Intel's second generation of the Compute Stick has arrived, ushering in needed upgrades and enhancements to a unique product. I rarely directly compare two products in a review, as I believe that each product deserves its time on stage, but I think it's relevant to compare the second generation of Intel's Compute Stick to the original.
Both sticks have the same amount of storage and RAM, with the second generation bringing in some hardware upgrades under the hood and a second USB port. I should mention that the Compute Stick reviewed here will be one of many Intel is launching this round. Higher-end Compute Sticks with Skylake based Core m3 and m5 and double the storage and RAM will be available soon, but they will cost upwards of double to triple that of the Atom x5 based one in this review.
This Compute Stick features a quad-core Atom x5-Z8300 processor which is a Cherry Trail-based SoC, which is the successor to the Bay Trail microarchitecture used in the original. The device still has only 2GB of DDR3L and 32GB of eMMC storage, but the microSD slot is still present. One of the most notable upgrades is the addition of a second USB port. Intel provides one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port, the Core m3/m5 models will have a single USB port but will come with a USB 3.0 hub built into the AD/DC adapter.
As far as power changes go, the second generation Atom based stick comes with a 3A/5V (15W) micro USB power adapter which isn't very common, so you will need to use the provided adapter as most (including the one with the first generation Compute Stick) only support up to 2A/5V (10W).
Intel has also updated the Wireless N on the first generation to dual-band Wireless-AC using an Intel 7265 controller instead of a Realtek solution. The new stick is also a little bit longer than the original.
This new Compute Stick will cost $159.99 and comes with Windows 10 32-bit installed.
PRICING: You can find the Intel Boxed Compute Stick with Windows 10 Pre-Loaded for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
United States: The Intel Boxed Compute Stick with Windows 10 Pre-Loaded retails for $130 at Amazon.
United Kingdom: The Intel Boxed Compute Stick with Windows 10 Pre-Loaded retails for £102 at Amazon UK.
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