Intel Compute Stick STK1AW32SC Review with Cherry Trail

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Compute Stick Temperatures and Power Consumption

Intel Compute Stick Temperature

When it comes to temperatures, the Intel Atom x5-Z8300 Quad-Core Processor inside the Compute Stick idled around 51-53C. When we ran the AIDA64 System Stability Test we found the temperatures topped out at 75-78C on each of the cores when the test was run for five minutes. No throttling of the processor was observed, but the fan could most certainly be heard when the system was under full load.

After we ran this test we discovered that that playing a simple 4K video clip would put the SoC at a higher load level and that put the temperature at 78-80C on all four cores.

Power Consumption: 

Power Consumption Compute Stick

The Intel Compute Stick w/2GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC running Windows 10 Home would idle around 2.6 Watts of power from the wall outlet. When streaming 1080P video clips from YouTube we hit 7.7W and general web browsing was in the 5-7W range. The highest power consumption seen was when running 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited as we topped out at 10.1 Watts during the benchmark test.

Let’s wrap this up!

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  • Bobby Kinstle

    I bought this model of compute stick to put my AcuRite weather station online and it’s absolutely the bomb for low power server, IOT, and automation gateway applications. The tiny size and low power make it perfect here as many of the applications above only support windows natively and require a bunch of work to get working on a linux platform. You can pick them up around $100 on ebay, still new in the box. I also had the problem of wifi getting disabled after the five hour long initial update process concluded, but after a reboot I could enable the wifi network adapter and it worked fine since then.

  • CyberGusa

    Uh, Intel ATOM GMAs have supported QuickSync since Bay Trail… Here’s a link for a detailed brief on the x5-Z8300…

    http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/embedded/products/braswell/atom-x5-processor-z8300-product-brief.html

    Intel just doesn’t always list everything anymore in their general listings but things like QuickSync are practically standard now even on Celeron/Pentium models that previously excluded them…

    The only thing is the encoding hardware acceleration is usually limited, except for phone SoCs, but decoding is pretty much standard now…

  • kyone

    Microsoft also needs to recognise these type of devices with only 32G drive space and allow for half of the operating system to be installed on the microSD card. I would be certain that half of the files (probably many more) would not be needed for high speed instant access.

    With my stick I map all of the “doc”, “pic”, “downloads” etc folders to the SD card. Saves space and more importantly if the system dies you still have access to your very important files. And its great when doing a clean install of an operating system.

    • basroil

      Microsoft has been one step ahead of you for a few years now! What they allow on certain systems is WIM booting, where they compress the entire OS image back down to ~4GB (even for 64bit) for use in systems with disk sizes as small as 8GB. If you don’t know how to use all the (pretty awesome) features of the OS it’s your own fault, they have plenty of documents on how to manage WIM images on technet/msdn

      • kyone

        From the first article I read about it
        “Microsoft does offer a guide to creating WIMBoot images, but it’s not intended for the average Windows geek. Besides, if you already have a Windows PC — even one with a small 64 GB of storage — you’re probably better off not using WIMBoot. Using WIMBoot will just slow down your PC, even if you go through the trouble of setting it up properly. Sure, you could theoretically get some additional space — but it probably isn’t worth the cost.”

        As I said they should factor in stick computers having a microSD card and allow for a large portion of the file systems to reside there, uncompressed !!

        • basroil

          It’s called compromise, use WIM, gain space, lose CPU performance for some functions; use SD (not possible, but if it was), gain space, lose a ton of disk performance and slow access (250us minimum latency); just use the SD for programs and data and deal with a tiny SSD space. Right now WIM is actually pretty great for the purpose of compact installs that this very device benefits from

        • kyone

          Stick computers, currently, don’t have any processing power to compromise.. so keep 50% on the eMMC that is CPU sensitive and the non critical ones on the SD card. WIM is ok but I think, im not sure, that my way would be better.

          Doesn’t really matter.. I’m sure in about 6 months from now 64G will become the standard and CPU will be faster.

        • basroil

          1) You CANNOT install to SD (even WindowsToGo), and Windows (and in fact most OSes) can never be installed on two volumes. No sense considering it.
          2) The point is that you do have to compromise one way or the other. Do you think writing to SD is cheap? (computationally)

          3) These sticks are meant to be used in single tasks, not as general computers. That also means that Windows will be mostly just what’s loaded in memory, so WIM or not there’s little disk access. Why do something complicated when at most you might have a 5% performance increase?

  • timoric

    Sounds like it is still isn’t quite powerful enough. I think 4K video playback is a must for these to be really cool. Believe upping to 4gb of Ram and a better processor will do that. If you have a 4K TV you should get 4K video playback.

  • Ken McIntosh

    OK, it looks like there is a single screw holding the unit together at one end and hinged tabs at the other. Thank you for notating what model fan they are using. Is the fan replaceable? I went out to the SUNON site, but cannot find that part. Small fans are notorious for having sort life spans. That is why I ask.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Correct, there is one Philips screw that is under a rubber pad and then you need a ultra-thin pry tool to pop the clips along the seam. Here is a link to the Sunon product catalog that has a similar UB5U3 fan listed – http://bit.ly/1JYLJxw I’m not sure how easy it is to buy a replacement Sunon Mighty Mini Blower fan, but it is likely possible.