Intel’s most powerful PC-on-a-stick is now available for purchase (or pre-order) in the United States. The new Intel Compute Stick features an Core M3-6Y30 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage.
That makes this the most expensive Compute Stick to date, but it also has twice the RAM and twice the storage of any earlier model… and a processor that offers much better performance than the Atom chips available in cheaper PC sticks.
I haven’t had a chance to test the Core M model myself, but Ian Morrison has posted a review featuring benchmark comparisons with Intel’s Atom-based Compute stick models.
In a nutshell, the Core M Compute Stick offers about 2-3 times the CPU and graphics performance of a model with an Atom x5-Z8300 Cherry Trail processor in most tests. The improvements over the older Atom Z3735F-powered model are even greater.
Morrison tested a model that came with Windows 10 pre-installed, but he notes that Ubuntu 14.04.3 and Ubuntu 16.04 Beta 2 seem to run well on the tiny computer, as does Chromium OS.
The new Core M model also has three full-sized USB ports: 1 is on the PC stick itself, and 2 are located on the power adapter.
All told, this may be the first Compute Stick that you could justifiably use as a general-purpose desktop computer… although it still won’t be as powerful as a desktop with a Core i3 or faster chip. And an Intel NUC computer with a Core i3 Skylake chip is actually cheaper than a Core M Compute Stick.
But if you have your heart set on a tiny desktop PC that measures just 4.5″ x 1.5″ x 0.5″ and which features integrated 802.11ac WiFI, Bluetooth 4.2, and a microSDXC card reader, the new Compute Stick is the only game in town (for now).
Intel is also expected to launch a model with a slightly higher-performance Core M5-6Y57 chip with vPro support soon. B&H is taking pre-orders for that model for $480, and Amazon is taking pre-orders for $485.