While full-sized desktop computers are still around, tablets and smartphones have proven that technology has come far enough to essentially cram a fully capable computer into a space that is suitable for your pants pocket, a purse, or a small backpack. This idea of shrinking hardware hasn?t been overlooked by manufacturers as several now feature space-saving designs based on mobile hardware.
Such is the case with Sapphire?s new Edge VS8 mini-PC powered by AMD?s A8 APU. The system is hardly any larger than an external optical drive, measuring 19.7 x 18.2 x 3.1 cms. Net weight for the mini PC is just 660g.
The Edge VS8 ships with AMD?s quad-core A8-4555M clocked at 1.6GHz, 4GB of DDR3 1600Mhz memory, AMD Radeon HD 7600G graphics and a 500GB 2.5-inch SATA hard drive. The Edge VS8 comes with built-in support for Bluetooth 3.0 as well as 802.11 b/g/n wireless and a bevy of rear I/O connections. Our review unit had Windows 8.1 installed but Sapphire also configures these systems with Windows 8 if you so choose.
Included in the retail package is the computer itself, an HDMI cable, an HDMI to DVI adapter, a power cord and 65W power adapter, chassis stand, driver disc with quick installation guide, an optical SPDIF cable and a VESA mount. Sapphire also included a Cross pen and carrying case as an extra incentive.
The system doesn?t ship with any extra amenities like speakers, a keyboard, mouse or a monitor so note that you?ll have to include those when budgeting for the system or simply reuse gear you may already own.
Sapphire Edge VS8 -
- AMD A8 1.6GHz Quad Core APU
- AMD Radeon HD 7600G graphics
- 4GB DDR3 1600Mhz So-DIMM
- 500 GB SATA 2.5-inch Hard Drive
- 1 x Mini Display Port, 1 x HDMI, Gigabit Lan, 4 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0 Port, SD Card Reader
- 1 x Audio-in, 1 x Line-out, 1 x Optical SPDIF
- 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0
- 11.5 x 4.25 x 10 inches, 1.3 pounds
Aesthetically, the VS8 looks more like a cable modem or router than a full-fledged computer. The chassis is coated in a smooth black rubber material with a set of activity LEDs, a microSD card slot and a pair of USB 3.0 ports gracing the front bezel ? the latter of which are hidden behind a removable access panel that you?ll need to pry open from the bottom.
The system?s power button is located on the left side of the unit and could be hard to miss as it blends in with the swooping design of the cooling vents near the top. The Sapphire nameplate is positioned prominently on the left panel in a vertical orientation.
On the reverse we find, from top to bottom: a pin-hole reset button, Mini DisplayPort connector, HDMI port, four USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet jack, DC-in connector, audio jack, optical SPDIF and a locking slot. There are three Philips screws on the back panel which we presume would grant access to the interior but aside from swapping the hard drive for a SSD or replacing the memory, there?s not much you can do in the way of upgrades.