The Compute Stick from Intel is something we were talking about around this time last year. Who knew it would turn out to be one of the most popular PCs from the Consumer Electronics Show. It’s gotta be one of the tiniest PCs we’ve ever seen. And when I say “PC”, I mean it’s a PC (the thing runs Windows). Basically a USB that transformed your living room into a computer monitor, the Compute Stick, being the first-gen product that it was, definitely needed a few improvements to “be all it could be”. Actually, once this thing got into the hands of consumers, it bombed pretty bad. Naturally, Intel made those improvements, and officially launched the next-generation Compute Stick at CES. There are three new variants of the device, all hoped to fix the areas that were most criticized- including spotty Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and poor processing power.
So what’s different about this year’s Compute Stick from Intel? Considering the last version was nearly useless, any change is considered good here. First and foremost, the new Compute Sticks, although they maintain the same basic design (but with a softer, curvier casing), are based on 6th Generation Intel Core M, and the latest quad-core Intel Atom processors, says Intel. The entry-level variant includes Intel Atoms x5-Z8300 chip, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, one USB 2.0, and one USB 3.0. The other two options sport either the Core M3-6Y0, or the M5-6Y57 6th gen chip, with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, two USB 2.0s, and one USB 3.0. You’ll notice a big upgrade in the wireless feature (Intel’s last stick only used the Realtek solution, and basically didn’t work), plus the addition of extra ports in all three options. Finally, an added perk for the two Core M models include a power adapter that holds two extra USB 3.0s (Tech Times).
Now that Intel has done this, packed in some of the best processing power you can fit in an HDMI PC dongle, marks a big step forward in separating itself from the pack. Although you can find yourself a plethora of choices, including Asus and Zotac, who currently sell their sticks Cherry-Trail based, but Intel’s new models are still going to be faster. If you’re the type of person who does business (or life) on-the-go, don’t forget that Intel’s Compute Sticks pack “all the guts of a Windows PC into something the size of a Chromecast” (Gizmodo). With super-improved innards, this generation of the Stick should finally make a big homecoming in the living rooms of many.
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