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Sapphire Edge VS8 review

Katharine Byrne
7 Feb 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
320
inc VAT

This mini PC has a versatile selection of ports, but its sluggish performance will be a turn off for many

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Specifications

1.6GHz AMD A8-4555M, 4GB RAM, N/A display

The Sapphire Edge VS8's futuristic rubber chassis may not be quite as sleek and attractive as other mini PCs we've seen, but it's still a svelte number, measuring just 31x197x182mm. From the side, it's almost the same size as an iPad Mini, but as its uneven wedge-shaped case doesn’t lie flat you'll need to use the included stand or attach it to the back of a TV or monitor with the included VESA mount.

Sapphire Edge VS8

Its small stand won't take up much room on your desk, but the VS8 isn't particularly user-friendly when you first turn it on, as you'll need to install your own operating system; the PC has FreeDOS installed, which is near-useless for most people. We don’t really know why Sapphire didn’t just install some flavour of Linux. The PC works with both Windows 7 and Windows 8, but unless you already have a product key or Windows license, this will take the PC's final cost up to nearly £400; expensive compared to mini PC bargains such as the Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190.

This wouldn't be a big problem if the VS8 had the raw processing performance to match its price, but the AMD components inside were quite sluggish in our multimedia benchmarks. Its quad-core 1.6GHz AMD A8-4555M APU and 4GB of RAM led to a score of just 26 overall, putting it four points behind the cheaper Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190. It particularly struggled with the multi-tasking and video-encoding sections of our test, so it's ill-suited to anything but the most basic computing tasks such as web surfing and word processing.

There's not much scope to upgrade the VS8's components, either, as its chassis is quite tricky to open. There is a barebones model of the VS8, which is available ready-unscrewed with the screws in the box, so your life will be easier if you go the build-your-own route. There are two SO-DIMM laptop memory slots and a SATA connector for a 2.5in hard disk or SSD.

Sapphire Edge VS8

We've seen impressive performance from the graphics built into AMD's processors in the past, but we weren't that impressed with the VS8's AMD Radeon HD 7600G graphics chipset. This performed only marginally better than the Intel-based mini PCs we've seen with Intel HD Graphics 4000 chipsets. It was only just able to produce 16.3fps in our Dirt Showdown test with High quality, 4x anti-aliasing and a 1,280x720 resolution. We managed to increase this to a steadier 24.8fps by turning the detail down to Low and disabling the anti-aliasing, but this is still too jerky to be comfortably playable.

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