There's something rather special about this HTPC that sets it apart from the pack — the AMD 3870K APU. This CPU/GPU hybrid offers respectable computing performance, but it's the casual gaming audience that will enjoy it most. Thanks to the Radeon graphics cores tucked away under the hood of this APU, it's easily the best of our HTPCs for gamers. Able to run today's DirectX11 games with decent levels of eye candy, it's the only HTPC we tested that is ready for gaming without needing a graphics card. If you're really serious about your games, we still recommend spending a little extra for a dedicated graphics card, and there's plenty of room inside for one.
That's because Scorptech has gone to amazing lengths to keep the interior of this HTPC nice and tidy. It's one of the best efforts we’ve ever seen at hiding the myriad wires and cables usually found inside a PC case. This can make things a little tricky when you need to swap something around, but it also delivers impeccable airflow. It's no surprise that the case is extremely quiet during operation, and the PC is further aided in its quest for silence with a quiet Western Digital hard drive.
While we love the AMD APU's gaming performance, it's not quite as adept at transcoding performance in many applications, as evidenced in our CPU-centric x264 HD benchmark and Cinebench benchmark. However, AMD is pushing for more applications to make the most of the entire APU, rather than just the CPU, and they’re starting to see excellent results in software packages, such as Handbrake and CyberLink MediaEspresso 6.5. As more developers start to harness the full power of the APU, expect transcoding performance to improve in leaps and bounds.
x264 HD benchmark
- 19ASUS EeeBox
- 88ODE AMD Home Media Center
- 109Scorptec Mantis (AMD)
- 159Enspire Digital AVR-500
- 159Scorptech Mantis (Intel)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)