The Intel Compute Stick is a tiny computer with an HDMI connector on one end. Plug the device into the HDMI port on your TV or monitor, and you’ve basically got an all-in-one desktop that can run Windows or Linux.

Intel introduced the Compute Stick at CES in January, and it’s expected to hit the streets later this month. Now a couple of retailers are taking pre-orders.

Update: Check our our Intel Compute Stick review for more details!

Newegg is selling the Compute Stick with Windows 8.1 software, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage for $150. Adorama is selling the same model for $140.

A Linux model with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage costs $110.

Intel isn’t the first company to produce a PC-on-a-stick. Models with ARM processors and Android software have been available for a few years, and in the past few months we’ve seen Chinese device makers introduce a handful of other models with Intel Atom processors and Windows 8.1 software.

But the Compute Stick comes with Intel name and official support from the chip maker, which could help make it a more attractive option for some customers, even though it costs a little more than some other mini PCs.

Update: It looks like the Linux version of the Compute Stick may ship with Ubuntu 14.04, and you can find the latest BIOS and driver downloads for the Windows and Linux models at Intel’s website.

thanks riddick and Linuxium!

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45 replies on “Intel Compute Stick mini PC now available for pre-order”

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    1. Intel has NUCs to sell as well. They don’t wanna outcompete those.

      Also that’s probably why they are HDMi and not USB3.1. Imagine the USB cluster (for playing with HPC / MPI / Hadoop / NoSQL) you could have for just $600 and a USB3(.1) switch.

  2. Does anybody knows if you can connect this to an hdmi to vga adapter to use them in older monitors? for a school that would be great

    1. It’s basically just a tablet PC shoved into a dongle case… It’s powered via a micro USB port and the HDMI output is just like you would find on any PC…

      So, as long as the active adapter supports the correct resolution and refresh rates for your monitor and the OS video drivers support recognizing the correct resolution and refresh rate then it should work… Just like connecting a tablet PC to a VGA monitor, which has been done…

      1. This is true with the one exception that vga can’t take the audio stream from the hdmi. So if you don’t need sound, that should be fine.

        1. True, but depends on the adapter… They do have adapters that also provide a separate connector to keep the audio that you could then connect to speakers or audio input, if the monitor has it…

          Otherwise, yes…you would require a separate audio output from the HDMI…

    1. Yep, you can install from a USB if you have an ISO/img or you can enter your license key in the control panel and itll download the missing components needed to upgrade your 8.1 w/ bing license to your 8.1 pro license

  3. I really want to know this one thing: can either or both models be booted from external media, to install the OS of my specific choice?

    My recent bad experience with a Hanspree (custom reductive BIOS/UEFI with no external-booting capability) leaves me sorely bitten and thus quite shy of these stick-PCs… I fear an immediate ecosystem lockdown…

    1. Every wintel device Ive seen has the ability to boot from external storage via the bios – pretty sure the HANSPREE does too under the save and exit / boot override section.

      1. Every wintel device I’ve ever seen until now could boot from USB.

        Not the Hannspree. Stripped-down BIOS doesn’t allow it. Believe me – I’ve wasted about 3h trying every combo I could and searching far and wide… I’ve seen reviews saying it can’t be done; only in comments has anyone claimed it can be done… with no proof…

        Still trying… but it’s looking hopeless.

        1. According to Hanspree’s support page it supports booting from a FAT32 USB drive with a UEFI compatible installer

          So it can at least accept the recovery image over the USB… but, if you don’t mind taking a risk, maybe you can see if you could flash a firmware from a similar device based on the same hardware for a more flexible firmware option…

          1. Saw that… checked by ‘buntus but they didn’t seem to ship with EFIs… whilst double checking, I just found some notes on the matter for Ubuntu, and it seems Fedora does ship with EFI…. OK I’ll give it another go. Light at the end of the tunnel.


  4. I’m interested in a 2 GB RAM Linux model if it’s fanless. Otherwise, I’ll wait until some other “high end” Intel based TV stick without Windows comes out.

    1. You’re an idiot. $30 more is worth the extra ram and storage. Then you just install Linux.

      1. Not if you’re those people who just doesn’t want to add to Windows sales numbers. There are surprisingly a lot of those people out there.

        1. Except the windows one has more memory and storage and the cost difference is minimal. It’s so minimal I see it as paying for the better hardware, not the os.

          I’m not sure why this needs to be explained. Rtfa.

          1. I agree with you. And you can also (probably) upgrade the serial number on the legal Win 8.1 license to Win 10 and in that way remove the OEM license and sell it to a friend for $30.

            Maybe Intel/MS will close that loophole and only allow stick-8.1 licenses to upgrade to Win 10 in the IoT version though.

  5. The main question I have now in light of recent discussions about sticks with fans is… is this fanless?

  6. Sorry but I want 2GB and 32GB of storage on my Linux version or I am looking elsewhere.. I’m not going to get many movies on a 8GB model as well as a full Ubuntu install with Kodi?? Don’t be stupid.

    1. So install Linux on the windows one. It’s astonishing how many of you are morons.

      1. Is it necessary to call people morons? You could easily make your point without being rude.

        1. In this case, yes. Tired of people thinking they’re God’s gift to humanity just because they run Linux. Half the people who try to lord over you with such statements are just clueless people trying to sound smart.

          1. While I agree with your basic argument, I think you just made your own case.

      2. Do you even know if the windows stick boots linux ?
        The only moron over here is you . They should have made both with the same specs .”Tired of people thinking they’re God’s gift to humanity just because they run Linux” or is it because your too dumb to run it ? Some of us are tired of Windows cause its overrated ,boring and has security flaws , not to mention the good ol’ blue screens

  7. Before committing to one of these, make sure you can adjust the Overscan on your display device’s HDMI inputs. Intel’s Windows 8 graphics drivers only support a handful of preset resolutions, instead of being scalable like ATI and NVIDIA graphics cards.

    My Zotac Pico does not get along with my Insignia (Best Buy) 1080P tv. The TV overscans the entire taskbar, along with the menu bars on any full-screen application. The best compromise I think I came up with was something like 1376×768 on the PC and one of the Zoom settings on the TV, but I still lose about an inch all around the screen.

    1. I agree with your logic here Chris, I had trouble scaling the image on an older Sony 40″ until I hooked up a slow beatup old laptop to it that has an AMD video card(e1-1200/HD 7310). I’m looking for a cheap replacement for the laptop that will scale well. If you know of any such device…please offer suggestions.

    2. Wow, I was having the same exact issue with a MacBook Pro connected to a Panasonic TV (1080p). Approx 1 inch lost all around even though computer was set to 1920×1080 for the HDMI output. I have not resolved this problem, but I thought maybe there would be some setting on the TV that could fix it. (Running a non-native resolution mode on the TV is not an acceptable solution for me.)

    3. wow you must have a rubbish tv then I have a TW700 and it works perfectly with my Hisense tv mine has a computer mode

    4. Good point. I have a Polaroid TV that looks great, but has no settings to turn off over scan, even in the factory settings menu. Linux can’t resolve the overscan issues with AMD graphics, but Windows can. I thought this was a Linux issue, but am disappointed to see it is also a windows issue depending on the graphics card.

      One day I’ll replace this TV with one that allows for over scan to be turned off.

      1. sudo aticonfig –set-pcs-val=MCIL,DigitalHDTVDefaultUnderscan,0
        sudo reboot

    1. Why would that even matter? If you don’t like it you just install something else.

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