Sapphire Edge VS8 (SSD) - Upgraded and Revisited

Introduction & Installation

A Flash Boost

Earlier in our review of the Sapphire Edge VS8, we noted that while the Sapphire Edge VS8 was compact, provided a wealth of connectivity options and would make a good HTPC, but it was woefully lacking in performance.

Obviously its AMD A8-4555M Trinity APU was never going to win any performance stakes, but its weak processor wasn’t helped by its lackadaisical 5400rpm mechanical hard disk. This made the Edge VS8 felt sluggish and slow, even if it could run general and HTPC computing tasks such as web browsing and watching full HD videos without a hitch.

Out of curiosity, we decided to upgrade the Sapphire Edge VS8 with a new SSD to see how the Edge VS8 will perform, both in terms of benchmarks and also practical usage. But first, we would need to remove the existing mechanical hard disk in the Edge VS8 and replace it with an SSD and here’s how you do it.



Upgrading the Sapphire Edge VS8’s hard disk was a straightforward but cumbersome affair. We say that because while it is apparent what needs to be done is to swap the storage drive, actual execution proved to be tricky because of some design quirks of the Edge VS8, as we will soon see.

To access the internals, one needs to remove four screws on the rear I/O panel of the system. Thereafter, simply remove the cover. A point to note is that a fair bit of force is required to pry open the cover. Once the cover is off, proceed to remove the old mechanical hard disk and replace it with an SSD. This part is cumbersome, and here’s why:

As you can see, the hard disk takes up bulk of the space. The processor is top-right under the blower-style cooler. Just south of the processor is the memory. If you buy the barebones edition of the system, you'll have to install your own storage and memory - none will be supplied.

Removing the hard disk proved to be quite troublesome since you cannot just unscrew the drive from the cage (silver screw), you need to remove the entire hard disk cage (black screw).

This is because on the opposite side, the screw securing the drive to the cage is inaccessible because of the heatsink. Therefore, one needs to remove the entire cage by removing the highlighted black screws before the drive can be freed. As you can see, the silver screw securing the drive to the hard disk cage is unreachable. Incidentally, because of the position of the heatsink, re-securing the drive cage proved to be challenging too. We highly recommend the use of magnetic screwdrivers in this endeavor.

Once you have removed the old hard disk, simply replace it with your new SSD and retrace the steps. To add, the hard drive cage accommodates both 7mm and 9mm SSDs. We highly recommend using a magnetic screwdriver for this job because the heatsink really gets the in the way of things.

The Good
Good connectivity options
Six USB ports (2 x USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0)
Compact and slim design
Integrated WiFi & Bluetooth
The Bad
Slow mechanical hard disk
Less than expected performance
Expensive considering no OS provided