Intel turbocharges the Compute Stick with Core M, revises Atom model

Computers are constantly being made smaller, so it’s no surprise that today you can buy a reasonably powerful computer in something the size of a USB stick. While the likes of ASUS and Zotac have released stick PCs with Intel Atom CPUs, Intel itself has now shown off a similarly sized device that comes packing the power of a Core M Skylake CPU.

There will be three different models of the stick at launch, all with long, number designations that makes naming the individual sticks rather difficult. The STKMV64CC will come with the Core M5-6Y57 vPRO processor inside, while the other STKM3W64CC and STKM364VCC will have the M-6Y30s under the hood.

Regardless of which one you pick, the performance should be much higher than we saw with the first generation models of these compute sticks which debuted last year.

While the CPU alone in such a small package is impressive, the rest of the specifications aren’t exactly lax. Backing up the powerful new CPUs is 4GB of RAM and 64GB of flash storage space. For connectivity, the sticks sport a USB 3.0 connector, plus Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Intel has also crammed two more USB ports on the device’s power brick in an attempt to expand connectivity without making the Compute Stick bigger.

In terms of physical dimensions, all of that power and connectivity is crammed into a stick that is just 4.5 inches by 1.5 inches, and just half an inch thick. It’s a little bit bigger than the original Compute Sticks (as per Liliputing) but at these sorts of sizes, that extra few millimetres of hardware isn’t going to make a massive difference.

The M3 model will come with Windows 10 or with no system at all depending on buyer preference. All of the new Sticks will support Windows or Linux operating systems. Pricing is $400 or $500, respectively, with availability in February.

While the Core M sticks are the most interesting product in terms of performance, Intel hasn’t ignored the Atom model. It has been updated with a new exterior design to match the Core M versions, and now has the latest “Cherry Trail” version of Atom hardware.

The only model available has an Atom x5-Z8300 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. Wi-Fi has been improved to a 2×2 802.11ac adapter, and Bluetooth 4.0 remains standard. There’s now two USB ports, one of which is 3.0. That’s one extra compared to the original Compute Stick.

Pricing for the new Atom model is $160, and it comes with Windows. Sorry, Linux fans — that version was not selling well, so it has been axed. Intel did say it plans to sell a version without any OS, but it’s not clear what its price will be, or when it will be available.

Computing

Is the Google Pixel Slate just a Surface Pro 6 knockoff?

From the design, keyboards, or operating systems, there is a lot that is initially similar, but also different, between the Pixel Slate and the Surface Pro 6. We dig deeper to see if the Pixel Slate is more than a Surface Pro 6 knockoff.
Computing

Enjoy the internet anywhere with LTE on the new Samsung Chromebook Plus v2

With the new addition of LTE, the Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 should now more enticing for consumers who just want a device for traveling and enjoying the internet wherever they go.
Computing

Acer brings Intel’s 8-core, 9th-gen processor to its Predator Orion desktops

The new Intel 8-core 9th-gen processor in the Acer Predator Orion puts more power in the hands of gamers and should make for seamless gameplay in the most demanding situations.
Mobile

What to expect from Google’s October 9 event in New York City

Google's annual hardware event is almost here, and with Google branching out more and more into hardware, we could be seeing a lot of new tech. Here's what to expect from Google's October 9 event.
Mobile

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

If you weren't already aware, USB-C is quickly becoming mainstream. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone.
Computing

How to protect your iCloud account

From Chinese hacking to identity theft, it's not surprising if you're a little worried about your iCloud data. Here's how to protect your iCloud account with a few simple security steps. It will only take a few minutes, and we'll walk you…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…
Photography

Adobe's "creativity conference" begins October 15. Here's what we hope to see

Each year, Adobe uses its Adobe MAX conference to show off its latest apps, technologies, and tools to help simplify and improve the workflow of creatives the world over. Here's what you should expect from this year's conference.
Product Review

The Oculus Rift is cheaper, the Vive Pro is better. Is the original Vive still worth it?

The Oculus Rift may have brought virtual reality into the public eye, but HTC’s Vive, built in partnership with Valve, does it better. Does the Vive still represent the true future of virtual reality, or are there better competitors on…
Computing

Don't take your ISP's word for it: Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.
Computing

Nvidia is slowly rolling out its next generation of GPUs. Here's what you need to know about them

Nvidia's new RTX 2000 series graphics cards are impressive pieces of hardware, with some amazing advancements and some rather high price tags to match. Here's everything you need to know about Nvidia's new top-tier cards.
Computing

Lenovo and Dell make great professional laptops, but who does it best?

Finding the best laptop for professional use at the office, on the move, and at home is no easy task. There's plenty to choose but to find the best of the best, we pitted the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme vs. Dell XPS 15.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.