Advertisement

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Advertisement

Sapphire Edge HD2 review

Kat Orphanides
11 Sep 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
355
inc VAT

It's a stylish and compact nettop, but Windows 7 Ultimate just makes it too expensive

Advertisement

Specifications

1.8GHz Intel Atom D525, 2GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit

There's not much to choose between all the tiny and power-efficient nettops on the market, but Sapphire's Edge-HD2 is smaller and much better-looking than most. We weren't blown away by its predecessor, the Sapphire Edge-HD Mini PC largely because of its fairly high price and lack of an installed operating system. The HD2, however, has a quicker processor and comes pre-installed with Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit.

It's a little more powerful than the original Edge-HD, with a 1.8GHz instead of 1.66GHz dual-core Intel Atom D525 processor, but it's still no powerhouse. It could only run our benchmarks at 16% the speed of our reference Intel Core i5-2500K - but if you need serious power, you shouldn't be considering a nettop. What it can do is browse the web with multiple tabs open, run casual games with moderate system requirements, such as Popcap's Plants vs. Zombies, and play Full HD 1080p video. We can't compare its power to the previous Edge-HD as that was tested with the old version of our benchmarks, but the Edge-HD2 does feel snappier in general use.

Sapphire Edge HD2 front ports

To help with this, the little PC has a 512MB Nvidia Ion graphics processor, which has both VGA and an HDMI port, so is easy to connect to most monitors and home cinema kit. The system comes with a VESA mount to make it easy to attach to the back of a display - perfect if you want a media centre PC that takes up no table space at all. The Edge-HD2 is certainly one of the best-looking nettops we've ever reviewed, thanks to its smooth curves and matt finish, so if you don't want to clamp it to the back of a TV or monitor it won't look out of place next to your AV kit. It makes some noise under load, though, so you may want to shut it in a hi-fi cabinet. The PC comes with an HDMI cable and an HDMI to DVI converter, so you won't need to go out and buy anything else to connect it to your TV or monitor.

Sapphire Edge HD2 rear ports

The Edge-HD2 has two USB ports behind a neat cover at the front and another two at the back. If you use a wireless mouse and keyboard set to control the PC, that leaves three spare ports for a TV tuner, a USB DVD drive or an external audio device. Alongside the front USB ports are two 3.5mm stereo ports for headphone and mic connections, and you can also use the HDMI connection to send surround-sound audio to a TV or AV amp. There's a Gigabit Ethernet port and 2.4GHz 802.11n wireless, which should be quick enough to stream HD content, depending how far you are from your router. As Windows 7 is installed, you can jump straight in and start using Windows Media Center to play your content.

The main problem is price. The original Sapphire Edge-HD was never the cheapest nettop around, but the HD2 is over £100 more. Considering Windows 7 Ultimate is £170, the PC and OS combination seems relatively good value, but Windows 7 Ultimate is overkill for most people. If you're after a small PC to connect to your TV you're better off buying the Edge-HD and adding a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium for £320, or the Zotac Zbox HD-ID40-U nettop and Windows 7 Home Premium for £260.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Atom D525
Processor external bus200MHz (2.5GT/s DMI)
Processor multiplierx9
Processor clock speed1.8GHz
Processor socketIntel FCBGA559
Memory2
Memory typePC3-10666
Maximum memory3GB
MotherboardPegatron IPPPV-DG3
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

Casenettop
PCI-E x1 slots (free)N/A
PCI-E x16 slots (free)N/A
Free Serial ATA ports0
Free memory slots0

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Samsung HM321HI
InterfaceSATA2
Total storage capacity320GB

Graphics

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

Sound

SoundRealtek HD Audio
Sound outputs3.5mm stereo line out, 3.5mm mic in
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive type(s)none

Display

Screen modelN/A
Native resolutionN/A
Screen inputsN/A

Other Hardware

Keyboardnone
Mousenone

Software

Software includeddriver CD
Operating systemWindows 7 Ultimate 32-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore disc

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£355
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.sapphiretech.com

Read more

Reviews