Sapphire Edge HD2 MiniPC Review

Product: Sapphire Edge HD2
Company: Sapphire
Author: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: September 8th, 2011

Edge HD2 Unboxed

Sapphire's Edge HD2 comes well packaged, nicely protected in a foam cutout with a foam cover. Under the base unit are the assorted accessories and multi-lingual manual. Included in the box you get a HDMI cable, HDMI to DVI adapter, vertical stand mount, and VESA mount.

The Edge HD2 is small, measuring 193x148x22mm (LWH) and weighing 530grams, or about 1lb 3oz. Sapphire estimate its power consumption at around 30W, fully loaded. There are three ways to get data onto this device, via USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet or Wifi 802.11 b/g/n networks.

The front pair of USB 2.0 ports are covered by a rubber hinged plastic cover which neatly hides them away when not in use. The ports are space apart enough that only the largest of devices will not allow concurrently use, like the Kingston DataTraveller Ultimate DT series sticks.

The included foot stand allows the Edge HD2 to (appropriately) stand up on edge, at a rakish angle. The foot is broad, and made of thick plastic that doesn't feel flimsy. Retained by a single large thumbscrew, the foot is snug and secure and not easily toppled by vibrations.

The VESA mount allows the PC to be mounted on the back of a compatible (100mm x 100mm) display, to create your own all-in-one type environment. The Edge HD2 drops in to the mount, and is not secured other than two small pegs which locate into notches on the end of one edge.

Our review sample Edge HD2 included Intel's Atom D525 processor, which features two in-order x86 cores at 1.8GHz and supports hyper-threading, as well as 64-bit and SSE2/SSE3. The D525 supports up to 4GB of RAM, either DDR2-667 or DDR3-800 (SO-DIMM) and Sapphire has equipped our review sample with a single 2GB DDR3-800 module. The box indicates there are several storage, CPU and memory options, ranging from the Intel Atom D510 (1.66Ghz) option to 1GB or 2GB memory options, as well as four Hard Drive options from 160GB to 500Gb sizes, but the Sapphire website indicates only one configuration is actually shipping. The drive in our system is a Hitachi 320GB, a 2.5" mobile drive not known for its performance.

The NVIDIA ION 2 chipset features 512MB of dedicated DDR2 RAM, supports DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 3.1 and has an integrated High Definition Audio processor for HDMI audio output. Power is courtesy of a 65W AC adapter, and you're given a HDMI cable and DVI to HDMI adapter, too. The Edge HD2 comes preloaded with Windows 7 Ultimate, with the hard disk segmented into four partitions - a recovery partition (hidden), OEM backup image (hidden), a Windows install partition, and data partition which is preloaded with the device's drivers.

Cracking open the case requires tweasing apart the two sides, which we found impossible to do without ruining the finish, so we desisted in our efforts. The preinstalled Windows 7 Ultimate OS is overkill; Windows 7 Home Premium would suffice as the missing features are unlikely to be used by the target audience. The only features present in Ultimate not present in Home Premium that might be of use are all largely enterprise and business focused (Bitlocker, Boot from VHD, Location aware printing, VDI, and RDP host) although XP mode and EFS could be useful if it weren't for the slow hard drive and weak processor.