Sapphire Edge HD2 Mini PC

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Posted by on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 8:00am

Sapphire Edge HD Mini PCSapphire's Edge HD2 Mini PC is packed with all the features for daily computing like a 1.8GHz dual core Atom processor (with Hyper Threading), 2GB DDR3 memory, Wi-Fi and support for 1080 video viewing through HDMI. The Edge HD2 looks to be not only the smallest PC but the ideal candidate for a companion to your big screen television. 

Introduction to the Sapphire Edge HD2 Mini PC

The current trend in today’s world of computers seems to be "the smaller, the better". I see it every day as many people are looking for more compact computers. Whether if it is to save space, not requiring a tremendous amount of computing power or simply wanting to keep the electrical bill down, the fact remains that people just want things smaller. Many companies are seeing this and abiding by people’s wishes.

We have seen many great motherboards come through out labs in the past few years in the Mini-ITX category, many of which overclocked like the big boys. The most logical reason for the purchase of an ITX-sized motherboard is because it offers everything one would like in a motherboard. with out the extra power draw and bulk. Yes, there is a lack of expansion slots, but we can’t complain as the board would already have Wi-Fi, LAN, audio and several video ports. One slot needed would be an x16 length PCIe for the upgradability of a more powerful GPU.

However, building an ITX system can be a slight pain as you are naturally working within a tighter space. It gets no tighter than this though, as Sapphire has graced us with the smallest PC in the world. This is Sapphire’s second attempt as such a system, the first being a huge success but lacked a few necessities one would need in a PC system today.

Sapphire's Edge HD2 Mini PC is packed with all the features for daily computing like a 1.8GHz dual core Atom processor (with Hyper Threading), 2GB DDR3 memory, Wi-Fi and support for 1080 video viewing through HDMI. The Edge HD2 looks to be not only the smallest PC but the ideal candidate for a companion to your big screen television. 

Sapphire’s take on the Edge HD2 Mini PC

SAPPHIRE EDGE-HD2 is a fully featured PC for home, education or business use. Specifications include a second generation 1.8GHz dual core processor, 2GB of DDR3 memory, a 320GB hard drive and built in wireless connectivity as well as high speed LAN port and four USB ports. It provides high resolution graphics output with a full HD (1920x1080) HDMI interface (with an HDMI cable and HDMI-DVI adapter also supplied) as well as a VGA monitor output and it has built-in audio with MIC-in and line-out sockets.


Specifications

 
CPU

Intel® Atom™ D525 1.8GHz (Dual-Core w/ 1024KB CPU Cache)

Memory

2048MB DDR3-800 So-DIMM

Storage

320GB SATA 2.5'' Hard Drive

Graphics

512MB NVIDIA® ION™ 2

LAN

10/100/1000 Mbps Built-in Ethernet

Wireless

802.11b/g/n Built-in Wireless Network

I/O

1x VGA(D-sub) Port
1x HDMI Port
1x RJ-45 Gigabit LAN
4x USB 2.0 Port
1x Audio-in
1x Line-out

Power

65W AC 100~240V 50/60Hz, 19v~3.42A

Dimensions

19.3 x 14.8 x 2.2cm (L / W / H)

Weight

530g (net weight)

Operating System

Windows® 7 Ultimate

Accessories

1x HDMI cable
1x HDMI to DVI adapter
1x Quick Install guide (QIG)
1x Chassis Stand
1x Power cord
1x Power Adapter
1x VESA Mount (100mm x 100mm)
CD Driver

 

Closer look

Sapphire managed to cram a lot of goodies in the little frame of the Edge HD2. If you were to stand the small tower upright it would barely reach 7.5 inches, and weighing in at just over a pound with everything pre-installed.

Just what is inside the Edge HD2? Well, how is this for starters: an Intel Atom D525 (dual core) 1.8GHz processor, a Samsung 320GB SATA II hard drive, Realtek RTL8191SU built-in Wi-Fi, 2GB of DDR3 memory and NVIDIA ION2 graphics. Such a system should be plenty for the steaming of video, some causal gaming, web browsing and definitely office work.

The entire PC is about the size of a small paperback book and made of black rubber and plastic. The unit is designed to be able to stand upright with the aid of a small black pedestal or laid on its side.

The rear of the system has all the plugs for your wired connectivity. There is a single VGA and HDMI video plugs, Realtek 10/100/1000 LAN, dual USB ports, AC/DC plug, with 3.5mm MIC and headset jacks to complete the list.

The top of the PC has only a single button for power, doubling as a power LED as well. Just below the power button, but not a button itself, is the HDD activity light.

Sitting on the edge of the Edge are two more USB 2.0 ports which covertly reside behind a flexible rubber door.


Accessories

Not only do you get the smallest mass-produced PC system, but you get all the accessories needed. In order to connect to your video output device they've generously included an HDMI cable, along with an HDMI-to-DVI adapter in case your monitor is not equipped with HDMI or VGA inputs.

There is also the power cord and power adapter.

Lastly, there is a VESA mount for individuals that wish to attach the system to the back of a monitor or TV, and the pedestal for standing it upright.


Testing

The testing of the Edge HD2 consisted of connecting it to a larger screen television and watching a few movies. Without an optical drive or external USB to use, we had ripped the movies onto the Edge's hard drive and watched them from there. Also, running the movies off an external USB optical drive would have put an extra load on the system, which we wanted to eliminate during testing. As we figured it was all about the Edge and not the optical drive or USB CPU utilization.


At idle.


Resources used while playing back of a high-def movie.


Conclusion

Many will love the Sapphire Edge HD2 Mini PC for its size, many will love it for its power saving, we love it for its load of features. Built-in HDMI, Wi-Fi and Windows 7 Ultimate are just the tip of the iceberg with this tiny box. One may think it would only be a good system for someone not looking for much in a PC. On the contrary, by connecting it to a big screen television or purchasing a lot of them for an office environment proves this is not a one dimensional little box.

Our Edge HD2 sample came with Windows 7 Ultimate pre-installed, but Sapphire does offer it with Free DOS only as well, giving the buyer options on what O/S they want to use. Considering the Ultimate version of Windows 7 is perhaps not the most ideal package for those in an office environment.

There aren’t too many things the Edge Mini PC is missing but if we had to think of another feature for the unit it would have to be Bluetooth. This would be great for the many wireless keyboards and mice out there, but also for a wireless headphone and mic for VoIP use.

The Sapphire Edge HD2 Mini PC has an MRSP of $399 for the Windows-based unit. We found several mini PCs on the web that were price quite a bit cheaper than the HD2, but most of them were barebones units that required a few key components to complete like memory and a power supply, and also not including Windows. In the end we felt the Edge was reasonably priced for it's performance and included accessories.

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