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A New Skylake-Based Intel Compute Stick Approaches

Since the release of Intel's Compute Stick, we have seen several similar products come to market. These thumb drive-like mini PCs from Asus, Archos, Lenovo, and Intel all use very similar hardware from Intel's Atom series of processors, but that changes with Intel's next generation of Compute Sticks.

Instead of relying on the Intel Atom processors, Intel's next Compute Stick will instead use ultra-low power Skylake CPUs from Intel's Core m series -- specifically, the Core m3-6Y30 and Core m5-6Y57.

ProcessorCore m7-6Y75Core m5-6Y57Core m5-6Y54Core m3-6Y30Pentium 4405Y
Cores/Threads2/42/42/42/42/4
Base Freq (GHz)1.21.11.10.91.5
Turbo Boost 2.0 (GHz)-3.1 Single-2.9 Dual-2.8 Single-2.4 Dual-2.7 Single-2.4 Dual-2.2 Single-2.0 DualN/A
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 515Intel HD Graphics 515Intel HD Graphics 515Intel HD Graphics 515Intel HD Graphics515
Base/Max MHz350/1000350/900350/900350/850350/800
LPDDR3 / DDR3L Support1866 / 16001866 / 16001866 / 16001866 / 16001866 / 1600
L3 Cache4 MB4 MB4 MB4 MB2 MB
TDP4.5 W4.5 W4.5 W4.5 W6 W
cTDP Up/Down7 W / 3.5 W7 W / 3.5 W7 W / 3.5 W7 W / 3.8 WN/A / 4.5 W
SDP3 W3 W3 W3 WN/A
Intel SIPP / SBA2016 / Yes2016 / YesN/AN/AN/A
Intel Tech-Intel vPro-Intel TXT-Intel VT-d-Intel VT-x-AES-NI-Intel vPro-Intel TXT-Intel VT-d-Intel VT-x-AES-NI-Intel VT-d-Intel VT-x-AES-NI-Intel VT-d-Intel VT-x-AES-NI-Intel VT-x-AES-NI
Pricing $393$281$281$281TBD

All of the Skylake Core M processors use two hyper-threaded CPU cores. They are conservatively clocked in order to stay within the strict thermal and electrical limitations of devices such as the Compute Stick. With the exception of the Pentium, all of these CPUs are capable of boosting their clock speed for short periods. The CPUs also brandish Intel's HD Graphics 515.

Compared to the Bay Trail and Cherry Trail SKUs used inside the other compute sticks, these new Core M parts feature fewer cores, but a much more advanced architecture. While the Bay Trail and Cherry Trail architectures were focused on energy efficiency, Skylake is more oriented to higher performance. Typically, we would expect to see Skylake consume more power and generate more heat than Bay Trail or Cherry Trail, but Intel has managed to achieve a comparable TDP while also maintaining higher performance.

Intel has not released any additional specs on the upcoming Compute Stick at this time, but it did state that more information will be available some time in 2016.

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  • turkey3_scratch
    This is quite a feat actually. Getting a 3Ghz 4 threaded CPU with 515 graphics on a stick is quite an accomplishment! +1 to Intel for that. 4.5W TDP also.
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    This is quite a feat actually. Getting a 3Ghz 4 threaded CPU with 515 graphics on a stick is quite an accomplishment! +1 to Intel for that. 4.5W TDP also.

    Agreed. Plus, the price isn't half bad at all.
    Reply
  • burnley14
    I can't wait until USB C becomes an common input option on TVs. Tech like this will literally be plug and play into a single input with the ability to transmit 4K with power coming from the TV itself.
    Reply
  • IInuyasha74
    16572364 said:
    I can't wait until USB C becomes an common input option on TVs. Tech like this will literally be plug and play into a single input with the ability to transmit 4K with power coming from the TV itself.

    I'm with you on that. 4.5W TDP seems to be the sweet spot for devices like this. A solid power envelope they can work with and step up performance as efficiency improves over time. It would be great not to need an extra power cable for it, and with all that SuperMHL is capable of, you could have everything in one quick easy plug.
    Reply
  • CRITICALThinker
    This is quite a feat actually. Getting a 3Ghz 4 threaded CPU with 515 graphics on a stick is quite an accomplishment! +1 to Intel for that. 4.5W TDP also.

    If you read the article, it seems that it is only the m3 and m5 that are going into the stick
    Reply
  • IInuyasha74
    16572882 said:
    This is quite a feat actually. Getting a 3Ghz 4 threaded CPU with 515 graphics on a stick is quite an accomplishment! +1 to Intel for that. 4.5W TDP also.

    If you read the article, it seems that it is only the m3 and m5 that are going into the stick

    Yes sorry if it wasn't clear. Only the m3 and the m5 with vPro. Still a dual-core with hyperthreading with a max clock speed of 2.4 GHz paired with the low-power yet capable Intel HD 515 graphics capable of running in a compute stick is quite an accomplishment.

    They haven't said what type of RAM will be used yet, but I hope they end up using DDR4. If they do, this little thing will actually do a decent job of playing older games too.
    Reply
  • Dugimodo
    Why plug it in at all, with the price of these things why not build it into the TV to begin with and have a smart TV that's a fully functional PC as well. Compared to the slow clumsy operation of Smart TV's I've used this would be awesome.

    I still use a NUC myself though, the compute stick just wasn't quite there yet for me.
    Reply
  • ragenalien
    16572882 said:
    This is quite a feat actually. Getting a 3Ghz 4 threaded CPU with 515 graphics on a stick is quite an accomplishment! +1 to Intel for that. 4.5W TDP also.

    If you read the article, it seems that it is only the m3 and m5 that are going into the stick

    Yes sorry if it wasn't clear. Only the m3 and the m5 with vPro. Still a dual-core with hyperthreading with a max clock speed of 2.4 GHz paired with the low-power yet capable Intel HD 515 graphics capable of running in a compute stick is quite an accomplishment.

    They haven't said what type of RAM will be used yet, but I hope they end up using DDR4. If they do, this little thing will actually do a decent job of playing older games too.

    The Core M processor currently only supports DDR3L. There hasn't been an official statement from intel as to why that is.
    Reply
  • IInuyasha74
    16573435 said:
    16572882 said:
    This is quite a feat actually. Getting a 3Ghz 4 threaded CPU with 515 graphics on a stick is quite an accomplishment! +1 to Intel for that. 4.5W TDP also.

    If you read the article, it seems that it is only the m3 and m5 that are going into the stick

    Yes sorry if it wasn't clear. Only the m3 and the m5 with vPro. Still a dual-core with hyperthreading with a max clock speed of 2.4 GHz paired with the low-power yet capable Intel HD 515 graphics capable of running in a compute stick is quite an accomplishment.

    They haven't said what type of RAM will be used yet, but I hope they end up using DDR4. If they do, this little thing will actually do a decent job of playing older games too.

    The Core M processor currently only supports DDR3L. There hasn't been an official statement from intel as to why that is.

    That is the Broadwell Core M you are thinking of. These are Skylake Core M SKUs, with the same memory controller used on all Skylake products. They support DDR3 and DDR4.
    Reply
  • IInuyasha74
    16573363 said:
    Why plug it in at all, with the price of these things why not build it into the TV to begin with and have a smart TV that's a fully functional PC as well. Compared to the slow clumsy operation of Smart TV's I've used this would be awesome.

    I still use a NUC myself though, the compute stick just wasn't quite there yet for me.

    That might happen some, but there will be a place for devices like this market until all displays are smart displays, which will likely never happen. Really, this is a better solution. You have to live with it dangling out of your display, but it also lets you upgrade it whenever you want.
    Reply