ASRock ION 330 Series Nettop – Extreme Performance in a Small Package


asrock ion 330 bd

Where has this product been hiding? I stumbled on the ASRock ION 330 Series Nettop while browsing the pics from COMPUTEX 2009 in June and saw an attractive little PC sporting Blu-ray capabilities. Intrigued, I did a little research. It turns out ASRock is primarily a motherboard manufacture who has branched out into creating nettop PCs. However, the ION 330 Series is like none anyone has seen to date.

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The ION 330 offers a 1.6Ghz dual-core Intel Atom 330 processor that can be overclocked to 2.1Ghz (with its preloaded software), supports Windows / Linux 64-Bit operating systems, includes 2GB of dual-channel memory, 320GB 2.5-inch hard drive, NVIDIA ION Graphics (GeForce 9400M) capable of smooth 1080p video playback through HDMI, 5.1 audio, Gigabit Ethernet, and, if you choose, a Blu-ray drive (standard: DVD Super Multi) for playing back HD movies via Windows 7. Oh, and since it’s a nettop style product, it consumes very little power and is near silent (26 dB rating).

I also did a little price checking since I WANT ONE now. In the US, you can pick up the non-Blu-ray drive version for $379.99 from Newegg.com. ASRock has partnered with Amazon.com as well and found that they are selling a similarly spec’d Mini-ITX board with Wi-Fi for $189 from a company called ZOTAC (review @ mini-itx.com). I’m not sure if ZOTAC has a relationship with ASRock, but they did come up in the ASRock search results.

Product Uses: HTPC / Media Center PC, XMBC / Boxee Set-Top, MythTV / SageTV front-end, LAN party gaming rig.

UPDATE: Our friends at Missing Remote have posted a review of the ASRock ION 330.

Pros:

  • Draws no more than 40 watts of power (idle of only 26 watts)
  • Easily handled 1080p video formats
  • Supports 7.1 HDMI LPCM Audio
  • Very quiet (less than 30dB)
  • Affordable MSRP of $400
  • Small form factor
  • Includes all hardware needed

Cons:

  • No Front USB Ports
  • No eSATA ports at all
  • No included Operating system
  • Maximum 5.1 analog audio
  • No support for bitstreaming HD audio formats
  • No component video




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Filed in: Entertainment PCs, Streaming Media Devices


  • ir0nw0lf

    ASRock is a child company of Asus. ASRock was formed back in 2002 I believe. They tend to cater to the OEM segment, although they have quite a few consumer-buyable boards. Their boards are OK, nothing exotic.

    That Nettop looks pretty nice!

  • DeadPenguin

    I have been trying to decide between this or the Zotac setup at Mini Itx for Linux XBMC. Both setups are all over the XBMC Forum. It looks like the smoothest install I've seen has been on a Zotac. Some of the Asrock people have had some problems getting up and running with XMBC.
    3 of these (or Zotac) a bigger NAS and I will never go back to cable.
    Hard to find the Asrock in US other than Newegg and Ebay. The one I saw on Newegg a couple weeks ago said “barebones” and was more expensive than some of the prices I saw posted on the forums. I think XBMC might be driving those google results. Cheers. I hope you get one!!! I'd like to hear about it.

  • http://www.ehomeupgrade.com Alexander Grundner

    It's not really barebones like other systems I've seen. The ASRock at Newegg includes a 320GB hard drive and 2GB of RAM. Most barebones include neither. I'm tempted by the Zotac board as well. You can find a mini-ITX enclosure pretty cheap these days (around $50). If you prefer to have a bigger hard drive and more memory, it's probably better to by the board and build your own.

  • DeadPenguin

    I am probably going the DIY route. I will load up on ram but I might not need a CD/DVD or HD for that matter. (XBMC Live runs off a USB stick)

    Here is the Zotac build that got my attention:
    http://www.xbmc.org/forum/showthread.php?t=55328

  • http://dougplanet.wordpress.com/ dougplanet

    Zotac is a totally separate company from ASRock, which is a subsidiary or ASUS.

    BTW, I put the ASRock (non BluRay) through it's paces as a media center, including recording SD cable…

    http://www.rgbfilter.com/?p=1652

    Overall, I'm very happy with the system. Although I don't have the speaker set up to make it work, others have reported that it'll do up to 7.1 sound through HDMI.

  • gacmb5

    Shouldn't “No included Operating system” be in the part of the 'pros'?
    ASRock is one of the few companies that allow you to choose yourself. If you want to build a HTPC with this nice system, why would you want to buy an OS as you can get xbmc live or mythbuntu for free. Other vendors let you pay for the useless Windows version that is bundled. The fact that no OS is included is one of the reasons I bought this system!

  • gacmb5

    Shouldn't “No included Operating system” be in the part of the 'pros'?
    ASRock is one of the few companies that allow you to choose yourself. If you want to build a HTPC with this nice system, why would you want to buy an OS as you can get xbmc live or mythbuntu for free. Other vendors let you pay for the useless Windows version that is bundled. The fact that no OS is included is one of the reasons I bought this system!