Those crazy fools over at Sapphire have abandoned Intel and gone down the darkened alley that leads to AMD, but it’s turned out to be a wise decision - for a micro PC this is quite the gaming powerhouse.
It’s all thanks to AMD’s A8 accelerated processing unit combined with dedicated HD7600G graphics. While you won’t get Alienware X51-levels of performance here, you will be able to play the latest titles at decent frame rates if you drop the detail levels – and it’ll still look better than on Xbox 360 or PS3.
The VS8 is supplied without an operating system, so you’ll have to get your own and bung it on a USB stick. It’s good if you like Linux or want to dabble with the SteamOS Beta (this would make a great client for Steam In-Home Streaming, reviewed here), but if you want to have a complete trove of games to play locally you’ll have to shell out an extra £80 to get Windows 8.
We rather like its angular looks and matt finish, even if it does look like something a Terminator would carry his sandwiches around in. Getting decent gaming performance from such a tiny package makes us very, very happy. In fact, take the excellent price into consideration and this becomes just about the best mini PC you can currently buy.
Operating System - not supplied
CPU - AMD APU A8 1.6GHz Quad Core
GPU - AMD Radeon HD7600HG
RAM - 4GB DDR3
Storage - 500GB HDD
Optical drive - none
Connectivity - Mini displayport, HDMI, Gigabit LAN, USB 2.0 (x4), USB 3.0 (x2), optical, SD card
Dimensions - 198 x 32 x 183mm
Weight - 660g