The ASRock Core 100HT represents a big upgrade in performance for this series, moving off of the ION platform and instead using an Intel i3-330M 2.13GHz as a processor really gives a bump in performance capabilities.  The entire system is 7.68″ x 2.76″ x 7.32″ and its black finish will allow you to place this unobtrusively in a living room and the wireless connectivity will help you if you stream content from another machine.  Something new to think about is 3D TV and gaming, something you would assume was limited to machines with a high end video card or two; Benchmark Reviews tried it out and it seems your assumptions are correct, IGPs simply cannot handle the load.

“When we last tested an ASRock HTPC, it was the ION 330 AMCP7A HTPC armed with the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M GPU. Now equipped with Intel’s Core i3-330M 2.13GHz dual-core mobile processor and Intel GMA HD integrated graphics on an ASRock HM55-HT mini-ITX HM55-Express motherboard with 4GB of DDR3, Benchmark Reviews tests high-definition video playback and gaming performance for the ASRock Core 100HT HTPC system. The latest updates add SuperSpeed USB-3.0 functionality for attached storage devices, and THX TruStudio PRO technology to deliver a realistic audio experience. Other additions come in the shape of a wireless media center remote control, and uncompressed digital HDMI audio/video output. ”

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