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Intel Compute Stick Review

At CES 2015, Intel quietly announced its upcoming Bay Trail-based Compute Stick. Last week we got to check out a sample unit up close and personal.

Technical Specifications

Operating SystemWindows 8.1 with Bing 32-bitUbuntu (Linux) 14.04 LTS 64-bit
ProcessorFan-cooled Intel Atom Z3735F, 2MB Cache, 1.33 GHz
BIOSFCBYT10H.86A.0018.2015.0330.1117 (3/30/2015)
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics with driver v.
System MemorySingle Channel DDR3L-R-S memory @ 1.35V, 1333 MHz    · Windows: 2GB    · Ubuntu: 1GB
StorageBuilt-in Samsung MGB4GC eMMC storage    · Windows - 32 GB Samsung     · Ubuntu  - 8 GBSDXC v3.0 slot with UHS I-support
PeripheralsIntegrated 802.11bgn Wi-FiUSB 2.0Bluetooth 4.0MicroSD card slot
NetworkingIntegrated 802.11bgn
AudioIntel HD Audio via HDMI with multi-channel support
Power Requirements5V, 2A wall-mount AC-DC power adapter
 Chassis Size103 mm x 37 mm x 12 mm

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  • John Philips
    Would like to see the Ubuntu stick performance...
  • elbert
    I would like to see xbmc performance. I would also like to see if the stick can both run playon server and watch playon on this single device.
  • TechyInAZ
    Thx for the review Tom's Hardware!

    No matter how slow that usb "PC" is, it's still amazing that you can run a computer off a single little thumb drive shaped device and doesn't have problems even overheating.

    I think this stick is designed more for demo purposes. Demonstrating that technology is advanced enough now that we can pack PC's in form factors unimaginable a few years ago.
  • John Philips
    Probably it could be faster with Enlightenment Desktop.Or one day somebody can put Windows xp or anything else...
  • americapat
    why a fan? Strange that the networking sooo slow, shouldn't be par with Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T? Price a little high too.
  • Shankovich
    Can't use WiFi and Bluetooth at the same time...............................
  • uzm
    Does it support uhd/4k tvs?
  • mapesdhs
    "... single channel DDR3L running at 1333 GHz ..."

    Really? Can they put that in next-gen GPUs? ;)

    Overall, I don't see the attraction over a normal HTPC, and in time TVs
    are going to become more than quick enough to run general apps. Wouldn't
    surprise me if the next move with TVs is to integrate a small PC inside
    them somehow, assuming TV makers see a market for it.


  • StarBound
    I'm curious as to the light gaming this can deliver.
  • zodiacfml
    Pricey. The Linux version price is more logical yet it could have at least have 5Ghz WiFi.
    Only small business can appreciate this for signage/display purpose. For home, you're better off with a Windows based tablet with HDMI output.