Summary: I would not buy this board again and am currently looking for a more powerful HTPC replacement. If you are looking to build a HTPC you should look elsewhere unless you plan to run XBMC exclusively.
Pros: Works great when using hardware accelerated applications. XBMC runs great whether on Windows (8) or Linux.
Cons: CPU is severely underpowered and drags the whole system down with it. Attempting to watch Hulu or Netflix in Chrome would result in 100% CPU usage in no time which made the video unwatchable.
Summary: Cons aside, I am impressed that I was able to achieve an HTPC capable of recording 3 HD TV streams while playing a fourth HD source on screen. I was only able to achieve this by using a WD Black drive for live TV buffer and recording. An eSATA RAID 0 array of Hitachi Deskstars did not cut it.
Pros: It is possible to record three shows over ethernet (from HDHomeRun PRIME) and watch a 1080i movie at the same time without any stuttering. However, see other thoughts on how I achieved this.
Cons: Realtek 8111E Ethernet controller. The Ethernet connection just cuts out at random times, maybe 2-3 times per week and can only be corrected by disconnecting the cable and reconnecting it. This is unacceptable when the PC is being used as an HTPC streaming and recording TV from an HDHomeRun PRIME...
Summary: I bought this to try to "save money" in an attempt to "not go overboard" like I usually would -- this is a good example of why I tend to (and ought to) go overboard. Due to the first two cons I listed above, I am having to upgrade to a different mobo and CPU after about a week of use.
Pros: -Small, Compact -Low Price, good deal for the right application -Detailed BIOS, easy-to-use -USB 3.0 and HDMI included
Cons: -No software (BIOS) RAID support -- this is kind of my fault for not checking on it from the start, but worth mentioning -Only has 4x SATA3 ports...which get used up quickly -- again my bad for not thinking it through all the way -Onboard CPU fan already starting to run louder after a week of use...
Summary: Looking into this problem, it seems several Asrock boards have this issue and have for some time. Having to drag out another monitor just to see the boot menu or BIOS is simply unacceptable.
Pros: Small, fast, quiet. 1080p video plays flawlessly.
Cons: Use HDMI to your HDTV? Good luck getting into the BIOS or boot menu. I have no idea what video resolution it uses for those screens, but my 60" Samsung can't display it over HDMI. You HAVE to use VGA or DVI to see those screens. Built several HPTCs on this TV, never seen this before. Newest BIOS ...
Pros: Nice, quiet, compact board. Running a sumsung 27" monitor in HDMI, 8Gb Kingston memory, Win 7 Home Premium 32 bit. Seems to function just like you would expect at 1.6Ghz.
Cons: I know I can't stop progress, but when the industry gave up on P/S2 and went to USB I didn't like it but WTH. Now, on some of the newer boards, such as this one, my Microsoft kb/mouse does not seem to work in the USB slots where you would normally put them. What's up with that?
Summary: Impossible to stream recorded tv over the network, processor will melt and start "china syndrome". My guess is it would work great as a stand alone server of any sort, with a very open case cooling would be manageable - maybe.
Pros: It is inexpensive
Cons: Its performance is abysmal, I purchased this for a MC machine. It is barely capable of pulling off the encoding job while recording. In most cases the CPU is running around 80% to run windows 7 64bit and WMC. I have trimmed 7 to get as much performance out of it as possible. Boot times are severe...
Summary: The board was physically easy to install but the provided drivers caused BSOD. Downloaded updated drivers from the internet and final installation was smooth from there. We purchased this to be a HTPC based on a recommendation that said it could easily handle 1080p streaming media.
Pros: Easy installation, small form factor, stable platform once set up, very quiet, 8 channel audio.
Cons: Included driver disk, processor power, ability to stream media.
Summary: I bought two of these and built them. I booted them up briefly about five times just to make sure they worked. I then put them on the shelf for a few months until I was ready to use them the other day. This time only one of them booted. The other has no boot up beep and no vga signal.
Summary: For under $200 you can build a great small system to learn Linux. Replacing the CPU fan will be a significant fraction of the cost of the board.
Pros: Inexpensive, good feature set, running Ubuntu 11.04 as a home server, file server, Minecraft, email and Security gateway for my security cameras. Works like a charm and no slowdowns or lag. I put 4GB of RAM in the system and use a WD 10K RPM Raptor drive along with a 1TB drive for storage.
Cons: As others have said in here before, the CPU fan is not good. I've had the system about a year and the fan is almost shot.