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Sapphire Edge-HD Mini PC review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £248
inc VAT

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


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 For Windows 7 you’ll need to create an ISO from the DVD using a program such as ImgBurn (, then use the official Microsoft USB download tool from 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 640×480 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 ***
Processor Intel Atom D510
Processor external bus 166MHz (665MHz DMI)
Processor multiplier x10
Processor clock speed 1.66GHz
Processor socket Socket 559
Memory 2
Memory type DDR2
Maximum memory 2GB
Motherboard Pegatron IPPPV-DCG
Motherboard chipset Intel Atom


USB2 ports (front/rear) 2/2
Firewire ports (front/rear) 0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear) 0/0
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11n

Internal Expansion

Case mini PC
PCI slots (free) 0
PCI-E x1 slots (free) 0
PCI-E x16 slots (free) 0
Free Serial ATA ports 0
Free memory slots 0
Free 3.5in drive bays 0

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) Samsung HM251HI
Interface SATA II
Total storage capacity 250GB


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


Sound Nvidia HD Audio
Sound outputs stereo line out
Speakers none

Removable Drives

Supported memory cards none
Optical drive type(s) none


Screen model none
Native resolution N/A
Screen inputs N/A

Other Hardware

Keyboard N/A
Mouse N/A


Software included FreeDOS
Operating system none
Operating system restore option none

Buying Information

Warranty two years RTB
Price £248

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