Sapphire Edge HD2 MiniPC Review

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

Performance Evaluation

Performance Evalution

We tested performance of the Edge HD2 using SiSoft Sandra 2011, comparing the raw numbers the Atom D525 and ION 2 combination against the AMD E-350 APU.

Minor advantage to the AMD E-350 in the Arithmetic performance test, but marginal real world impact.

Intel's D525 stands out in the CPU multi-media test, vs. the E-350, an advantage that is immediately reversed when using .NET. The Radeon cores inside the E-350 significantly outperform NVIDIA's ION 2.

AES encryption on the CPU is much lower than on the GPU, for both systems. In both tests, CPU and GPU performance of the AMD E-350 is significantly greater than of the Intel Atom D525 and NVIDIA ION 2. The Radeon cores offer a 16.5% advantage over the ION 2, and the Bobcat x86 cores of E-350 are 22% faster than the Atom D525. The ION 2 is 2.5x faster than the D525, while the Radeon cores are 2.3x faster than the Bobcat cores of the E-350.

Moving to SHA256 encryption throughput, the ION 2 is 3x faster than the D525. AMD's HD 6310 is 5x faster than the Bobcat cores of the E-350, which has near identical performance to the Atom's CPU cores. The Radeon cores are 1.71x faster than the ION 2.

The memory bandwidth test produces a very low result for the ION 2, only just over 1GB/s thanks to the DDR2 chip used, along way off from the Radeon HD 6310. The Atom D525 scores close to AMD's E-350, with the difference down to the platform support - Intel DDR3-800, AMD DDR3-1066. Both the Atom and APU support only single channel - two sticks don't offer more bandwidth.

Usability Tests

Finally, we performed usability tests using Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 6, Windows Media Player and DiVX Plus Player on various different media files.

At 720p the Edge HD2 has no problems with any content, smooth and without jitter or judder for DVD, Blu-ray rips, Netflix and Hulu streams. Deinterlacing performance is good, and PureVideo HD hardware accelerates H.264, VC-1, WMV and MPEG-2 HD offer upscaling to 1080i.

At 1080p it all goes wrong for the Edge HD2 and stutters and judders are the order of the day, lots of CPU use and frames dropping everywhere. AMD's Brazos platform really shone here, handling the same content with ease and providing post processing options with more granular control than NVIDIA's Forceware drivers.

If you are considering either system for a Full HD media center, AMD's Brazos platform is a better choice although the best choice for performance is actually AMD's Lynx platform, using the A-series APU. That's a big jump in power, as well as performance.