Years ago, some theorized in the future we would buy the software and the hardware would be provided for free. This isn't a notion I was very comfortable with, and at this point, it still isn't true. However, Intel's Compute Stick is basically like paying for the hardware and getting the software for free.
With the introduction of a $150 Windows 8.1 PC which can fit in your pocket, a new era of affordable computing has arrived. At CES, Intel gave the media a sneak peak at the little HDMI dongle sized Windows 8.1 PC, and as promised, it has hit the market. Today, I venture into the world of the ultra-mini-tiny-PC, the Intel Compute Stick.
Our unit has a quad-core Intel Atom Z3735F processor which has a base speed of 1.33GHz with bursts up to 1.83GHz and 2MB of cache. The Intel Compute Stick comes with 32-bit Windows 8.1 with Bing and has 2GB of DDR3L memory. It features Intel HD graphics and supports only a single display. With a 4W TDP, it accepts power through a micro USB port (like many Android phones). Included is a 2A USB power adapter which can theoretically provide 10W is power.
Intel is launching two SKUs, the STCK1A8LLC ($110) and the STCK1A32WFC ($150). The $150 version is the one I am testing today; the $110 version has only 1GB of memory and an 8GB drive. That isn't the only difference, the $150 SKU comes with Windows 8.1 with Bing, while the $110 version comes with an Ubuntu 14.04 LTS operating system.
At $150, the Intel Compute Stick is an extremely affordable full-fledged PC.
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