Sapphire Mini Edge HD4 preview: A tiny Celeron PC

It's what's inside that counts. While that statement may seem a bit deep for the introduction of a computer review, it's what comes to mind when you look at the Sapphire Mini Edge HD4. We've seen a number of iterations of this mini PC, but its design has largely remained the same in that time. We've tested it before with an Intel Atom processor and an AMD E series chip. The latest version, called HD4, is equipped with a more powerful Celeron 847.

Atom or Celeron, does it really matter? It does actually, there is a significant performance difference between the two entry-level Intel chips. The Celeron 847 doesn't sound like a very exciting processor, and it's not when you compare it to high-end quad-core processors. The Atom is at the bottom performance-wise.

The Celeron 847 is a stripped-down Sandy Bridge processor with two cores, 2 MB cache, a clock speed of 1.1 GHz and Intel HD Graphics. It's not a powerhouse by any means, but it's roughly twice as fast as the Intel Atom, so it can give a compact PC some reasonable performance.

You can see this in the Cinebench 10 benchmark for example. The original Sapphire Edge with an Intel Atom D510 inside scored 1604 points, the AMD E-450 in the Sapphire Mini Edge HD3 scored 1995 points, but the Celeron 847 managed to score 3464 points. That's significantly more than the previous models, but less than the Sapphire Edge VS8 with AMD quad-core A8-4555M that scored 5514 points. Intel HD Graphics provide basic performance, but in this department the AMD E-450 from the Edge HD3 is stronger than the Celeron in the new HD4.

The rest of the Sapphire Mini Edge HD4 can be described as a basic but complete computer. It has four USB ports, with one of the two on the front being the faster USB 3.0. Other connectors include gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, VGA and two audio ports. There's a single-band 150Mbit/s WiFi adapter, and the power supply is external. Onboard system memory consists of a single 4GB SO-DIMM module, and storage is provided by a Western Digital 320GB, 5400 rpm hard drive which is not a fast hard disk.

If you want to replace it with an SSD, be warned that it's not an easy feat to accomplish. You have to remove one panel, remove screws, remove the screws of the VGA port and then you can remove the other panel. The HD4 comes with a stand in which you can place it so it stands upright. You also get a 1.5 m HDMI cable and an HDMI to DVI adapter, along with a CD-ROM with all the drivers. Note that there's no OS installed. Read the rest of the review of the Sapphire Mini Edge HD4 here.