Sapphire Edge-HD Mini PC
As multimedia technologies and uses become more prolific and part of our daily lives, consumers are looking for products that fill more than one role. Historically, small motherboards with integrated chips and graphics have typically been, well, garbage. They were geared to consumers that had small expectations and a small budget. Technological progress being what it is, things are now at the point that small form setups can accomplish a wide range of tasks and give consumers a healthy dose of value for their money at the same time.
The Sapphire Edge-HD is one such product that seeks to be more to the mainstream consumer, both in the terms of physical design but also in versatility. It is designed in an extremely compact layout and takes up a positively miniscule footprint.
In terms of performance, the Edge-HD can’t run with the big dogs but it’s not intended (nor priced) to do that. What it does, it does very well though. The integrated chips are quite robust, able to perform typical HTPC tasks with no noticeable lag or stutter. The combination of low power and low noise is a potent combination for a smallform setup, and the Edge-HD mini PC certainly has each of those in spades. For anyone looking to own a basic home computer on a very modest budget, this may be the perfect little setup.
There are only a couple real downsides here. The first is the is obviously the CPU; it’s not designed for impressive computing power. It’s designed for good all-around use for essential tasks: email, browsing, streaming video, music, movies. Boot up and access times are on the slow side, particularly if trying to accomplish any sort of multitasking. Couple this with 2GB of memory, and you can forget about running several programs simultaneously.
The second downside is indicative of wishful thinking on our part. We were really hoping to see USB 3.0 connectivity here rather than just USB 2.0. Having USB 3.0 included would make for an utterly killer package, even with a modest price increase, since an external USB 3.0 docking station/enclosure could be used for high-speed, high-capacity storage. The USB 2.0 does severely hamper that, but it does keep the cost down, so we can’t really complain too much.
The Sapphire Edge-HD is intended to launch for around $300 USD, which is a fantastic price for a setup that comes with surprisingly good features in such a diminutive package. The Edge-HD would make for a perfect little inexpensive system, capable of all the basics: email, browsing, music, video, and home theater.
Packed into a extremely small and sleek box that runs silent and barely draws any power, the Sapphire Edge-HD mini PC is an impressive product and should be considered by anyone looking for a value-oriented all-in-one system.