Sapphire Edge VS8 review

15 Jan 2013

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

Price when reviewed: 
400(£400 inc VAT)
Buy it now for 
3

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £333
Price inc VAT £400
Overall rating 3
Performance 2
Features & Design 3
Value for Money 3

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 500GB
RAM capacity 4.00GB

Processor

CPU family AMD
CPU nominal frequency 1.60GHz

Motherboard

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 0
Memory sockets total 2

Graphics card

Graphics card AMD Radeon HD 7600G
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? no
3D performance setting Low
Graphics chipset AMD Radeon HD 7600G
HDMI outputs 1
DisplayPort outputs 1
Number of graphics cards 1

Hard disk

Hard disk Western Digital Scorpie Blue
Capacity 500GB
Hard disk usable capacity 465GB
Internal disk interface SATA
Spindle speed 5,400RPM

Case

Case format Small form-factor
Dimensions 24 x 190 x 185mm (WDH)

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 4
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
3.5mm audio jacks 2

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 2
Front panel memory card reader yes

Operating system and software

OS family None

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 15W
Peak power consumption 34W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings 36fps
3D performance setting Low
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.43
Responsiveness score 0.57
Media score 0.44
Multitasking score 0.28

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