Advertisement
Advertisement

Sapphire Edge-HD Mini PC review

Chris Finnamore
17 Mar 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
248
inc VAT

Tiny, silent and with reasonable performance, but Zotac's Zbox is better value.

Advertisement

Specifications

1.66GHz Intel Atom D510, 2GB RAM, N/A display

Sapphire touts the Edge-HD as 'The smallest PC in the world'. It's certainly tiny - about the same size as a slim paperback or a box of after-dinner mints. We liked the rubberised finish and clean lines - a flap on the front hides two USB ports so as not to spoil the look.

The rear of the PC has another couple of USB ports, HDMI and VGA graphics outputs, gigabit Ethernet and headphone and microphone ports. There's also built-in 802.11n wireless networking, so you can add a keyboard and mouse and TV tuner and have one or two USB ports to spare.

Sapphire Edge-HD Mini PC ports

The Edge-HD has a 250GB hard disk, and for some reason has FreeDOS preinstalled. This leads to a great retro moment when you first boot it up and are confronted by a Windows '98 copyright notice and C: prompt. Most people will want to install a more current operating system - for this you'll need to plug in a USB optical drive or install Windows or Linux from a flash drive. You can install Ubuntu to a USB stick by downloading an ISO disc image and following the instructions at www.ubuntu.com. For Windows 7 you'll need to create an ISO from the DVD using a program such as ImgBurn (www.imgburn.com), then use the official Microsoft USB download tool from http://bit.ly/gLwYiI. You may need to change settings in the BIOS to boot from a flash drive (see FAQ).

Installing Windows 7 is easy, as the PC comes with a flash drive containing all the necessary drivers. All the Edge-HD's hardware works under Ubuntu apart from the wireless card - although you can download the RTL8191SU card's drivers from Realtek's website, they need compiling and our resident Linux user had no luck getting them to work.

This is a shame, as Ubuntu runs quickly on the Edge-HD's Atom dual-core D510 processor. Windows 7 runs generally well with occasional slowdowns, but it's fine for web browsing and simple Office tasks. A score of 27 in our benchmarks is not a patch on most desktop PCs or even laptops, but it's still quicker than most netbooks, which tend to score around 20.

Sapphire Edge-HD Mini PC front

Its Nvidia ION 2 graphics help the Edge-HD play back smooth 1080p blu-ray video as well as HD video clips from YouTube, but we had to lower the resolution in Call of Duty 4 to a laughable 640x480 and turn off all visual effects to get a smooth 30.2fps frame rate. Unlike Zotac's Zbox (see What's New, Shopper 278) the Edge-HD doesn't have a VESA mounting bracket, so you can't screw it to the back of your TV or monitor.

Sapphire's Edge-HD is compact, good-looking and silent, and makes a great simple desktop PC. However, Zotac's Zbox barebones system may be larger, but has a faster processor, a card reader, an optical S/PDIF output and a VESA mount for your monitor or TV, and is around £210 once you've added 2GB RAM and a 250GB hard disk.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Atom D510
Processor external bus166MHz (665MHz DMI)
Processor multiplierx10
Processor clock speed1.66GHz
Processor socketSocket 559
Memory2
Memory typeDDR2
Maximum memory2GB
MotherboardPegatron IPPPV-DCG
Motherboard chipsetIntel Atom

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/2
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n

Internal Expansion

Casemini PC
PCI slots (free)0
PCI-E x1 slots (free)0
PCI-E x16 slots (free)0
Free Serial ATA ports0
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays0

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Samsung HM251HI
InterfaceSATA II
Total storage capacity250GB

Graphics

Graphics card(s)512MB Nvidia Ion 2
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI

Sound

SoundNvidia HD Audio
Sound outputsstereo line out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive type(s)none

Display

Screen modelnone
Native resolutionN/A
Screen inputsN/A

Other Hardware

KeyboardN/A
MouseN/A

Software

Software includedFreeDOS
Operating systemnone
Operating system restore optionnone

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years RTB
Price£248
Supplierhttp://www.pixmania.co.uk
Detailswww.sapphiretech.com

Read more

Reviews