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ASRock CoreHT 252B review

A compact HTPC with built-in Blu-ray, but does it justify the price?

ASRock CoreHT 252B
So many features packed into a tiny chassis

Our Verdict

A compact yet capable Home Theatre PC, but with a high price and some odd features missed off


  • Small
  • Silent
  • Blu-ray player built-in
  • Good expandability options
  • Intel Core i5 processor


  • Pricey
  • Heats up easily
  • Missing Blu-ray playback software
  • No IR receiver
  • Windows not included in price

Is ASRock's all-in-one Home Theatre PC (HTPC), the CoreHT 252B-4G50/B, the perfect living room companion to sit by your TV?

Depending on how you measure it, it's smaller than an Apple Mac Mini (the Mini is about half the height, but the CoreHT wins from the overhead dimensions) and has the advantage of coming with a Blu-ray drive built in and front-facing USB 3.0 ports for other media.

It looks good too, in its tiny tin enclosure that's been lacquered in a glossy black.

Attach a USB TV card and it's realistically a replacement for most of your set-top boxes in a chassis that's smaller than most Freeview tuners.

The ASRock CoreHT 252B then really is a media box par excellence.

The Core i5 2520M Mobile Sandy Bridge processor also features Intel's higher-end HD Graphics 3000 tech, and Creative's THX HD TruStudio Pro audio is built in to the integrated audio.

It seems flawless - the ultimate NAS box, entertainment device and workstation all in one. Have we finally found the one-box converged future of the digital home?