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Sapphire Edge VS8 review

Verdict

Sapphire’s tiny PC looks the part, but poor performance from the AMD APU and a high price leave it lagging behind the competition

Review Date: 15 Jan 2013

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: £333 (£400 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £353
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
3 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
2 stars out of 6

There’s no shortage of small-form-factor PCs on the market, but while most utilise Intel hardware, the Sapphire Edge VS8 dares to be different. This tiny, slimline PC takes the plunge with one of AMD’s APUs, cramming a quad-core processor and Radeon graphics core inside a case only 24mm wide.

Sapphire has history when it comes to producing miniature PCs, and the Edge VS8 refines the blueprint set out by its Edge HD. The slender, 185mm-tall chassis looks smart thanks to its chamfered edges and moulded side panels, and is sheathed entirely in soft-touch, matte-black plastics. If we were to be really picky, though, there is some flex in the side panels – the plastic construction can’t hold a candle to Apple’s metal-clad Mac mini.

Sapphire Edge VS8

It’s well connected for such a tiny PC. Two USB 3 ports on the front are joined by four USB 2 sockets on the rear, and there are HDMI and mini-DisplayPort outputs. It has an optical S/PDIF socket and an SD card reader, and a single-band 802.11n wireless radio and Gigabit Ethernet port covers networking. Future upgrades are on the cards, too, as it only takes the removal of four screws to access the 2.5in hard disk and two RAM slots.

One of AMD’s mobile Trinity APUs, the A8-4555M, takes centre stage, and its four cores run at 1.6GHz with a Turbo Core peak of 2.4GHz. That’s a long way behind the 3.8GHz stock speed of AMD’s top-rated desktop APU, but the flip side is efficiency. With a TDP of only 19W, the Edge VS8’s APU promises to match modest performance with low power consumption, and it certainly delivers. In idle this PC consumes a miserly 15W and peaks at a moderate 34W.

Sapphire Edge VS8

Yet, despite its quad-core APU, the Sapphire’s application benchmark score of 0.43 is some way behind Intel-powered rivals. Even the mobile low-voltage Core i3 processor in the Intel NUC fares better, with its dual-core architecture reaching an overall score of 0.56 in our Real World Benchmarks. Compared to the quad-core Core i7 mobile processor in Apple’s Mac mini, the Sapphire falls far behind – with a score of 0.93, the Mac mini is more than twice as fast.

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User comments

This would make a decent thin client.

By james016 on 15 Jan 2013

This would make a decent thin client.

By james016 on 15 Jan 2013

Thin indeed

My first thoughts exactly these are basically re-purposed thin client boxes.

By Gindylow on 15 Jan 2013

I take it they want you to stand it on your desk to admire the styling. I would prefer to vesa mount it behind a monitor but that doesn't look possible with the sculpted side panels

By mr_chips on 16 Jan 2013

Mac Mini comparison

Given the Mac mini costs almost 2.5x as much as this, it only being twice as fast makers the Mac somewhat disappointing. Also the graphics potential of this SFF PC are superior by using the APU.

By skarlock on 17 Jan 2013

Just saying...

The i7 Mac Mini is listed at £679 which is LESS than twice the price of this, and the performance comparison is MORE than 2x as fast. So in fact, it's more than twice as fast, and less than twice the price, which nullifies your comment somewhat.

By Chris_K on 19 Jan 2013

Oops. They refer to the 2.6GHz i7 - which is £759. Still less than 2x price though... phew!

By Chris_K on 19 Jan 2013

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