Intel unveils five new Compute Stick models last month, including three models with Core-M Skylake processors, and two models with Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor: one with Windows 10 (STK1AW32SC), one without operating system (STK1A32SC). The Skylake model are not available yet, but the Windows 10 version can now be purchased for around $150 on Amazon, Newegg, and CDW.
The specifications have not changed since the announcement, but it’s always good to refresh once memory:
- SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 Quad-Core “Cherry Trail” processor @ 1.44 GHz/1.84 GHz and Intel HD Gen8 Graphics
- System Memory – 2 GB DDR3L @ 1600MHz
- Storage – 32 GB eMMC + micro SDXC v3.0 slot with UHS I-Support up to 128GB
- Video & Audio Output – HDMI 1.4b
- Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 (via Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265)
- USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x micro USB port for power
- Misc – Power button, security notch
- Power Supply – 5V/3A via micro USB port.
- Dimensions – 113 mm x 38 mm x 12 mm
If you’d like to know how it performs before purchasing the TV stick, Liliputing reviewed the device, and unsurprisingly he found very little performance improvements over the previous model, except for WiFi which supports 802.11ac instead of only 802.11n. He found that the extra USB 3.0 port was also a nice addition, but felt use cases for that form factor are limited.
Now let’s say you are interested in this device, but you could not care less about Windows 10, and plan to run Ubuntu or other Linux distributions on it. There are two issues with that:
- The likely cheaper model without operating system is nowhere to be seen, so you are probably paying a little extra ($25) to get the privilege of deleting Windows 10.
- Unless things have changed since I tested Ubuntu in Tronsmart Ara X5, also based on x5-Z8300 processor, Intel Cherry Trail processor family is not fully supported in Linux, and features like HDMI audio are not supported, and graphics drivers did not work very well at all at 4K resolution.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.