ASRock ION 330 NetTop - Closer Look in the NetTop

Article Index
ASRock ION 330 NetTop
Features and Specifications
Closer Look in the NetTop
Installation, Setup and Info.
Subsystem Tests and More
Benchmarking Continued...
HD Video and Final Thoughts

Closer Look:

The one thing that sets the ASRock 330 ION NetTop apart from other low-powered Atom machines is that it includes a DVDRW drive that supports Dual-Layer reading as well as writing.  This gives greater flexibility to the box and makes it easier to install software - other than what you download.  Opening the box is very simple and requires the removal of two screws on the back, but when you slide open the cover, the optical drive hides all of the interesting stuff.

Cover Off
Cover Off

 

The image above gives you an idea of the small size of this box.  It is not all that much bigger that a slim optical drive for a laptop.

{mosgoogle{}

Once the cover is out of the way, you can get a closer look inside at the mini-ITX motherboard that supports up to 4GB of regular DDR2-800 memory.  Because of the "thicker" format of this box over the Eee Box, ASRock can use regular DDR2 DIMMs - not SODIMM memory that other companies use.  It's also this larger form factor that enables them to include an optical drive.


Inside - No Drives
Inside - No Drives

 

With the drives removed you can get a much better view of the little motherboard.  Inside are two heat sinks.  The small one with the fan is for the Atom processor, while the larger passive heat sink is for the NVIDIA ION GPU / Chipset.  Under load, these report to get quite warm, but I've had no stability issues even after stress testing this system for days on end at 100% load.  Although the cooling is a little cramped, the rear exhaust fan is positioned in such a way that it pulls warm air off the ION chipset and out the enclosure.

 Stack Of Drives
Stack of Drives

 

The drives were easily removed from the little case merely by removing two screws, the cables and sliding the drives back out of place.  ASRock set their NetTop ION 330 up with a Philips/LiteOn DS-8A3S DVDRW drive as well as a Seagate Momentus 2.5" 5400.6 320GB drive so that you have lots of storage.  Having a fast 5400.6 drive under the hood certainly helps the overall performance of the unit.

On the next page we'll proceed with the setup of the ION 330 as well as a little overclocking and testing information.