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Thursday, 28 February 2013 22:01

Sapphire Edge VS8 Mini-PC reviewed - Windows installation and Bios

Written by Sanjin Rados

edge-vs8-thumbtop-value-2008-lr 

Review: Better performance

The bios is relatively advanced and it offers many options. The Advanced menu items allow you to change the memory clock, amount of the system memory that is allocated to the integrated graphics processor, but not to overclock the CPU, GPU or memory.

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bios-1

Through the GFX configuration menu we can control the amount of system memory that is allocated to the integrated processor. The options are 32M, 64M, 128M, 256M, 512M.

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The maximum memory clock is 1333MHz.

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S_Bios flash utility allows us to update bios from a USB drive.

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The system provides a Clear CMOS function, which may be helpful once the system is not working normally. The Clear CMOS button is placed at the top rear side above mini-DisplayPort as shown on the image below.

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You can use a small object such as a paperclip pushing into the hole and pressing the button hidden inside for at least five seconds. Once the system state is cleared, you need to set up the correct system state by loading BIOS default. Edge VS series user manual can be found on the driver CD and it describes hot to configure BIOS.

Windows instalation

Like we said, the Edge VS8 does not ship with Windows and FreeDOS is what you get preinstalled. This is perhaps the biggest shortcoming from a marketing perspective. Although the omission of Windows helps keep the overall cost down, we believe that quite a few potential consumers lack the knowhow or the will and time to set up their new PC. Tech savvy folk should have no trouble with it whatsoever, but the average consumer wants a PC that runs out of the box, with no tinkering.

The FreeDOS, which is basically like MS-DOS, but a bit better, which really isn’t saying much. FreeDOS can be very useful sometimes, but you can run only programs intended for MS-DOS or for FreeDOS. You can check software list here.

It is up to end users to choose an appropriate version of Windows or Linux to power the VS8. The quick installation guide is very short and it does not describe how to change boot device priority in order to boot from a pen drive or USB DVD drive in order to install a different operating system. The Edge VS series manual contains such information but you can find the manual only in digital format on the driver CD. You can press the <F7> key after pressing the power ON button to enter select boot device menu. The system will directly boot from the device configured in Boot Menu.

We opted for Windows 8 Pro 64-bit. If you do not want to buy a license for the operating system before you try it out, you can install a trial version of Windows first. A 90-days trial version of Windows 8 is available here.

A word of caution for XP lovers. The Edge VS8 ships with a Western Digital hard drive that uses Advanced Format Technology and if you're installing Win XP on this drive, you must download Western Digital's "WD Align" software, here, to format the drive prior to Win XP installation. Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 users can ignore this part and format the drive just like any other.

Since the system ships without an optical drive, you can install Windows from a bootable USB stick. The Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool comes in handy when you need to create a bootable USB stick from ISO file (you can find it here). Our bootable USB was recognized correctly after inserting it into USB 3.0.

All the drivers are supplied on a disc which is included in the box and the drivers are available online too.

(Page 4 of 11)
Last modified on Friday, 01 March 2013 05:40
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