You get a full license for Windows 10 Home and a PC that’s ready to go out of the box—just add … A little short on memory, and if you put expansion ports on it (like ethernet), the expansion ports end up being bigger than the compute stick itself. The Azulle Quantum Access LAN Windows 10 Fanless Mini PC Stick($99.00 at Amazon) is notable because it's the only stick PC that includes an Ethernet port, but most users should do fine with (mostly) wireless connectivity. Combined with a good living room keyboard and mouse, you can browse the web from your couch with a full fidelity browser capable of running all the plug-ins you need to say, stream NILF Island from your favorite off-shore, black-market web site. The Chrome browser was not available on Ubuntu. Joel is proof that you can escape the retail grind: he wore a yellow polo shirt early in his tech career. You just plug in the Compute Stick to an open HDMI port, plug in the power and plug in your combo mouse and keyboard.Â. So how useful is a computer you can swing around on a lanyard? Windows 8.1 is technically "free" on tablets with screens under 8 inches, but there's no screen on the Compute Stick. Don't expect to use any old wall wart, though: I tried an Apple iPhone charger as a power source and was greeted with reboots. Giving up the hardware though, will save you $40, as it's expected to sell for $110. The internal fan does work pretty hard to keep it cool - no … Equipped with lots of expansion and connectivity options, including three USB 3.0 ports. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product or service, we may be paid a fee by that merchant. 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Inspire Fanless Barebone. What I'm not clear on is the portability usage. Daniel Rubino. Rather than dual-channel mode, the Atom Z3735F runs in single-channel, which means memory bandwidth gets the short stick. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi handle wireless communications. He is responsible for overseeing PC Labs testing, as well as formulating new test methodologies for the PC Hardware team. It was a clean sweep from the PCMark 8 Work Conventional test (1,981 points) to the Photoshop CS6 test (8 minutes, 3 seconds). The Intel Compute Stick, powered by a Skylake-based Core m3-6Y30 processor, elevates the tiny thumbstick-sized platform to true mini PC territory. It's essentially fine for basic computing tasks, with some patience. Does it give up a lot to get into a case the size of a fat USB stick? Depending on your needs that's not much to play with. CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON. Most stick PCs share dimensions within a few fractions of an inch, but this Compute Stick is a bit more compact than the Asus Chromebit or VivoStick, or systems based on the original 2015 Compute Stick($349.99 at Amazon) like the Azulle Quantum Access LAN Windows 10 Fanless Mini PC Stick and the Lenovo Ideacentre Stick 300($699.00 at Amazon). A generic two-watt unit did fine, though.Â. The Compute Stick has the same quad-core 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3735F processor as the Hannspree Micro PC, and its performance isn’t up to much. As a complement to a TV or to make an old monitor "smart," I get it and at $150 with the OS, it's a deal. The included USB-C cable carries both power and the signals from the USB 3.0 ports to the Compute Stick. Because it only has one USB 2.0 port, you'll have to choose between a mouse or keyboard until you can pair more items—and you'll need to use a keyboard to get things started. I'm not going to get hung up on the performance of Intel's Compute Stick, and neither should you. Of greater concern should be just what you can really accomplish with the Compute Stick. As such, it's our new Editors' Choice for stick PCs, replacing the inaugural version of the Compute Stick. In the unlikely event that the stick would block an adjacent port, you can use the included HDMI extension cable to connect it. Intel Compute Stick (2016, Cherry Trail) For $159, the Intel Compute Stick is a pretty good deal. Running 3DMark's Ice Storm Unlimited, I saw the Compute Stick about 25 percent slower than a typical Atom Z3745 tablet. One of founding fathers of hardcore tech reporting, Gordon has been covering PCs and components since 1998. Quiet in operation. That said, it's incredible having three USB 3.0 ports, since it means you can connect a mouse and a keyboard, and still have a port free for an external drive. The Bad The tablet-grade performance isn't suitable … © 1996-2020 Ziff Davis, LLC. Keep an eye on your inbox! Yes, you will need a combo mouse and keyboard initially. Compared with what we saw on the Atom-powered Compute Stick, 3D results were good, but still tepid: only 13 frames per second (fps) on the Heaven test and 15fps on the Valley test (both at medium quality). Maybe that'll come to me but for now, the Compute Stick finds a good home on my TV. You can run a real browser, install plugins, and stream 1080p video from any source. You can run Office just fine, and even Photoshop in a pinch. As a truly portable computing device you'll take everywhere with you, well, I'm not quite sure it works. Intel helps ameliorate this using DDR3/1333, though. Paired with a good keyboard and mouse (I recommend Logitech's K400 or K830 for a living room experience) you can turn your average dumb TV into the class valedictorian. Besides the Intel and ASUS brand, there … The Intel Compute Stick comes with 32-bit … Ever thought that a stick PC that functions as a full desktop when you plug it into a TV is a good idea, but that the Intel Atom processor really is too low-powered for your needs? He’s built countless DIY systems, including a deconstructed “desktop” PC nailed to a wall and a DIY laptop. Where the Compute Stick loses most ground to its contemporaries is in graphics performance. The Intel Compute Card inserted into the Dock ‍ Several weeks of testing brought us to several conclusions: ‍ The Compute Card itself, with its dimensions of 55x95x5 mm, is an incredible piece of tech – it’s just as strong in terms of computing power as the Stick … Intel gives you a typical 2-amp wall wart with a USB port on it. Overall power consumption is superb: The Compute Stick normally consumed half an amp in use and only rarely spikes up to 1.5 amps. So yeah, we're looking at a world of difference in browsing performance, at least, between the Rasberry Pi and the Compute Stick. Will need to bring keyboard and mouse to use. In terms of design, the Intel Compute Stick looks about as simple and plain (read: boring) as its name suggests. You still need a mouse and keyboard to use the Compute Stick and with a single USB port, you're forced to pick between the two. Intel Compute Stick review Intel put an entire PC on a stick, but do you really want a computer this limited? Very light, compact design. This Compute Stick has 4GB of memory and 64GB of eMMC flash storage. I attributed this to the memory bandwidth on the unit. That one packs a quad-core Atom Z3735F, 2GB of DDR3/1333 memory and 32GB of eMMC storage, plus integrated 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0. It's literally a complete mini PC, powered by micro USB. I measured it at 167MB/s reads and 73MB/s writes in sequential file access using Crystal Disk Mark. The good news is that at least it seems fairly fast for a low-cost eMMC. The extra memory helps when multitasking: I was able to open multiple browser tabs and run several programs simultaneously without any noticeable slowdowns. You also get 64-bit Windows 10, which allows the Core m3 model to run 64-bit programs, like some of our multimedia benchmark tests. In addition, there's an added pair of USB 3.0 ports embedded in the much larger power adapter. A Linux version running Ubuntu cuts main memory down to 1GB and sees storage fall all the way back to 8GB. The Core m3–equipped Intel Compute Stick fulfills all the requirements you'd want for a PC that does real work—in other words, it's capable of doing more than simple Web browsing and media playback. What you just read is more than enough about the Compute Stick's raw performance. Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Last week we got to check out a sample unit up close and personal. USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. It's a plastic, rectangular black stick that's simply boring. Our Editors' Choice for small-form-factor desktops, the Asus VivoMini($399.00 at Amazon), is faster on most benchmark tests, thanks to a faster Core i5 processor, but it costs $120 more and is physically much larger. Three-year warranty. PCMag.com is a leading authority on technology, delivering Labs-based, independent reviews of the latest products and services. Joel cut his tech teeth on the Atari 2600, TRS-80, and the Mac Plus. Windows 10. The Compute Stick itself comes in two flavors. Since it doesn't seem like the $40 difference can be attributed just to RAM and eMMC, I asked Intel if the cost of an OS was a factor. The Compute Stick is a niche product – one that will have fans and detractors. Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. You'll see the difference when you first plug it in. 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