield.
We should point out that the EMI shield in the system also asks as a drive tray. The system’s slot-loading Blu-Ray drive and 2.5” Western Digital 750GB hard drive are mounted to the tray and can be removed right along with it, after unplugging their cables, of course.
ASRock’s Vision 3D HTPC systems are built up using mobile components. Various Intel Core i3 / i5 / and i7 processor options are available, but the form factor and most other features remain unchanged, save for the optical drive, which can be either a DVD or Blu-Ray drive.
There is an MXM module underneath a copper heatplate in the 252B that houses the machine’s NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M GPU; the CPU and chipset reside under another heatplate adjacent to the GPU, which is also outfitted with the system’s only cooling fan. We should point out that while the fan is not completely silent, it is very quiet. Under no circumstances did the slight noise generated by the fan detract from the experience while playing movies, music, etc. in a home theater environment.
There are multiple different models of the ASRock Vision 3D and Core HT series mini systems. The "B" or "D" in the model number designates the optical drive configuration (B for Blue-Ray, D for DVD), and the higher model number machines are equipped with progressively faster processors. The Core i5-2520M in the model we tested, however, proved to be more than capable for every multimedia task we threw at the machine, though.
Other specification of the system we tested include 8GB or DDR3-1333 RAM, an Intel HM65 Express chipset, Gigabit LAN, 7.1 channel HD Audio with THX TruStudio support, and built in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.