The original Compute Stick which plugged into the HDMI port on your TV or monitor and offered to provide a full-fledged computing experience, did not do as well as the should have. This was partly because they were little more than a proof of concept.
Intel’s second crack at the Compute Stick is a little better. In the shops from February, Intel has three new base model Compute Sticks to choose from. The first is an entry-level option running a quad-core Atom x5-z8400 quad-core processor clocked at 1.44GHz to 2.24GHz. It also features 2GB of RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage, a pair of USB ports (one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0), 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Windows 10.
A second USB port allows users to plug in both a USB mouse and keyboard rather than having to go the wireless route. Intel has upgraded the Wi-Fi. It will set you back $159 which makes the entry-level model underwhelming.
But the Core M models are a lot more interesting. They are sporting a 6th Generation Skylake Intel Core m models. The higher end has a Core m5-6Y57 vPro processor while the lower end version is equipped with a Core m3-6Y30.
They both have 4GB of DDR3-1866 RAM, 64GB of eMMC storage expandable via microSD card slot, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and three USB 3.0 ports (one on the Compute Stick and two on the power adapter).
All three new Compute Sticks can hardware decode HEVC/H.265 video and the Core M3 and M5 models can manage 4K processing.
Without an OS, the Core m3 model costs $300; Windows 10 adds $100 to the price tag. The Core m5 Compute Stick will sell for $500 and, at least for now, doesn’t appear to offer a version with Windows 10 pre-installed.