Intel unveiled five new Compute Sticks with more USB ports and faster WiFi and CPUs, including Atom x5 and 6th Gen “Skylake” Core m3 and m5 chips.
With its relatively high, $89 (Linux) to $149 (Windows) price, middling Bay Trail processor, and one lonely USB port, the Intel Compute Stick was clearly in need of some improvements. At CES, Intel launched several second-gen versions that add more USB ports, faster 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi, and much faster processors.
Intel’s new Cherry Trail Atom (left) and SkyLake Core m3/m5 based Compute Sticks
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Like the Indiegogo funded, Snappy Ubuntu-ready MagicStick stick PC, the barebones Intel Compute Stick STK1A32SC and identical, Windows-equipped STK1AW32SC ($159), pack quad-core Atom x5-Z8300 SoCs of the latest 14nm Cherry Trail generation. Also new are a line of Intel Compute Sticks with 6th Generation Skylake Intel Core processors. The new models tap the most power efficient “Core m” models, also known as the Y-series. The barebones STK2MV64CC ($499) runs the higher end Core m5-6Y57 vPro, while the Windows-equipped STK2M3W64CC ($399) and identical, barebones STK2M364CC provide the Core m-6Y30.
The pricing on the Cherry Trail model is $10 higher than the previous Windows model, which sported a quad-core Intel Atom Z3735F Bay Trail SoC, and the Core-m models are four to five times that of most higher end stick PCs. Yet, the Core-m models also appear to be the fastest compute sticks on the market, and the prices include 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC.
Atom x5 based STK1A32SC Compute Stick details
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Note that Intel has yet to price the barebones Cherry Trail sticks or Core m3 based STK2M364CC. Instead of offering a separate, cheaper Linux SKU with reduced memory and storage, Intel has chosen to go with the barebones approach, leaving the specs of the Windows and barebones models identical.
All the sticks support Linux, but like the first generation, no Android support is mentioned, despite the fact that the Atom x5 is optimized for Android. Although the Core-m Y-Series chips all have TDPs of 4.5W — Intel has still yet to release TDPs for the Cherry Trails — power consumption is listed as 12W for all the new Compute Sticks.
Atom x5 based Compute Stick dimensions
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The Skylake and Cherry Trail devices have slightly different dimensions, with the Skylake models measuring 113 x 38 x 12mm dimensions, compared to 103mm for the Cherry Trail models, which appear to use the identical housings as the original sticks. All the models also continue to include tiny fans, to keep from being overheated.
The Atom x5 models have the same 2GB RAM and 32GB eMMC flash as the original Windows model (The old Linux models had half that.). Other continued features include the microSD slot, HDMI port, USB 2.0 port, and micro-USB power port. What’s new is the addition of a USB 3.0 port, as well as upgraded WiFi and Bluetooth.
Specifications listed for the barebones Intel Compute Stick STK1A32SC and Windows-equipped STK1AW32SC include:
The Core-m based models include the top of the line STK2MV64CC, which has the Intel Core m5. Like all of the initial Skylake CPUs, this is a dual-core model, but it’s super fast, with excellent graphics and 4K video support. Unlike the Core m3 models, it also provides Intel vPro technology.
The feature set is almost identical to that of the Cherry Trail models. However, you get twice the RAM and flash. The good news is that you get three USB 3.0 ports in addition to the micro-USB power port. The bad news is that two of those USB 3.0 ports are located on the power adapter. Some may find this to be a convenience, however.
Specifications listed for the Intel Compute Stick STK2MV64CC (Core m5, barebones), STK2M364CC (M3, barebones) and STK2M3W64CC (Core m3, Windows) include:
All the new Intel Compute Sticks will be available later this quarter. Pricing is $159 for Windows-equipped, Atom x5 based STK1AW32SC. The barebones, Core m5 based STK2MV64CC goes for $499, and the Windows-equipped, Core m3 based STK2M3W64CC goes for $399. There’s no pricing as of yet for the barebones, Atom x5 based STK1A32SC model or the barebones, Core m3 based STK2M364CC.
In addition to the product pages linked to above, more information may be found on this Intel Compute Stick promotion page, as well as this Intel Compute Stick overview pageand this Chip Shot blog post.