Sapphire was a quick trip with a few interesting things to show off. At the moment we are in a quiet period with AMD and NVIDIA graphics releases. While AMD has released a few of their mobile based 8000 series parts, we are still not expecting a major desktop refresh anytime soon. This is somewhat bittersweet for the graphics partners. On one hand they have more time to differentiate their products and create more value for their consumers. On the other hand there is no major push with new technology that will help the bottom line.
The company is not only involved with graphics, but has a long history of producing motherboards. They offer products for both AMD and Intel, but their primary focus is to address the APU market. FM2 is well fleshed out with Sapphire with A85X, A75, and A55 products. Sapphire does find it slightly easier to compete in the AMD market than going against the biggies in the larger and potentially more lucrative Intel market.
The area where they are hoping to experience the most growth in is the micro PC market. These are very small “desktop” style products based on mobile parts. These are robust little units which do not ship with an OS or the ability to build in an optical device. Due to Sapphire being such a strong AMD partner, they are primarily focusing on APUs in this market as well.
The Edge VS8 is the top product for Sapphire in this market. It is based on a mobile Trinity APU that is quad core enabled running at 1.6 GHz. The graphics portion is the 7600G, which looks to feature the entire complement of GCN units but obviously clocked down to save on power. The VS4 features Trinity but with a dual core processor running at 1.9 GHz.
The lower end Edge HD series is a slightly older unit, and the HD3 runs the last generation Llano processor. They also feature an Intel based HD4 that runs the Celeron 897 processor.
These PCs are shipped without operating systems and can also be bought in a barebones state. For example the VS8 comes standard with 4GB of memory and a 320 GB HD (spindle based). By buying a barebones version a user can easily stack as much memory as possible in the machine as well as use a SSD to give that much more performance.
Sapphire continues to offer their entire line of AMD based graphics cards and are really pushing their Vapor X technology. Which leads us to our next product. Sapphire will start introducing their CPU cooling designs to the market and will be using the Vapor-X technology. Vapor chamber cooling will be coming to the CPU market very soon and at competitive prices.
PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.
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