Intel Compute Stick STK2M3W64CC Review
Intel Compute Stick STK2M3W64CC Review
Intel is pushing the performance inside small boxes with their new NUC mini PCs and Compute Stick. They introduction of Compute sticks wasn’t so glorious as some may think in the past. But today that’s bit of a different story. Intel has collected enough feedback to learn from mistakes of the past and provides new generation of Compute Sticks with better performance and some upgrades. We are going to have a look at unit with Intel® Core™ m3-6Y30 Processor (4M Cache, up to 2.20 GHz) with description STK2M3W64CC that comes with Windows 10 Home (64-bit) pre-installed. The Core m3-6Y30 is part of the Skylake Core M Series. There is also one stronger brother with Intel® Core™ M5-6Y57 Processor (4M Cache, up to 2.80 GHz) with description BLKSTK2MV64C already available.
The Compute Stick is actively cooled, which means that you are going to hear high RPM fan under full load. It does not produce much noise, but you it is noticeable. As the Compute Stick will be most of your work time under full load, you may notice it in silent room.
64GB of eMMC memory
When it comes to specifications, we are happy to see that Intel packed the STK2M3W64CC with 64GB of eMMC memory which is enough for running Windows itself and some office applications. Even some lightweight games can be installed. Although, don’t expect to have any amazing performance experience as it wasn’t designed for that. You may also keep in mind that Windows itself is downloading its updates “automatically” and so it will need more storage space in the future. On the other hand, any office applications are running smoothly, we had no issues watching movies or just surfing internet. The included Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 (2×2 802.11ac – 866 Mbps) adapter did its job perfectly.
The Compute Stick comes in plastic package together with power adapter, USB Type-C power cable, and one short HDMI extension cable, in case you have problems to plug it directly into your Monitor or TV HDMI port. The power cable is USB Type-C which works simultaneously for power delivery and for data transfer between stick and USB HUB/power adapter.
The included power adapter features many different plug interfaces for usage in most countries in the world. This adapter has not only powering function, but also works as USB3.0 HUB. It allows to connect 2x USB3.0 devices. Replacing the proper plug adapter is as easy as it can be. Additional 1x USB3.0 port as well as 1x micro-SDXC card port is on the Stick itself.
After switching on, the system boots and starts the first-time Windows 10 installation. User has to choose language and create Windows user account. Just a standard procedure and after few minutes, the Compute Stick is ready to use.
Let’s put the Compute Stick under load scenarios, to see how it handles couple different work scenarios. As first we are going to check the storage transfer speeds.
CrystalDiskMark SSD test:
PC Mark8 test:
We have also included the 3D Rendering – Cinebench R15 test, just for the reference, even we know that the Compute Stick has not really been designed for 3D applications. In future reviews we are going to compare results with other Intel NUC mini PC products.
For users who are curious if the Compute Stick can handle some games, we have included graphics benchmark Unigine Heaven 4.0 at two different resolutions. By 1280×720 the Compute Stick showed slightly better Fps as by 1920×1080.
Super PI v1.1 Benchmark Results:
|Product||SuperPi 1.5 XS - 1M (sec.)||SuperPi 1.5 XS - 32M
|Compute Stick STK2M3W64CC||18.814||954.664|
Last but not least, the heat is a very important factor when it comes to such a small devices. As the form factor doesn’t allow the bigger fan, there’s only so much that small fan can do. For thermal image we used the FLIR termal camera.
The Intel Compute Stick STK2M3W64CC with Intel® Core™ m3-6Y30 Processor delivers decent performance considering its small form factor. It is sufficient for usage in office environment and daily lightweight applications. We like to see that additional USB3.0 ports has been included on the power adapter as well as 64GB of storage.
Also 4GB of LPDDR3 memory keeps the Windows system running better. There’s not much to complain other than slightly higher price. Well, considering that the end user will mostly be the office employee or small business market, there is apparently better budget as by home users. The price also includes the Windows 10 license, which is something to keep in mind as well.
As already mentioned before, the Wi-Fi performance is working properly. Power consumption was measured with simple wall plugged power adapter. The Intel Compute Stick STK2M3W64CC pulled only about 15Watts from the wall under load and only 5-6Watt in IDLE which is pretty good. We have tested to play also games like Diablo 3 on lowest graphics settings in 1920×1080 resolution which worked flawless so far. With that said, the Intel Compute stick is able to handle even some less demanding games.
The Price at the date of this review is €420 (geizhals.de) or $389.99 (amazon.com) which is a bit steep. Nevertheless, we are giving the Intel’s Compute Stick STK2M3W64CC our Silver Recommendation as there wasn’t actually so much to complain. Although, we would still like to see at least one more USB3.0 port.
3x USB3.0 ports
Small form factor
Intel Remote Keyboard
Noisy fan by full load