Thanks to advances in processor technology, Mini-PCs are making a comeback. Intel’s Atom processors first introduced to us the concept of netbooks and nettops, very compact machines that are affordable yet powerful enough to do mainstream computing tasks such as web browsing and word processing. At least that was the idea. In practice, however, nettops and netbooks were severely underpowered and provided a less than satisfactory computing experience. The concept was good but the execution left much to be desired. Perhaps it's a case of the idea being too ahead of its time and that technology and software platforms still needed to do some catching up.
Fortunately, today’s processors are more powerful compared to processors of yesteryear. And taking advantage of this, Sapphire has introduced its new Edge VS8 Mini-PC. The Edge VS8 is super compact, measuring just 19.7cm by 18cm, and is just slightly more than 3cm thick. It also weighs just 660g.
Inside, you will find an AMD A8-4555M Trinity APU. This was launched just last September and is a quad-core CPU that runs at 1.6GHz. For those unfamiliar with AMD’s new Trinity APUs, we covered them extensively early last year and here are some links to check out - Trinity APU Notebook Performance Review, Trinity APU Desktop Performance Review. While AMD’s efforts have traditionally trailed Intel’s in terms of raw computational power, they usually have better graphics processing capabilities. In the case of the A8-4555M APU, its integrated GPU comes in the form of the Radeon HD 7600G, which has 384 stream processors. Additionally, the A8-4555M has a very low TDP of just 19W.
Apart from the AMD A8 APU, the Sapphire Edge VS8 also comes with 4GB DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM memory (2 x 2GB) and a 500GB notebook hard drive (2.5-inch) that spins at 5400rpm. That aside, the Edge VS8 features built-in Wi-Fi by way of a Wi-Fi card and also integrated Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity. However, note that the Sapphire Edge VS8 does not come with any OS installed.
In that sense, the Edge VS8 comes fully assembled, and thus only requires users to install an OS for their choice. The supplied driver CD comes with all the drivers one would need to run Windows 8, 7 or Vista. Additional drivers can be found on Sapphire’s website if users choose to run older an older Windows OS such as XP, 2000 or even 98.
Here's a quick roundup of the Edge VS8's key specifications: