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back to article Sapphire Edge HD

Looking more like a router than a PC, Sapphire’s Edge-HD makes the recently-reviewed Zino HD 410 from Dell look positively huge. Sapphire rather hesitantly states that it “believes” the Edge-HD to be the smallest PC in the world. Whether or not it’s a world-beater is therefore up for debate, but with dimensions of 193 x 148 x …

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VESA screws

Does it have VESA screw holes on the back so it can be attached to the back of a monitor?

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Not the smallest...

The Fit-PC2 is HALF the volume of this machine at 313cm^3. This thing is 628cm^3, so how can it claim to be anything like the smallest PC?

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Yup

I owned one of those - quite slow, but certainly small - fact they said "believe" makes me think the marketing folks are fully aware of the Fit-PC but were guessing only a few poeple would know about it.

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Pint

I give you...

http://blog.toradex.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/xiilun-intel_atom-e6xx-by-toradex1.pdf

Beer because, well, beer.

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Unhappy

Suddenly spots tumbleweed

Blimey, old, old, old.

Beers gone stale.

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Bronze badge

That's a small computer!

I bought a novel that was larger yesterday.

One way to get the desk space back.

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Have a look at this little baby...

http://www.maplin.co.uk/foxconn-netbox-nt330i-ultra-small-form-factor-pc-with-dvd-rw-503558

Only a few m squared bigger, but this also has an optical drive. I have one, run XBMC on it and it's great!

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Anonymous Coward

We bought one of these from Maplin...

Nice little machine - runs Ubuntu well, and serves as a "backup" PC for use by our daughter, or if someone else is on the "main" computer.

Haven't managed to get it to display via HDMI on our TV (apparently, many TVs have non-standard ways of sending info back down the HDMI cable to the computer, which Ubuntu doesn't like with the NVidia Ion drivers), but the NT330i works nicely with a "normal" monitor, so we're content for now. (One day, I'll try XBMC Live with it, though :-) )

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Linux

Almost forgot one of the NT330i's main attractions...

...no OS installed, so I could bung Linux on it :-)

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No cut for Redmond

This alone is enough to make me interested in buying this. You're right about the price though.

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No card reader

No problem for the corporate market it's aimed at?

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FAIL

MSI Wind without the LCD

It's basically an MSI wind laptop, with the LCD removed. And 50 quid added to the price.

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No its not.

No its not.

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Think thin client

This is quite competitive in terms of spec compared to most thin clients. However for that world the power draw is actually quite big. An average Via or AMD thin client consumes 8-15W in idle, not 20.

In any case, it definitely has some appeal for a DIY thin client install (half the price of a lower spec HP) and higher spec as well.

Temptation, temptation...

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Note the "corporate" effect

If this thing is pitched mostly for companies then a *minimal* OS makes perfect sense.

This sounds likes a buy in bulk, set up a standard disk image and copy to all of them deal.

*if* they were going for the home market then convenience becomes key and a *properly* configured Linux or Windows whatever (which should be offered as a higher priced option) would be the way to go.

I suspect the limited installed OS and the ease it can be replaced *may* make it a bit of an undiscovered bargain for the techie willing to dig a bit.

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Only 4 USB ports?

What a joke, on a PC that has no other way of adding hardware. These tiny PCs are great as Media centres since they are quiet, low power and capable of h.264 at 1080p but only 4 USB ports is going to hold you back. Once you've added 1 or 2 TV tuners, an IR receiver, a DVD or bluray drive, dongle for wireless mouse and keyboard, you've run out of ports and need to start adding a USB hub.

There's also no optical output for 5.1, I know all modern gear is using HDMI to receive the audio but there are still plenty of people with old amps that don't really need replacing but need optical or coax for sound.

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Anonymous Coward

Adding a hub is trivial

And will hold you back for about 5 minutes. But I see your point about no optical output making it less attractive for a media centre.

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But why

Surely once you've added all those bits you've lost the benefit of the small unit - you might as well go for a larger unit that can house it all in less footspace than having everything USB'd into it - such as the Dell unit repeatedly mentioned in the article.

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Nice looking

Is it USB 3? Article does not seem to say. A big plus is that it is not encumbered with Windows, which would have just been too bloated for an efficiency demanding device such as this.

If it was for the frame drops (shouldn't happen at this price), this could make a good front-end when loaded with Myth, XBMC or simialr.

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Coat

leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

"The fact Sapphire hasn’t bothered to preinstal a fully-functional OS also leaves a bad taste in the mouth."

Will Stapley here is your coat! now gedoudda here!

Not screwing the customer with windows tax is exactly what some of us want! I already have more copies of windows than PC's (due to dead boxes).

I for one welcome this refreshing change.

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Read carefully

That was in reference to Ubuntu not working, not Windows. He meant have a fully-configured and working free OS, whether it's Ubuntu, Fedora, whatever.

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@AC

"Not screwing the customer with windows tax is exactly what some of us want"

The suggestion wasn't for Windows to be pre-installed, rather *any* OS was installed. In fact I think the hint was to have a Linux install - especially as this way they might have caught the no-audio-over-HDMI-with-Linux problem and gone some way to help address it.

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FAIL

*any* OS

and FreeDos is a what?

Go on say it with me: Free Disk Operating System.

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Anonymous Coward

Ubuntu, Fedora, whatever.

Why not install them all and fill the bootloader selection screen.... No, fuck it! leave it blank I'll do it my way. I don't see why one person failing with one OS makes it a bad taste for everyone. I'd much rather have completely blank drive than have the risk of a preconfigured system with bloatware.

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re: *any* OS

"and FreeDos is a what? Go on say it with me: Free Disk Operating System"

Feel free to try and patronise all you like. But FreeDos is hardly what you could call a "fully functional" OS. If you think it is, I've got a C64 sitting in the loft that you might be interested in.

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Anonymous Coward

re: re: *any* OS

Got a C64 thanks, Its still much more reliable than the numerous dead intel derrivatives in my loft...

OK I'll give you 'fully' functional, but I still prefer to install my own OS. Saying that I've never had a machine come with a *nix OS installed, so prehaps I'm not fully qualified to comment.

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Linux

Aim at foot and then fire.

> That was in reference to Ubuntu not working, not Windows.

That's nonsense. Ubuntu and Nvidia works quite well with strange HDTV monitors.

Perhaps someone is willfully avoiding the proprietary driver. As someone that has used a number of these ION systems, that's the only way I can imagine the GPU not playing nice with the TV.

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Re: any OS

FreeDos is mainly a bootstrap loader for bare metal industrial control software. It would probably be an ideal computer for operating a CNC machine or similar, if you can find the relevant USB adapters for things like a parallel or serial port and get them to work.

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Stop

Wrong

I have an older 50" Plasma TV that has a DVI input for HD connection, that connects with my Sky HD box just fine at 1080i (or 720p? not checked!) via HDMI-DVI. When I connect my HTPC to it via HDMI (with a HDMI-DVI converter) I can NOT get it to work. Works fine via VGA. I have to start arsing about with editing xorg.conf to try to get it to work. This is with *buntu, using the nVidia drivers.

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No Audio over HDMI..

I've heard something along these lines on other machines when running Linux - IIRC, some of these issues were solved with changes in the BIOS, or and upgraded BIOS. Can't specifcally comment in this though as don't have one.

Why it works in Windows though - that's odd.

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Linux

Ubuntu runs without proprietary drivers .e.g. NVIDIA ION drivers!

A new install of Ubuntu will run with proprietary drivers disabled. All I had to do was enable the NVIDIA ION driver, restart and sound through the HDMI cable was there!

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Linux

HDMI Audio on Linux

HDMI Audio on Linux is driven by the driver version level. Oddly enough, this is much like how it would be under Windows. The ION1 gear should be fine with whatever the current version of Ubuntu comes with. ION2 may require an upgrade to a newer version of the audio drivers (namely ALSA).

Once your driver version is sorted out, you just need to let the system know what audio output you want to use.

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Typical...

...a week after I buy an SFF pc from Novatech with Win 7 (because that's what it came with) I see what I was actually looking for.

Bugger.

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HDMI sound

Did you go to sound preferences in Ubuntu and select the HDMI as sound output device.

Bit annoying to have to do it, but that's how I have to do it on my laptop.

Does look tempting.

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This point is for me the value of a vertically-integrated product

When I plug in my new media center/computer/internet access, and something like sound doesn't work, it is worth money to me to be able to call ONE vendor and get help.

When hardware and software and OS come from three different vendors, all you'll get is fingerpointing.

And that's why (sorry), I still happily pay extra for an Apple. If someone else were to compete with them designing hardware, software, and OS with equal effort and testing them together, I'd consider that company too. But life is too short to waste on incompatibility scavenger hunts.

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HDMI audio

The nVidia ION 2 is what handles the HDMI audio, and it's a bit of a pain in the arse - although I'd assume the tweaks required for other ION2 machines (I've got the Shuttle XS35GT) would work. I had to:

a) set the audio output to use "plughw:1,7" rather than the default. Check http://forum.xbmc.org/archive/index.php/t-89111.html or search for setup guides for XBMC on the XS35GT.

b) boot with the HDMI receiver (my TV) plugged in directly. For some reason running this through a Cat5 HDMI extender wouldn't work.

Works a treat.

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NIce unit ..but oh dear....

...they put the VGA socket for the heaviest cable at the top.

MIght cause a problem for some. Rather have that at the bottom.

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Anonymous Coward

Would have been half interesting if...

This was an AMD fusion box.

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(possibly) the world’s smallest PC., nope that would probably be the toradex

"(possibly) the world’s smallest PC."

nope that would probably be the toradex Tegra2 computer on SO-DIMM form factor for 99 EUR / 139 US plus the daughter board to put it in and bring the connectors out OC

http://www.toradex.com/

see

http://armdevices.net/2011/03/04/toradex-shows-tegra2-computer-on-so-dimm-form-factor/

1.5 minutes in to see a small version

oc you also have the http://www.webservusb.com/ but that needs a larger motherboard of some kind to run it so i discount it.

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FAIL

Sound over HDMI

Is a known problem with Ubuntu on some systems. I had the exact same issue with my Acer Revo and about 2 mins of Googling had it sorted.

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1332261

Really, as a tech writer, I would have expected you to at least TRY this...!

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