Sapphire Edge VS8 review
Sapphire’s tiny PC looks the part, but poor performance from the AMD APU and a high price leave it lagging behind the competition
There’s no shortage of small-form-factor PCs on the market, but while most utilise Intel hardware, the Sapphire Edge VS8 dares to be different. This tiny, slimline PC takes the plunge with one of AMD’s APUs, cramming a quad-core processor and Radeon graphics core inside a case only 24mm wide.
Sapphire has history when it comes to producing miniature PCs, and the Edge VS8 refines the blueprint set out by its Edge HD. The slender, 185mm-tall chassis looks smart thanks to its chamfered edges and moulded side panels, and is sheathed entirely in soft-touch, matte-black plastics. If we were to be really picky, though, there is some flex in the side panels – the plastic construction can’t hold a candle to Apple’s metal-clad Mac mini.
It’s well connected for such a tiny PC. Two USB 3 ports on the front are joined by four USB 2 sockets on the rear, and there are HDMI and mini-DisplayPort outputs. It has an optical S/PDIF socket and an SD card reader, and a single-band 802.11n wireless radio and Gigabit Ethernet port covers networking. Future upgrades are on the cards, too, as it only takes the removal of four screws to access the 2.5in hard disk and two RAM slots.
One of AMD’s mobile Trinity APUs, the A8-4555M, takes centre stage, and its four cores run at 1.6GHz with a Turbo Core peak of 2.4GHz. That’s a long way behind the 3.8GHz stock speed of AMD’s top-rated desktop APU, but the flip side is efficiency. With a TDP of only 19W, the Edge VS8’s APU promises to match modest performance with low power consumption, and it certainly delivers. In idle this PC consumes a miserly 15W and peaks at a moderate 34W.
Yet, despite its quad-core APU, the Sapphire’s application benchmark score of 0.43 is some way behind Intel-powered rivals. Even the mobile low-voltage Core i3 processor in the Intel NUC fares better, with its dual-core architecture reaching an overall score of 0.56 in our Real World Benchmarks. Compared to the quad-core Core i7 mobile processor in Apple’s Mac mini, the Sapphire falls far behind – with a score of 0.93, the Mac mini is more than twice as fast.
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Total hard disk capacity||500GB|
|CPU nominal frequency||1.60GHz|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Memory sockets free||0|
|Memory sockets total||2|
|Graphics card||AMD Radeon HD 7600G|
|Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?||no|
|3D performance setting||Low|
|Graphics chipset||AMD Radeon HD 7600G|
|Number of graphics cards||1|
|Hard disk||Western Digital Scorpie Blue|
|Hard disk usable capacity||465GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA|
|Case format||Small form-factor|
|Dimensions||24 x 190 x 185mm (WDH)|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||1|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|Front panel USB ports||2|
|Front panel memory card reader||yes|
Operating system and software
Noise and power
|Idle power consumption||15W|
|Peak power consumption||34W|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||36fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.43|