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Sapphire unveils Intel-powered Edge-HD mini PC

Perhaps the biggest theme among the various hardware manufacturers present at CeBIT this year was diversification - and nowhere was this more obvious than at the Sapphire stand, where a mini-PC is in the works.

The Sapphire Edge-HD is a surprising product for two reasons: one, it comes from a company that has traditionally been associated with AMD-powered graphics cards; and two, it includes graphics technology from AMD's arch-rival Nvidia.

"We wanted to develop it using AMD's Fusion platform," Sapphire's Bill Donnelly told us during a product briefing session, "but AMD couldn't get us the parts fast enough."

Instead, the company has turned to a tried-and-tested platform from AMD's rivals, Intel and Nvidia, pairing an Atom D510 1.66GHz dual-core CPU with Nvidia's Ion 2 graphics platform.

This gives the Sapphire Edge-HD enough grunt to output full-HD video over the included VGA or HDMI ports or over DVI via an included adapter - an impressive feat from such a svelte device. Coupled with a gigabit Ethernet connection, integrated 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and four USB 2.0 ports, Sapphire has created something of a mini-marvel.

Interestingly, Sapphire has made the decision not to bundle an operating system with the Edge-HD. While FreeDOS will be included purely to allow the device to boot, users will be expected to supply their own copy of Windows - although an included USB memory stick does feature all the drivers required to get the system up and running, which is a nice touch.

The Saphire Edge-HD is expected to launch imminently for around $300, with UK pricing yet to be confirmed.