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Intel Core M Compute Stick beats out old discrete GPUs, desktop CPUs in first tests

The big selling point of Intel’s Compute Stick is how compact a system it is. With a micro-USB cable and a compatible plug, you can have a fully functioning PC in your pocket whenever you need it. But it turns out the new Core M version of that micro-system is quite a powerhouse too, even beating out some desktop chips and discrete GPUs from a few years ago in recent testing.

The Core M Compute Stick being tested in this instance featured a Core M3-6Y30 CPU running at a base block of just 0.9GHz, though it can turbo up to 1.5GHz as and when required. This is paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of on-board storage, and utilizes the on-board HD Graphics 515 core for 2D and 3D rendering.

While none of that sounds hugely impressive, consider the fact that it’s all packed inside a USB stick. Pair that up with the performance numbers as we now know them, and it’s even more surprising.

Related: Ditch the desktop and hit the couch with our favorite stick PCs

In the first of several benchmarks run by Linuxium, Passmark, the Core M Compute Stick holds its own against a Radon HD 5770 in 2D testing, destroys a Core 2 Duo E8400 (running at 3.0Ghz) in the CPU test, dominates a GeForce GT 630 in 3D testing, and isn’t far behind an 8GB set-up in the memory test.

In PC Mark 8, it scored just 10 percent below a gaming laptop from 2013 and achieved some reasonable scores in the easier 3Dmark benchmarks: 41,605 in Ice Storm and 4,213 in CloudGate. Although it must have been a bit of a slideshow, it also managed just shy of 600 points in FireStrike.

Of particular note however is the Octane Score, which saw the Core M Compute Stick perform around 20 percent faster under Ubuntu than it did with a Windows 10 configuration.

While it is unlikely to beat any overclocking records, or be capable of playing the latest AAA games at high resolutions, these results show that the Core M Compute Stick is quite a powerful little system that is far more capable than many likely gave it credit for.

Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
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