Intel launches 2nd Generation Compute Sticks with CoreM power

With these tiny computers from Intel, you will not only turn your ordinary TV into a Smart TV, you will turn your TV into a fully functional and powerful personal computer (PC).

One year after releasing its first Compute Sticks, Intel has unveiled at CES 2016 five new Compute Sticks based on 6th Gen Intel Core M and the latest quad-core Intel Atom processors.

Tiny devices just slightly larger than a standard USB thumb drive, the Intel Compute Sticks can transform any TV or display with HDMI into a complete computer with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and additional USB ports.

So far,Intel has provided specifications for five models of the Intel Compute Stick.  Essentially, there are three new hardware variants with Core m5, Core m3 or Atom processors with the m3 and Atom variants available with or without Windows 10 pre-installed.  The m3 and Atom models are presumably aimed at consumers (as well as kiosks, signage).  The expensive m5 model is presumably aimed at commercial applications and only comes without a pre-installed operating system.

These tiny Intel Compute Sticks will be great for compact home theatre setups with storage provided by addon USB hard drives or NAS.  You could also use them as Plex servers/clients, torrent downloaders with a VPN or highly portable computers for home users or mobile workers.  Watch this space for instructions on how to set all of these up.

Core M models

Intel Compute Stick STK2m3W64CC with Core m3-6Y30 processor including Windows 10 (this is the consumer model) US$399

Intel Compute Stick STK2m364CC with Core m3-6Y30 processor (mostly same specifications as above but no included operating system) US$ TBA

Intel Compute Stick STK2mv64CC with Core m5-6Y57 vPro processor (no included operating system) US$499

The Core M models have three USB 3.0 ports (two on power pack), Wi-Fi with fast Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 8260 and Bluetooth 4.2, 4 Gb DDR3 RAM, 64Gb eMMC onboard storage and micro SD slot. The Core M processors have onboard HD graphics capable of 4K video (but only HDMI 1.4b).

The m3 model comes with or without Windows 10.  The m5 model does not have any option to include Windows 10 so users will have to either buy Windows 10 or install a free OS like Ubuntu.

More specifications are available here from Intel.

Atom model

Intel Compute Stick STK1AW32SC with Atom x5-Z8300 quad-core processor including Windows 10 (cheaper consumer model) US$159 

Intel Compute Stick STK1A32SC with Atom x5-Z8300 quad-core processor (no included operating system) US$ TBA

The much cheaper Atom model has two USB (3.0 and 2.0) ports, Wi-Fi with  2GB on-board RAM Intel® Dual Band Wireless AC 7265 and Bluetooth 4.0, 2Gb DDR3 RAM, 32GB eMMC onboard storage and micro SD slot.

The new Compute Sticks will be released to market in February 2016. Stay tuned here for an unboxing and review of the new m3 model (STK2m3W64CC) as soon as we can get our grubby paws on one.

Intel Compute Stick 2nd Generation Core M


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Unboxing the new Intel Compute Stick STCK1A32WFC

Intel is now selling its new “ultra-slim computer” which is only slightly larger than a USB thumb drive, aptly named the “Intel Compute Stick”.

The Intel Compute Stick ushers in new and cheap ultra portable computing that will make your dumb high definition television super smart by plugging directly into the HDMI port powered by USB.

The Intel Compute Stick comes with Microsoft Windows 8.1 with Bing and, unlike some competitors, Windows is activated and fully licensed for you to use.  The processor is a quad core Intel Atom Z3735F with 2Mb cache, up to 1.83GHz and using the 22nm process.

The stick comes with 2Gb of RAM, 32Gb of embedded storage, integrated WiFI 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Intel HD Audio and HDMI integrated graphics.  Great news is Intel has also chosen not to install any bloatware whatsoever including only an optional, not already installed, 12 month subscription to McAfee antivirus.

Below is my unboxing video for the Intel Compute Stick.

Unboxing the Intel Compute Stick with Bing STCK1A32WFC 

Once you have it up and running it is a great: