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article imageIntel's newest computer is the same size as a stick of gum

By James Walker     Jan 7, 2016 in Technology
Intel has unveiled the next-generation version of its Compute Stick dongle-based computer. Resembling a large USB stick and small enough to fit into the palm of the hand, it lets you take a Windows 10 PC with you anywhere that has an HDMI display.
The original Intel Compute Stick was designed as a rival to the popular Google Chromebit dongle PC. More manufacturers have created similar offerings recently as the form factor begins to gain momentum.
The original Compute Stick contained several flaws that led to many reviewers warning against buying it. Plagued with performance issues and poor networking reliability, many viewed Intel's effort as trying to do too much too quickly. A year later, the company is back with a new line-up that aims to address the complaints.
The new range of Compute Sticks come with more power, storage and memory. The old Intel Atom processor has now been replaced with a higher-performance Core M or Core M vPro quad-core chip capable of supporting displays with 4K resolutions. There's up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage, expandable via micro SD.
The Intel Compute Stick [2016 edition]
The Intel Compute Stick [2016 edition]
Intel
A single USB 3.0 port on the dongle itself is joined by two more on the computer's power adapter, enough for connecting a mouse, keyboard and additional accessory. Wireless peripherals can also be used via 802.11ac Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 4.2.
Using a Compute Stick is as simple as plugging it into the HDMI port of any computer monitor or TV, connecting up a mouse and keyboard and pressing the power button. The entire computer measures just 114mm x 38mm x 12mm, making it perfect for people who frequently travel around to places where a display is available to work at but no computer provided.
Its tiny size also makes it a good option for home users who would infrequently use a PC and don't want a monitor and tower case to take up space around the house. The low-cost Compute Stick could be left plugged into the rear of a television and used with a wireless mouse and keyboard when required.
Intel says the Compute Stick "delivers everything you love about a desktop computer in a device that fits in the palm of your hand." It said: "Designed and optimized to take advantage of the performance of the Intel Core M processor for home, business, and PC-like embedded applications, the Intel Compute Stick is a tiny computer with full-size performance, reliability, and ease of use that lets you work better wherever your day takes you."
PC dongles like the Compute Stick aren't likely to ever become a must-have item for anyone but they fill a gap in the market and highlight how far the miniaturization of circuitry has come in the past few years. Where a 4GB USB stick would have been a novelty just a decade ago, now you can have a computer in a case only slightly bigger, including a quad-core processor and 64GB of storage.
Intel has priced the base model Compute Stick at $159, including an Atom x5 processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The more powerful processors cost considerably more with the Core m3, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage model priced at $399 and the Core m5 edition at $499.
More about Intel, compute stick, Processor, Computer, windows 10
 
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