Intel Compute Stick STK1A32WFC Reviews

Intel Compute Stick STK1A32WFC Reviews

When Intel announce its Compute Stick, at January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), in Las Vegas, we had been pretty excited. Certain, there’s a handful of devices already on the market that get content on your TV – Amazon’s Fire Stick and Google’s Chromecast are both competent machines, for instance, while there will also be stronger options available, including the Roku. But Intel’s Compute Stick is a fully fledged x86 Windows 8.1 PC. And that makes a big difference. On the outside, the Compute Stick is minimalistic in design. It is slender and black colored and it has slits for air consumption and a small fan that exhausts hot air. The fan isn’t loud, but does emit a high-pitched whine. On a single side of the Compute Stick is a micro-USB port for charging, and a regular USB 2.0 port for add-ons such as a keyboard and a mouse. The alternative side has a MicroSD slot, if you feel 32GB is simply too claustrophobic. For light computing duties, we didn’t have the have to upgrade. Plug the Compute Stick into a TV’s HDMI input, or a normal desktop display, and you also’re good to go. We opted for a 24- inch Dell LCD panel. Internet connectivity is handled by 802.11n. Unfortunately, no 802.11ac support is integrated, and the onboard Wi-Fi is only single-channel 2.5GHz, with no 5GHz help. On booting, we had the normal Windows 8.1 setup. Once that has been over, we landed on the desktop. It felt like a standard PC, which is awesome in light of just how little this machine is. After all the Windows updates were set up, we loaded our usual array of apps and installed Steam. Once Steam ended up being ready to go, Intel’s mini PC became another beast entirely.

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Valve enabled Steam In-Home Streaming a whilst ago, and we realized that the Compute Stick will be a fairly great solution. Plus it ended up being. We tested Ori and the Blind Forest, Grand Theft Auto V and Dota 2. All games played without fail through Steam In-Home Streaming, and felt like we had been gaming on an actual desktop. We then attempted to play games natively on the Compute Stick, but that was a futile exercise. Also Valve’s original Portal was a miserable experience, with all settings turned to low or off. Streaming is where the Compute Stick really excels, and we’re happy to let it do exactly that. Aside from streaming, performance on this diminutive device was reasonably good. However, with four or maybe more casual applications available, you start to feel the effect of having only 2GB of RAM and limited CPU power. Chrome tab refreshes start to significantly lag. General computing performance is on par with a netbook. We went some basic benchmarks on the Compute Stick, because it can not really handle our usual array of desktop-class tests. For reference, we included numbers from an Intel Core i7-4960X desktop with 8GB of RAM (thus showcasing a David versus Goliath scenario). However the Compute Stick seriously isn’t meant for heavy-duty Computer chores or native video gaming. It’s meant for casual work or content consumption and entertainment. For all intents and purposes though, that’s fine. Gamers who are looking for a lightweight streaming solution should give this Intel mini Computer a critical appearance. There’s a lot of vow in this platform. Consider this iteration a step within the right direction, pointing to a bright future for small computing devices. There will be each day when a device like this will be able to hold its own as a fully fledged media center. For the PC Format reader trying to find a strong solution, though, today is perhaps not that day.

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