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Intel Upgrades Hardware

Intel's Next Gen Compute Stick Beefs Up Processing With Core M3 and M5 Models ( 95

MojoKid writes: Intel is taking another stab at the PC-in-your-pocket form factor with their next gen Compute Sticks. These over-sized thumbstick devices plug into the HDMI port of any TV or monitor and offer a full-fledged computing experience and Intel has now made them faster and more capable. New for 2016, there are three new base model Compute Sticks to choose from. The first is an entry-level option running a quad-core Atom x5-z8400 quad-core processor clocked at 1.44GHz to 2.24GHz with 2GB of RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage, a pair of USB ports, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Windows 10. But perhaps more interesting are the new 6th Generation Intel Core M models. The higher end of the two is powered by a Skylake Core m5-6Y57 vPro processor while the lower end version is equipped with a Core m3-6Y30. Both models boast 4GB of DDR3-1866 RAM, 64GB of eMMC storage expandable via microSD card slot, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and three USB 3.0 ports (one on the Compute Stick and two on the power adapter). Without an OS, the Core m3 model runs $300; Windows 10 adds $100 to the price tag. The Core m5 Compute Stick will run $500 and, at least for now, doesn't appear to offer a version with Windows 10 pre-installed. The new Compute Sticks will be available in February.
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Intel's Next Gen Compute Stick Beefs Up Processing With Core M3 and M5 Models

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  • he sat behind me in 3rd grade.
  • Stupid question (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 )
    What Linux distro do I run on this, to save me from paying $100 for Windows 10? How difficult is it to install an OS on this box? (USB stick install, I assume).
    • My guess is that because it's using Sky Lake generation cores, it's likely to also be using Sky Lake generation chipsets and devices. So, it would follow that any Linux distribution that works properly on a Sky Lake desktop / laptop would also work on one of these.

      That doesn't mean it won't be a huge ass pain to get it going.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        So, it would follow that any Linux distribution that works properly on a Sky Lake desktop / laptop would also work on one of these. That doesn't mean it won't be a huge ass pain to get it going.

        Not really sure why, because there is almost no third party peripherals that need drivers and Intel got pretty good open source support for all of theirs. I mean their last stick already had an Ubuntu version...

        • I'm probably just jaded - whenever a company makes an all-in-one mini anything, they usually get it mostly right, but do one or two stupid things that absolutely aggravate.

          But there's no reason to think that you're going to have to hack around in the kernel to get it to go.

      • Skylake support is problematic on most Linux distros. But that will get better; it's in the current kernel. Once that happens, these sticks should work nicely on Linux and they look like an interesting option for home theater use.
        • That's exactly what I was thinking, though I'm still completely screwed by Time Warner's abuse of the CCI 'CopyOnce' flag. However, that's a problem with Time Warner being excessively assholic even when compared to Comcast, and not Linux or this device.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What Linux distro do I run on this, to save me from paying $100 for Windows 10? How difficult is it to install an OS on this box? (USB stick install, I assume).

      Get these:

      I have no idea how to install Windows 10 on these compute sticks though.

      • by FatdogHaiku ( 978357 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @08:08PM (#51259183)
        You can tell it's OK because it has _Clean_ISO at the end of the name...
        • This is Windows Spyware Edition we're talking about, the suffix should be _Unclean_.
    • by oddtodd ( 125924 )

      I just got a Kangaroo portable PC with an x5-z8500 and put Fedora 23 on it without issue, except for sound which comes thru the HDMI port. Haven't figured that one out yet but haven't done a full summit attempt. Anyone know the trick? It works with the Windows10 that came with it, shows up as Intel SST Audio Device in the Device Manager.

    • Microsoft is idiotic for charging $100 for an OS on a $300 device. It virtually guarantees that many people will be interested in a free alternative simply on the basis of price (as well as the typical several percent for other reasons). $100 is a reasonable one-time expense when your PC costs a few thousand. It's ridiculous for a $160 to $500 device - and the low price is really all these things have going for them. This is the arrogance that a 95% marketplace dominance breeds.

      I really wish the PC OS m

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Good theory - however even at the minimum wage here that $150 is $10.25 which is less than 15 hours. Most people will take much longer than 15 hours to be useful on a new OS, not including issues such as using their existing apps and data and perhaps hardware which presumably is already using Windows in this analysis.

        Anyone with a skilled job will be making much more and the marginal time investment gets more ridiculous. Maybe 2-4 hours.

        Even my mother on a pension will be getting a windows PC replacement

        • Re:Stupid question (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @09:36PM (#51259573)

          This assumes that time is money, which is false. That $150 comes out of one's normal salary and spending 15 hours of your own free time on this does not earn you any more or less money. To earn that $150 you have to work real hours on a real job. $150 is $150, it's a lot of money, you don't sneeze at that even if you're making a decent salary. The time is money adage only applies if you are hiring someone to set this up for you.

          Next you could say $1000 is only a week's salary so don't quibble about it and just bite the bullet. But any sane person would say this is far too expensive for an OS license. There's a dividing line between what people consider as inexpensive and what is considered too expensive, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with hourly wages or comparison to cups of coffee or a price of a night out at the movies. If you've got a choice of "$400 with Windows versus $300 with Linux" the choice is not that hard for people who understand how to use Linux. The only time to pay a premium is if you get a premium product in return.

          • While I don't completely disagree with you, your argument rests entirely on the flawed premise that your free time has no value. In business terms the exchange you are talking about is opportunity cost. The time you spend futzing with something rather than just paying for a solution is time that could have been spent doing something else.

            Of course it isn't as simple as placing an hourly rate valuation on your free time. When I was a college student I had far more free time which resulted in a lower "value"

            • That time spent doing something else might be time spent not earning any money. Ie, I was going to watch TV but instead I waste several hours getting the TV to work. Is it worth $100 to get back a few hours of TV slacker time? If so it explains how cable companies get away with their high subscription rates.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Windows is guaranteed to work with this, Linux is not. I'd rather pay $100 knowing that a minor kernel update won't break my device.

        I tried installing Linux on a Dell Venue 11 tablet, I gave up when I realized that the touchscreen input driver only worked for a handful of kernel releases. The great open source community can't be bothered to do proper regression testing so now the driver has been broken without a fix for over a year.

        Microsoft gives you a working product or your money back, Linux a hope and

      • It's funny you mention this. In discussions with Intel, the reps were very forthcoming about the fact that Microsoft charges $15 for a Win 10 license on a device with 2GB of RAM or less, but once you get up to 4GB or higher, it's a $100 upcharge. Totally agreed. With all the free Win 10 upgrades they're handing out, that policy is asinine.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Windows 10 is FREE (without personalisation). Download the ISO from Microsoft's own website. No time expirey on unactivated installs, just disables personalisation.

      Same for Windows IoT for SoC boards.

      • by janoc ( 699997 )

        This stick is going to be woefully underpowered for Windows. It has only 4GB of RAM - that will barely run Windows alone.

        And Windows on IoT SoC boards - why? Windows only makes sense if you want to exploit the Windows development ecosystem. Which is nonexistent for those small IoT boards. So you can as well put Linux or an RTOS on it and save power, licensing costs (should you decide to sell you widget) and support nightmares.

        • And Windows on IoT SoC boards - why?

          Maybe because Linux desktop is still shitty and unpolished to "average Joe" use. But this said, the Windows 10 is ALSO shitty, I would use Windows 7 or maybe Android (the polished Linux)
        • Honestly, even 2GB of RAM works pretty well for Windows 10. Certainly it's enough for a light-use PC (maybe a few programs and 5 tabs open). 4GB is totally fine.

        • This stick is going to be woefully underpowered for Windows. It has only 4GB of RAM - that will barely run Windows alone.

          I disagree. Windows10 runs pretty well on even little Dell tablets with only 2GB of ram and no significant processor power. On one of these compute sticks it should actually run fine.

          And Windows on IoT SoC boards - why? Windows only makes sense if you want to exploit the Windows development ecosystem. Which is nonexistent for those small IoT boards.

          These boards don't use an on-board dev ecosystem, they use a dev PC and download the resulting code. To be fair, you could use the command line .net compilation / assembly tools and build code on them but there is no point. Simply connect it up to a system running Visual Studio and enjoy the full IDE, step debugging and so on.

  • Or are you happy to see me?

  • >>> at least for now, doesn't appear to offer a version with Windows 10 pre-installed.

    Anybody that sees that as a disadvantage needs their head examining.

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @07:23PM (#51258991)

    If an "OS X Lite" were avaailable on Compute Stick, it could be a great way of introducing users to a non-Windows OS that they could use for some existing low-RAM applications.

    • We already have a better one: we call it Linux. As a bonus it is Free and doesn't contain spyware.
    • Apple isn't interested, though. You know what is a great way (from Apple's point of view) to introducing people? The iPhone. Apple isn't that focused on OS X. They don't even really care if you never use it. What they *do* care about is getting people into their ecosystem so that whatever money they spend is spent on or through Apple.

      So while it might be nice for a consumer to be able to buy a compute stick loaded with OS X -- that isn't really something that Apple has any motivation to provide.

      As for the "

  • by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @07:42PM (#51259081) Homepage

    $500? For a low-spec computer with 64 gb hd and no operating system?

    I can't imagine why somebody would want this.

    • by rsborg ( 111459 )

      $500? For a low-spec computer with 64 gb hd and no operating system?

      I can't imagine why somebody would want this.

      Intel does - so you don't buy a $69 AppleTV or $35 Chromestick.

      Of course, if you simply must run apps written for Windows, then Intel is your only real option (though tbh, I thought that era ended before Obama was elected).

    • Hobbyists. Or systems that don't need to be a full blown desktop (ie, streaming to a TV?).

    • by mcrbids ( 148650 )

      i bought a couple of TV sticks at Amazon for about $40 and they work amazingly well. [] Netflix, Hulu, Google Play, the works! Browses smoothly as well, works as a general purpose super-tablet, works with normal KB/Mouse without issue...

      Why would anyone would spend ten times the cash?

  • What is the use case? This costs as much as a much more powerful tower, or for that matter a low-end (but still more powerful!) laptop, complete with screen. Who is the user that demands a tiny form factor enough to take a performance hit, and also has a screen laying around everywhere that they might wish to use the thing?

    • That seems like it could be a good Idea, but if this could be like a laptop but much smaller, I always use it in a docking station anyway I hate using laptop screens. Travel between countries with just this in your pocket, instead of a laptop. No need worry about breaking the screen. Of course it only works if it is significantly more powerful than a phone, and can do what you need it to do as a full computer. Also another advantage for me at least is you can't use it while traveling, so no one can ask me t

      • You would still need to haul a keyboard and mouse, so I don't think you'd have it in your pocket. Besides, you likely have a computer in your pocket already...

        Everyone can check emails on phones these days, so that pretty much eliminates that advantage :)

        • For most travelers, a ChromeOS device is probably a better fit. You can get them as a small PC, a stick, a laptop or a tablet (technically a convertible laptop) depending on your preferred form factor. They're all super cheap, really secure even on a hostile network, and require not set up. And if the airlines breaks it, they're essentially disposable as they don't hold state.

          Been traveling with different Chromebooks for the last couple of years, and I love it

    • Many hotel televisions have HDMI in ports these days - you can travel with this and a keyboard/mouse.

      • That sounds interesting at first blush, but can you count on the hotel TV being usable? Would you really save that much space over packing a Chromebook or small notebook? Especially considering you'd still need to haul the keyboard and mouse.

        • When traveling for business, no - just take what you know will work.

          When traveling with family? 64GB = 8GB for OS + 56GB for movies, or about 100 hours of movies of your choosing, instead of cable TV. If it doesn't work out: cable won't kill us.

        • mouses aren't much to haul and I personally can't stand notebook trackpads.

          plenty of portable keyboards with bluetooth. Though I must say, I'd be keen for IBM/Lenovo to resurrect the butterfly keyboard found on the Thinkpad 701, complete with clitmouse.

      • Wouldn't it be easier to travel with ... Gasp a Microsoft Surface tablet instead of a bulky keyboard and mouse?

        There are very thin keyboard and mouse covers over tight thin screens which are tablets for the airport and work for the PowerPoint presentation at the hotel. Not go mention with ... Gasp Windows 8.1 or 10 has Netflix and Hulu as well

        • Personally, I'd probably use my phone as the keyboard for as much keyboard interaction as I would plan to do with a mobile computer of this size. You could also use a projection keyboard (I doubt they're all that great to use, never been tempted to try one yet).

          Other use cases for something like this include "secure screencast" where you plug it in as a general purpose display of something that most people don't have access to - basically an easy to use development platform to put your custom remote access

    • I see a use case: road warriors who have moved on from the hassle of laptops when traveling to tablets. For those occasions when you run onto the need to run a Windows program on your laptop which is now at home, plug the Stick into your hotel TV set to use it as a monitor. You can get tablet keyboard cases that will home to two Bluetooth devices, and given a Bluetooth mouse, you're in business.

      If you have Plutonium Triple Graphene loyalty with the hotel chain and can get access to fast broadband, you could

      • That's pretty good. Seems like a super, super niche application - what road warrior finds a laptop annoying but is willing to haul around a keyboard and mouse for this thing? If you already have the keyboard and mouse, why not use the tablet to VPN? You can even hook it up to the TV for more screen real estate. If you occasionally need to run Windows apps, you could just get a Windows tablet - though I've never seen one in the wild.

    • Wow, have things gotten that cheap in the desktop world? I've never seen a useful laptop that cheap. Even towers at that price are vastly underpowered (the entry level price on a Dell or such, good enough to run a browser and not too much else). Though I agree once you buy all the accessories to add to the $300 device that it will cost a lot more in practice.

      The point is not to be a PC but to be a tiny form factor device for specialized purposes, especially intend for people who need PC-style architecture

      • Even towers at that price are vastly underpowered

        Well, so is this :)

        But seriously, Dell has a "Micro Desktop" for under $200. This includes dual-core Celeron, Windows 10, 2GB RAM, and a 32GB SSD. It also comes with keyboard and mouse :)

        So, half the price and better - just not _quite_ as small - still small enough to tuck behind your flatscreen, though.

    • by Tarmas ( 954439 )
      I'm using the original Stick as a low power headless iTunes server to share my media library from a NAS to the iDevices on my network. Works great in this scenario.
      • That is a good use, though it is a bit pricey if that's all you are doing with it and you obviously have more than an SD card for storage.

    • Well, anyone that wants to have a "PC" plugged on the TV but do not have the space for a tower or a laptop.
      • And MicroATX?

        • by fnj ( 64210 )

          MicroATX is about 1% smaller than ATX. You're probably thinking of Mini-ITX. That's still a grossly oversized abortion. All the mini stuff like NUC is proprietary.

          • Yes, thanks for the correction.

            This is also proprietary, is it not? Dell has little 5x5x2 "Micro Desktops" for under $200 with better performance - still small enough to mount behind a flat panel, half the cost, better performance.

  • by sshir ( 623215 )
    I checked several articles already, and none (NONE!) say if that little thing has a fan or not. What a bunch of morons! If it does, then because of small size it's going to be noisy.
  • To expensive. Would be very cool if they were more realistically priced. I guess if I had money to burn...

  • I know what the i series is about, but just started noticing the m series in the stores. Can anyone explain the m series of CPUs, and how they are different - both architecturally, as well as from a market segmentation standpoint?

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire