• SPECIFICATIONS
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 with Bing (upgradable to Windows 10)
  • Processor: Intel Atom Z3735F
  • Connectivity: Wifi/Bluetooth/HDMI 1.4a
  • Memory: 2GB Storage: 32GB
  • Others: 1 x USB 2.0 Dimensions: 103.4 x 37.6 x 12.5 mm
  • Pros:
  • Compact size
  • Full Windows environment
  • Can be powered by power banks
  • Cons:
  • Only one USB port
  • Atom chip can limit performance
  • Benchmark Results
  • 3DMark
  • Cloud Gate: 1,149 points
  • PCMark 8
  • Home: 1,079 points
  • Work: 1,433 points

PC on a Stick

If you think a Windows computer is something you have in your lap or desktop – think again. Intel is known for creating the CPU that runs almost entirety of the world. With Intel products just about everywhere, it is still a wonder they are not in your living room just yet. Presenting, the Intel Compute Stick.

The hard work of Malaysians (Yes, Intel Penang had a hand in designing the Compute Stick!) has resulted in the literal computer in a thumbdrive-sized device. When we say thumb drive, it is still way bigger than the USB sticks you have right now. However, it is small enough that you can literally hang it from your neck.

The Intel Compute Stick features a USB port for mouse and keyboard connectivity

The Intel Compute Stick features a USB port for mouse and keyboard connectivity

Inside the seemingly tiny thing is Intel’s Atom Z3735F quad core processor, 2GBs of RAM, 32GB of storage and for this model, Windows 8.1 with Bing. Yes, this is a full PC that you can hang from your key ring. In fact, it can run just about anything you can throw at it as it runs a full version of Windows environment, so your applications and apps will run smoothly as you would expect.
It connects to your monitor via HDMI 1.4, so you will have audio without any external audio jacks. It only has one USB port for peripherals, but you can opt for wireless as the Compute Stick comes with both WiFi and Bluetooth.

Using the Compute Stick is surprisingly snappy, even with the Atom at the heart of the stick. We got moderate results from our benchmarks, but it is expected as the Atom processor is not a high performer for performance.

Need more storage space? It also comes with a microSD card slot for expandable storage options

Need more storage space? It also comes with a microSD card slot for expandable storage options

What the Compute Stick excels in is portability and deployment. As it uses a full-sized HDMI port, it can use just about any screen with a HDMI port. You can use a TV as your display, and it turns into a smart TV. Load up your movies into a microSD card, slot it in and you have a portable media centre. In a pinch, the Compute Stick can even run on battery power, as it uses a microUSB as the power source.

What we envision is that the Compute Stick becoming the PC of choice for students, lecturers and even office workers. For now, it is a great portable PC, on a stick.

CHIP CONCLUDE: A great concept for a portable computer, but may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

(previously published in issue September 2015)

Intel Compute Stick