Intel Debuts Lower Cost Compute Stick Powered By Ubuntu Linux

Intel is getting ready to release a version of its Compute Stick that runs Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (64-bit). You may recall that we tested a version running Windows 8.1 32-bit, and at around $149 street, we felt it was a decent value overall. The Ubuntu version (Intel product number STCK1A8LFC) will be even more affordable at around $110 when it ships out this week.

One thing that's important to point out is there are some hardware differences between the two. The Ubuntu version will come with 1GB of single-channel DDR3L-1333 memory and 8GB of eMMC storage, both of which are soldered inside the Compute Stick. That's half the amount of RAM and storage found on the Windows 8.1 version.

Intel Compute Stick Ubuntu

Otherwise, everything else remains the same (well, except the OS, obviously). Like the Windows 8.1 version, the Ubuntu model will sport an Intel Atom Z3735F quad-core processor (1.33GHz to 1.83GHz, 2MB L2 cache), 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, a single USB 2.0 port, HDMI 1.4a, and a microSD card slot.

"Consumers are looking for a more personal, flexible and cost-effective computing experience, and also looking for a choice of OS. It’s great to see Ubuntu becomes part of the Compute Stick family. This is another example of how we’re working with Intel to bring a wide range of devices to market to give as many people as possible the chance to discover Ubuntu," said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical.

Ubuntu seems like a good fit for something like this. The Windows 8.1 model we tested didn't exactly burn through our benchmarks, though it was sufficient for basic computing tasks and surfing the web. This is where a Linux distro is perhaps a better fit, as it doesn't need the same level of computing muscle as some Windows applications do. And for something this size, the lower price is a bonus as well.