Sapphire Edge-HD Mini PC review

£245
Price when reviewed

The humble nettop can only be improved in so many ways, with the Intel Atom processor and integrated graphics restricting it to basic tasks and media playback, so it’s natural that manufacturers have been looking to innovate elsewhere. Sapphire has decided miniaturisation is the way to go with its new Edge-HD.

It’s the firm’s first nettop, and is rather ambitiously touted as “the smallest PC in the world”. We’d argue that the Anders fit-PC 2 has a volume of 313cm[SUP]3[/SUP] to the Sapphire’s 558cm[SUP]3[/SUP], but the Edge-HD is certainly smaller than most and, at just 20mm wide, will be able to slip into the smallest of crevices. Note the need for an external power supply, though.

Despite the small size, the port selection is excellent. A pair of USB 2 sockets are hidden behind a flap on the front, and the rear serves up two more ports next to D-SUB and HDMI outputs as well as Gigabit Ethernet.

Sapphire Edge-HD Mini PC

It feels reasonably solid for such a small machine: the centre of the chassis is a bit flexible, but we’ve seen more expensive machines look and feel cheaper. It’s coated with a matte-black finish, and when the neat power buttons, minimal lines and ripple-effect base are factored in, you have one of the sleekest nettops around.

The Sapphire is powered by an Intel Atom D510, which used its pair of 1.66GHz cores to return a score of 0.40 in our application-based benchmarks. That’s what we’d expect from an Atom, although bear in mind that similar systems based on AMD’s Brazos platform should offer more juice when they appear – in our tests, the AMD E-350 was about 20% quicker.

Sapphire hasn’t settled for Intel’s integrated graphics, instead opting for Nvidia’s latest Ion chipset, which has 16 graphics processing cores and 512MB of DDR3 memory. While it won’t play top-level games – our Low quality Crysis benchmark crashed before it could finish – it’s powerful enough to handle 720p video playback smoothly, with only the most demanding sections of our 1080p test clips stuttering.

Warranty

Warranty 2 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 250GB
RAM capacity 2.00GB
Screen size N/A

Processor

CPU family Intel Atom
CPU nominal frequency 1.66GHz
CPU overclocked frequency N/A
Processor socket N/A
HSF (heatsink-fan) N/A

Motherboard

Motherboard N/A
Motherboard chipset Nvidia ION
Conventional PCI slots free 0
Conventional PCI slots total 0
PCI-E x16 slots free 0
PCI-E x16 slots total 0
PCI-E x8 slots free 0
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots free 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots free 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 0
Internal SATA connectors 1
Internal SAS connectors 0
Internal PATA connectors 0
Internal floppy connectors 0
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR2
Memory sockets free 0
Memory sockets total 2

Graphics card

Graphics card Nvidia ION
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? no
3D performance setting Low
Graphics chipset Nvidia ION
Graphics card RAM 512MB
DVI-I outputs 0
HDMI outputs 1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
DisplayPort outputs 0
Number of graphics cards 1

Hard disk

Capacity 250GB
Hard disk usable capacity 232GB
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Cache size 32MB
Hard disk 2 make and model N/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity N/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity N/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speed N/A
Hard disk 2 cache size N/A
Hard disk 3 make and model N/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacity N/A
Hard disk 4 make and model N/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacity N/A

Drives

Optical drive N/A
Optical disc technology N/A
Optical disk 2 make and model N/A
Optical disk 3 make and model N/A

Monitor

Monitor make and model N/A
Resolution screen horizontal N/A
Resolution screen vertical N/A
Resolution N/A x N/A
Pixel response time N/A
Contrast ratio N/A
Screen brightness N/A
DVI inputs N/A
HDMI inputs N/A
VGA inputs N/A
DisplayPort inputs N/A

Additional Peripherals

Speakers N/A
Speaker type N/A
Sound card N/A
Peripherals N/A

Case

Chassis N/A
Case format Small form factor
Dimensions 20 x 147 x 190mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supply N/A
Power supply rating N/A
Power supply efficiency N/A

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 4
PS/2 mouse port no
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Modem no
3.5mm audio jacks 2

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 2
Front panel memory card reader no

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboard N/A

Operating system and software

Recovery method N/A
Software supplied N/A

Noise and power

Idle/eco noise level N/A
Peak noise level N/A
Idle power consumption 22W
Peak power consumption 40W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score 0.40
Office application benchmark score 0.33
2D graphics application benchmark score 0.49
Encoding application benchmark score 0.35
Multitasking application benchmark score 0.45
3D performance (crysis) low settings 0fps
3D performance setting Low

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