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Sapphire Edge Mini PC Review

Indybird    -   February 14, 2011
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Conclusion:

I truly believe that Sapphire has found a sweet spot for media PCs.  The Edge Mini PC really impressed me with its design, performance and feature set.  For all of my life, computers have been getting smaller and smaller; but all of that didn't prepare me for the Edge.  An enclosure the size of a paperback book containing a more-than-capable media PC was somewhat alien to me.  Despite its tiny proportions, the design really catches your eye.  Sleek curves and the wavy stand ensure it will fit in with any entertainment center. Connectivity, however, was sort of a mixed-bag. Though you're supplied with four USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and built in Wireless-N, the lack of a camera card reader was quite surprising.

We are all aware that the Atom D510 is no speed-demon when it comes to processors and while this was fairly evident in the synthetic benchmarks, the real world tests showed more than adequate performance.  However, where the Sapphire Edge really shines is with its ION2 GPU.  If the application supports GPU acceleration, or better yet NVIDIA CUDA, then the Edge tears through it with minimal CPU overhead.  This means that multitasking during Full HD playback is possible without compromising either task.  In the overall performance, the Edge proved to be slightly faster than its system builder cousin, the ASUS ION board, and overall fast enough to handle most media tasks.  Where the Sapphire Edge Mini PC has absolutely no competition, is in its power consumption, temperature and noise. During full CPU and GPU load, the Mini PC maxed out at only 29 Watts (About ten times less than a typical desktop PC). Thirty eight degrees Celcius on the CPU, and with only the faintest whirring sound from the fan.  

Though not specifically touted as such, the Edge Mini PC was made to be a media center PC.  The compact size allows it to fit in any home theater setup. The HDMI and integrated wireless makes it easy to connect and the ION platform delivers top media performance without heat and heavy power usage.  The only con I can see is that there is no integrated media card reader, and though that's a fairly important feature in a media PC, it doesn't make or break it.  At the expected $300 price tag, the Sapphire Edge Mini PC is a no-brainer purchase for anyone looking for an easy-to-setup, compact home theater PC.

 

Pros:

  • Well Priced 
  • Extremely Compact
  • Full HD Output via HDMI
  • Smooth HD Playback
  • Ultra Low Power
  • Relatively Low Heat
  • Nearly Silent
  • Integrated Wireless N Adapter

 

Cons:

  • No Card Reader


 

OCC Gold



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (Continued)
  3. Closer Look (BIOS)
  4. Specifications & Features
  5. Testing: Setup
  6. Testing: iTunes, Winzip, VLC
  7. Testing: Apophysis, Geekbench, Bibble 5, PCMark Vantage
  8. Testing: SiSoft Sandra 2010
  9. Testing: Sciencemark, Cinebench, HDTune
  10. Extras: Power Consumption & Temperatures
  11. Conclusion
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