Intel Compute Stick Core m3 Review: Skylake On A Thumbstick

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Intel Compute Stick Core m3: PCMark 7, PCMark 8 and Cinebench

Futuremark's PCMark 7 is a whole-system benchmarking suite. It has updated application performance measurements targeted for a Windows home and office environments and uses various metrics to gauge relative performance. We report the overall PCMark score below.

Futuremark PCMark 7
Full System Testing

Intel Compute Stick Core m3 PCMark 7

So far in our benchmarks the Intel Compute Stick Core m3 has been kicking tail and looking like it could hold its own as a primary desktop. Perhaps it can, though as we ping the Compute Stick with more aggressive benchmarks, we see its limitations compared to NUC sized devices.

In PCMark 7, the Compute Stick Core m3 scores 3,819. That's certainly respectable and enough to leapfrog one of Intel's Core i3-based NUC devices, but it doesn't quite reach the performance level of newer NUCs and more power mini PCs such as Gigabyte's Brix S. Then again, we have to remember, we are looking at a PC on a thumbstick form-factor here. 

PCMark 8 v2
System Level Benchmark

PCMark 8 v2 is the latest version in Futuremark’s series of popular PC benchmarking tools. It is designed to test the performance of all types of systems, from tablets to desktops. PCMark 8 offers five separate benchmark tests--plus battery life testing—to help consumers find devices that offers the perfect combination of efficiency and performance for their particular use case.

This latest version of the suite improves the Home, Creative and Work benchmarks with new tests using popular open source applications for image processing, video editing and spreadsheets. A wide variety of workloads have also been added to the Work benchmark to better reflect the way PCs are used in enterprise environments. These tests can be run with our without OpenCL acceleration. We chose to run with OpenCL acceleration enabled to leverage all of the platforms’ available CPU and GPU compute resources…

Intel Compute Stick Core m3 PCMark 8

We see a similar situation in PCMark 8, though the comparison systems changed because we only have results for a limited number of systems. That said, the numbers here are respectable—while there's a divide between the Compute Stick Core m3 and more powerful systems, it's not a super wide gulf. If there's one thing we'd like to see Intel focus on going forward, it's injecting faster storage into the Compute Stick, as the comparatively slow chunk of eMMC memory here prevents it from reaching its full performance potential. NVMe storage connectivity would be sublime but that might be asking a lot in the form factor, though the Skylake platform does support it. 

Cinebench R15
3D Rendering Content Creation Performance
Cinebench R11.5 is a 3D rendering performance test based on Cinema 4D from Maxon. Cinema 4D is a 3D rendering and animation suite used by animation houses and producers like Sony Animation and many others. It's very demanding of processor resources and is an excellent gauge of pure computational throughput.

Intel Compute Stick Core m3 Cinebench

It's almost unfair to subject a Compute Stick to Cinebench, a brutal benchmark that assesses a system's ability to perform professional level content creation chores. Even though we hadn't run this benchmark on either of the previous Compute Sticks, we wanted to see how the Core m3 model would fare.

The answer? Respectable, but obviously not convincing of a system that can handle CAD and other professional applications.

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