Tag Archive | "intel compute stick"

Intel Compute Stick as a low-cost web-working solution.

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At $149 (trending down) this is an interesting Windows 8.1 PC but when you know it weighs just 54 grams /  0.116 pounds it becomes a bit of an eye opener. The Intel Compute Stick, and its branded variants, are starting to become available in the market and I’ve had one for testing (from Intel) for the last two weeks. It’s not a tablet and it’s not a desktop. It’s not even a mini PC. This is a PC sealed inside a pocketable stick that can be plugged into an HDMI port on your monitor, powered by USB and used with a keyboard and mouse. It runs Windows 8.1 and can be upgraded to Windows 10. You will not find anything with this flexibility at this price, but is it powerful enough? I’ve been running tests on the Compute Stick and wanted to focus on one aspect that will interest a lot of people – web working.

Intel Compute Stick – 56 grams of PC.

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2015 Intel NUCs have upgradable lids.

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The new range of Intel NUCs, soon to include a Braswell variant, have upgradable lid capability. Yes, you’ll be able to buy different colors but the real attraction is in the data and power headers that have been provided. Intel hope that expansion modules made by third parties will include NFC, wireless charging, enhanced data ports and LTE modules. And why not have a battery pack too? With a USB-powered Displaylink monitor the NUC then becomes a truly mobile solution.

2015 Intel NUCs have replaceable and upgradable lids.

Cosmetic Replaceable Lids are simply shot in different colors or have custom artwork/logos -, without adding features. Functional Replaceable Lids can add features such as more NFC, USB 2.0 ports, VGA, RS232C COM ports, SDXC card reader, 4G/LTE, IoT hub, etc. There is virtually no limit to what can be done with Replaceable Lids.

Headers inside each NUC provide Power (5V out, 12-19V in,) USB 2.0 (x2) and NFC and Intel have even created 3D printing files that you can work with to create your own.

Intel NUC lid headers.

 

More information and 3D printing files can be found here and more information on the NUC lids can be found in this Intel PDF.

The new Intel NUCs come in three flavors:

  • Rock Canyon – NUC5xxRYx (consumer Core. E.g. NUC5i5RYK) [Currently $369 at Amazon – Aff. link.]
  • Maple Canyon – NUC5xxMYxE (high end Core. Eg. NUC5i5MYBE)
  • Pinnacle Canyon – NUC5CPYH, NUC5PPYH (consumer Braswell / Celeron -based.)

Information on the Braswell-based Pinnacle Canyon is difficult to find right now but we’ve tracked some data down and we expect it to make a popular HTPC choice, especially as it has a Toslink digital audio output (possibly on a header.) There’s also an SD card slot. Like the popular N2820/N2830 NUC there’s also a consumer IR receiver built-in. TDP of the CPU is down and the ‘scenario’ design power is 4W which means there’s a high possibility that it will be fanless. [Ed: My Baytrail-M DN2820FYK has a fan but it’s not loud]

NUC5CPYH, NUC5PPYH specificaitons. (Unconfirmed.)

  • Celeron Braswell processor.  (N3000, N3050, N3150)
  • TDP down to 6W from 7.5W but clock rate also down. GPU performance up.
  • 4K support via HDMI
  • Ports: HDMI, VGA, SDXC UHS-I, USB3 (x4), LAN
  • WiFi and Bluetooth included.
  • Consumer IR built-in.
  • 2.5” SATA3 SSD/HDD drive bay
  • TOSLINK/NFC & Aux Power Hdrs/2.5” drive
  • CPU performance will be in the same ballpark as teh existing Baytrail-M models but GPU performance could see a boost. Intel Quick Sync hardware video decoding is built-in.

We’re tracking news on the new NUCs and will bring you an update as soon as we have price and availability for the NUC5CPYH and NUC5PPYH.

In other SFF PC news

Keep an eye out for new ECS Liva models with Core M and Braswell. “The ECS Liva Core, which features an Intel Core M Broadwell processor, and the ECS Liva X², which has a cheaper, lower-performance Intel Braswell chip.” [source: Liliputing.]  Note: These are likely to be based on the Intel Mini Lake design. [Source.]

Intel have updated their Compute Stick information page.

iConsole Micro. The $129 Atom-powered Android stick.

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ConsoleOS is a tailored build of Android (AOS) for X86 PCs. It’s optimized with features for keyboard and mouse, an anti-virus package and then it’s tailored for use with an expanding list of devices. The company that makes it is about to market ConsoleOS on a tiny X86 HDMI stick called iConsole Micro and it’s one of most interesting ultra mobile PCs I’ve checked out for a long time.

Me and iConsole Micro!

 

 

Give me Android on my TV and a dual-boot capability with KODI or Openelec and I can put 2 systems into one HDMI port on my TV. It might even replace my Fire TV Stick and Chromecast. With the power of the Intel Compute Stick (that iConsole Micro is based on) I should also be able to get some fun Android gaming out of it. I’ve had hands-on, and an ‘unboxing.’ Here’s what I have so far.

iConsole Micro

Inside iConsole TV (and all products based on the Intel Compute Stick) is an Atom Z3735F quad-core 1.33-1.8 Ghz Baytrail-T platform the same as you find in a lot of cheap Windows 8.1 tablets. There’s 32GB of storage inside the iConsole Micro and you get a full-size USB 2.0 port, a micro USB port (for power) and there’s WiFi and Bluetooth inside which will allow you to connect to a WiFi hotspot and pair a keyboard and mouse without using the USB port. A Micro SD card slot allows you to expand the internal storage up to 128 GB. The bootloader unlocked but it’s a 32-bit version which isn’t supported well on current 64-bit operating systems. There are ways to get it working though and I hope to see Openelec running on it ASAP! There’s no word on the RAM yet. 1 or 2GB is possible.

The announced price is $129 and availability is planned for summer. I’ve requested an update on that and I’ll update this post when I get the information.

iCOnsole usage ideas

  • iConsole Micro will ship with Android 5.0 which means it’s fully encrypted by default (not the Micro SD) which opens up some interesting data transport options.
  • The processing power should be enough for all Android games.
  • iConsole Micro is an interesting option for a HTPC. The platform can handle 50+ Mbps of H.264 with hardware decoding according to my tests on Windows. hopefully that hardware is supported in Android.
  • With a USB-Gigabit Ethernet port is can be a router or hotspot.
  • Tails or other security-focused Linux builds should work well on this if the 32-bit bootloader is supported.
  • Bluetooth controllers should work with Android.
  • The Amazon store will be included meaning you have access to official apps. Sideloading of apps will be possible. There’s no Google Play system.
  • With no screen this should be easy to power using a power bank or solar panel for headless operations.

One thing to note is that there are Windows tablets available using the same platform, offering the same specifications for the same money and including the screen and a battery. Not all of them have an HDMI output and none of them have a full size USB port meaning that charge+data is a little difficult but that might not be an issue for some people. What’s interesting with iConsole Micro is that you’re getting a fully working Android 5 build on X86 and judging by some of the interest there should be a good community around it.

Update: Liliputing have just published a review of the Intel Compute Stick which will give you some idea of the performance available when using Windows and the problems of loading other operating systems through the 32-bit bootloader.

I interviewed Chris Price at MWC in Feb where we go the first look at iConsole Micro.