Small, inexpensive computers have become the new “In” thing with computer users. For most computer users the high-end desktop with up to four graphics cards, a 6-core Intel CPU and a X58 motherboard is overkill. In this day and age where the person plays casual games like Farmville on Facebook or Mafia Wars, surfs the Internet, works on Office and watches TV doesn’t need that kind of power.
A whole new class of computer has developed in the last two years called the Netbook and Nettop computers. These are designed to surf the Internet, and do normal computing duties utilizing low-power processors and costing less than the full-sized counterparts. In point of fact the number of these devices sold has nearly eclipsed some of the standard PCs sold by manufacturers.
The majority of Netbook or Nettop computers are based upon the Intel Atom processor and motherboard combination. NVIDIA builds motherboards with Atom CPUs soldered on a platform called ION. This offers higher performance in the graphics side of things than Intel’s solution and has been very successful with small system builders wanting a little more oomph in their products.
Sapphire has a history of making video cards based on AMD’s lineup of chips such as the HD 6970 and HD 6870 series video cards and has recently gotten into other products like motherboards, Power Supplies and other computer related equipment. Today, Sapphire is releasing something new, their first Mini-PC or Nettop the Edge HD Mini PC, and that is the product on the review bench and is based upon NVIDIA’s ION2 chipset.