Performance & Conclusion
We ran the same benchmarks and comparisons. Apart from PCMark 7, there’s was hardly any difference in performance between the old Edge VS8 and our new SSD-equipped Edge VS8 (using an Intel SSD 520 to be exact). This was disappointing because we had expected better scores on SYSmark 2012 as well.
Looking at the overall and breakdown of scores on PCMark 7, we can see that the Edge VS8 scored about 70% better and this was due to its significantly better score on the "System Storage" workload. Previously, the Edge VS8 managed just 1303 PCMarks on "System Storage", but with the SSD, it now scored 5045 PCMarks, just about on a par with the Intel NUC Mini-PC. Additionally, we can infer from the results here that the AMD A8-4555M APU is seriously handicapped and down on overall performance as compared to the Intel Core i3-3217U processor in the Intel NUC Mini-PC.
Unfortunately, replacing the mechanical hard disk with an SSD did not translate to much of a performance increase in terms of benchmarks results (save for PCMark 7). In terms of practical usage, the Edge VS8 did feel more responsive, but it's still evident that you are using a low powered system. Nevertheless, judging from our experience with the Edge VS8, we would definitely say that for a low-power Mini-PC system, an SSD is absolutely crucial in providing a pleasant user experience.
On the flip side, and as we have mentioned previously in the conclusion of our original review article, having an SSD raises the cost of the system substantially. A modest 128GB SSD would cost upwards from S$160, and assuming you got the barebones version of the Edge VS8 at S$579 and factoring the cost of both memory and OS, you are looking at a grand total in excess of S$900. All things considered, this is very pricey for a computer offering this level of performance. Among the tested mini systems from our experience, the only advantage the Sapphire Edge VS8 offers over the Intel NUC Mini-PC is that is has better connectivity options and is easier to source for components because it has an integrated wireless module and you don't need to hunt for mSATA storage. For overall usage experience and all-round performance of the completed system, our vote still goes to the Intel NUC Mini-PC.