CNET First Look
Intel's Compute Stick gets bigger -- and better -- for its second generationThe new Intel Compute Stick adds a new CPU and better Wi-Fi, plus an extra USB port.
The era of the stick computer is here. In fact, we're already into the second generation of these things, cuz I have, right here, the second generation of Intel's Compute Stick. This is a tiny Intel Atom-powered full desktop PC. It's something that's about the size of a chunky USB key. It kinda looks a little bit like a Roku stick or a FireTV stick, but it actually runs Windows 10. Got an Intel Xeon processor, got two gigs of RAM, it has the 32 gig solid state storage space, not a ton of space, but enough for the operating system and a few other files. And the idea is you just plug this into th back of let's say a television or a computer monitor you have sitting around and you can turn any screen. into a windows 10 desktop computer, of course it's not quite as easy as all that you just can't plug and play, first of all it might be hard to get the HDMI port in, there's not a lot of clearance back there usually so, it comes with an HDMI extender so you plug that in like this and then of course you need power, plug this in over here and then you end up with the cable in the way you gotta plug it in So you end up with something that's a little more jumbly-looking, but still fairly small as far as desktops go. This model here is actually a tiny bit larger than the original version. I have that right here, and then as you can see it's a little bit longer, and that's because one of the major, major, major improvements in this version is they put two USB ports in it instead of just one. One USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0, It's got a micro SD card slot in there in case you wanna expand the storage, which is useful if you wanna download a bunch of apps, or even simple games or movies. And they also improved the Wi-Fi in this to 802.11ac, which would be good for streaming HD movies, streaming HD video, even playing some very, very basic games. I wouldn't count on it for too much more than that. It's sort of a travel computer maybe you take with you when you're going on vacation. And plug it into a TV somewhere. Or if you're a business traveller put your secure Powerpoints on here, go to somebody's office, plug it in, play your stuff, and then take the entire computer with you. Especially because, suggested retail price on this guy, $159. That is the second generation Intel Compute Stick.