Intel’s Next Gen Compute Stick Beefs Up Processing With Core M3, M5 Processors

Intel is taking another stab at the PC-in-your-pocket form factor with new generation Compute Sticks. As with the original Compute Stick, these new models plug into the HDMI port on your TV or monitor and offer a full fledged computing experience, only now they're faster, more capable, and support more peripherals.

Intel Atom Quad Core Compute Stick
Next-Gen Cherry Trail Intel Quad-Core Atom-Based Compute Stick

Freshly minted for 2016, Intel has three new base model Compute Sticks to choose from. The first is an entry-level option running a quad-core Atom x5-z8400 quad-core processor clocked at 1.44GHz to 2.24GHz. It also features 2GB of RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage, a pair of USB ports (one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0), 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Windows 10.

Intel Compute Stick

The addition of a second USB port is most welcome as it allows users to plug in both a USB mouse and keyboard rather than having to go the wireless route. Intel also deserves kudos to upgrading the Wi-Fi. That said, at $159 (MSRP) the entry-level model isn't overly exciting.

Core M Compute Stick1
Intel Core m3 Computstick And AC Adapter With USB-C Charging

Core M Compute Stick2 Core M Compute Stick and Adapter

We're more intrigued by the new 6th Generation Skylake Intel Core m models, of which there are two base models. The higher end of the two rocks a Core m5-6Y57 vPro processor while the lower end version is equipped with a Core m3-6Y30.

Both models boast 4GB of DDR3-1866 RAM, 64GB of eMMC storage expandable via microSD card slot, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and three USB 3.0 ports (one on the Compute Stick and two on the power adapter).

Intel says that all three new Compute Sticks can hardware decode HEVC/H.265 video, though if it's 4K processing you want, the Core m3 and m5 models are the ones to look for.

Without an OS, the Core m3 model runs $300; Windows 10 adds $100 to the price tag. The Core m5 Compute Stick will run $500 and, at least for now, doesn't appear to offer a version with Windows 10 pre-installed.

The new Compute Sticks will be available in February.
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