Sapphire Edge VS8 review

£400
Price when reviewed

It makes for a system that often feels sluggish in everyday use. The Sapphire’s slow 5,400rpm hard disk causes applications to open more slowly than rival SSD-based systems, while scores of 0.27 and 0.2 in our video and 3D-rendering tests illustrate the lack of raw processing power available for more demanding applications.

Driver issues meant we couldn’t get the 32-bit version of Crysis to run, but running our Low quality benchmark in 64-bit mode saw the Sapphire achieve an average frame rate of 36fps. That proves there’s power enough to tackle modern games at drastically reduced quality settings, or play 1080p video, and here it beats the HD Graphics 4000 core in Intel’s NUC, which scored 28fps in the same test.

Sapphire Edge VS8

It isn’t all good news, though. While the Sapphire was almost silent under light usage, its fan ramped up noisily during our gaming tests. It’s easily drowned out with speakers, but it’s one of the loudest small-form-factor PCs we’ve tested.

The Sapphire is found wanting in one other respect: it’s supplied without an operating system. You’ll have to fork out around £70 for Windows 8 unless you’re willing to run Linux, and the added cost pushes the VS8’s price ever closer to more capable rivals. With Apple’s cheapest Mac mini retailing at £499 inc VAT, and a fully built Intel NUC coming in at around £400, the Edge VS8 falls well short in the value for money stakes.

Sapphire’s Edge VS8 is great in theory: we love the idea of an APU-based small-form-factor machine that’s capable in both applications and games. Alas, the mobile, low-power chip inside Sapphire’s Edge VS8 simply doesn’t pass muster. With several fine alternatives on the market, and Apple’s entry-level Mac mini supplying a far more refined package for not much more cash, we’d give this small-form-factor PC a miss.

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 500GB
RAM capacity 4.00GB

Processor

CPU family AMD
CPU nominal frequency 1.60GHz

Motherboard

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 0
Memory sockets total 2

Graphics card

Graphics card AMD Radeon HD 7600G
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? no
3D performance setting Low
Graphics chipset AMD Radeon HD 7600G
HDMI outputs 1
DisplayPort outputs 1
Number of graphics cards 1

Hard disk

Hard disk Western Digital Scorpie Blue
Capacity 500GB
Hard disk usable capacity 465GB
Internal disk interface SATA
Spindle speed 5,400RPM

Case

Case format Small form-factor
Dimensions 24 x 190 x 185mm (WDH)

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 4
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
3.5mm audio jacks 2

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 2
Front panel memory card reader yes

Operating system and software

OS family None

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 15W
Peak power consumption 34W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings 36fps
3D performance setting Low
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.43
Responsiveness score 0.57
Media score 0.44
Multitasking score 0.28

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