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Sapphire Edge HD3 Mini PC review

Kat Orphanides
15 May 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
284
inc VAT

It’s good for a mini-PC, but it’s underpowered by any other standard; worth buying if you’re really struggling for space

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Specifications

1.65GHz AMD E-450, 4GB RAM, N/A display

The HD3 is the successor to the Sapphire Edge HD2, a mini computer that we awarded three stars to last year.

It’s a sleek-looking mini-PC that’s powered by an AMD E-450 processor. It doesn't come with an operating system, but that makes it a good option for open-source software enthusiasts. It doesn't have a built-in optical disc drive either, so you must use an external drive or install your operating system using a USB drive.

We opted for the latter option, but this didn't resolve the issue of the PC's hardware drivers, which are supplied on a disc in the box instead of a USB stick, which would’ve been much more convenient.

Our attempt to install Windows 7 left us without drivers for the USB3 ports, the Wi-Fi chipset or the Gigabit Ethernet LAN chipset. In other words, it lacks any means of getting the PC online to download the drivers.

Sapphire Edge HD3 Mini PC front

The front USB3 ports are handy, but Windows 7 doesn't support them natively, so you'll need to install the provided drivers.

You can work round this by using an external DVD drive, using a natively supported wireless dongle to get online or by using another computer to copy the drivers from the disc to a USB drive, but it's still a fair bit of hassle. We'd have preferred to have at least one networking component installed that Windows 7 natively recognises.

However, once we'd got everything set up (and downloaded the graphics drivers for the E-450's on-chip AMD Radeon HD 6320 using a handy auto-detection tool on AMD's website) the PC ran Windows 7 smoothly and without a hitch.

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