Small and power-efficient computers in the form of NUCs and Compute Sticks have emerged as bright spots in the PC market over the last few years. The Compute Stick form factor is the x86 version of the popular ARM-based HDMI sticks. The first-generation x86 Compute Stick came from Intel and used a Bay Trail-T SoC. At the 2016 CES, Intel introduced a Cherry Trail version, as well as two Skylake Core M-based models. We reviewed the Cherry Trail version back in January, and it is now time for one of the Core M versions to be subject to our mini-PC evaluation routine.

Introduction and Setup Impressions

The Intel Compute Stick we are reviewing today is the Core m3-6Y30 model (STK2M3W64CC) that comes with Windows 10 Home (64-bit) pre-installed, making it ready to roll right out of the box. The specifications of our Intel STK2M3W64CC review configuration are summarized in the table below.

Intel Core m3-6Y30 Compute Stick Specifications
Processor Intel Core m3-6Y30
Skylake x86, 2C/4T, 900 MHz (up to 2.2 GHz), 14nm, 4MB L2
4.5W TDP (cTDP up to 7W, cTDP down to 3.8W)
Memory 4GB LPDDR3
14-17-17-40 @ 1866 MHz
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 515
Disk Drive(s) Kingston eMMC M52564
(64 GB; eMMC 5.0-compatible)
Networking Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
(2x2 802.11ac - 866 Mbps)
Audio Capable of 5.1/7.1 digital output with HD audio bitstreaming (HDMI)
Miscellaneous I/O Ports 3x USB 3.0
1x micro-SDXC
Operating System Windows 10 Home x64
Pricing (As configured) $390
Full Specifications Intel STK2M3W64CC Specifications

The Core m3-6Y30 belongs to the Skylake Core M family. It is meant to target the fanless 2-in-1 market, but, in the Compute Stick, it is actively cooled.

The STK2M3W64CC comes with the OS pre-installed, but, it is suggested to update the drivers that ship with the system. Drivers and BIOS updates are available for download on Intel's website. In addition to the main unit, the other components of the package include a 21.44W (5.2V @ 2.2A Type-C + 2x 5V @ 0.9A USB 3.0 Type-A ports) adapter with a Type-C power delivery port that can also ferry data between the main unit and Type-A ports. The cable is more than 3ft in length. We also get a HDMI extender cable to help use the Compute Stick in recessed or otherwise inaccessible HDMI ports.

The gallery below presents a closer look at the chassis design of the Core m3-6Y30 Compute Stick and the packae contents.

We had a very difficult experience managing our previous mini-PC reviews with just 32 GB of eMMC storage and/or 32-bit versions of Windows pre-installed. Fortunately, the STK2M3W64CC comes with 64GB of eMMC and Windows 10 Home x64 pre-installed. We were able to set up the system with a 20GB internal partition after shrinking the partition on which the OS was installed.

The BIOS of the Core M Compute Stick has a lot of interesting features compared to the ones in the Atom-based units. One of the notable optons is the ability to completely turn off the fan. The default setting is to keep it off till needed, and speed it up based on the thermal load.

We also have a good deal of control over the behavior of the front LED from the BIOS. Bluetooth devices can be authorized in the BIOS to make them available even before the OS is up and running.

In the table below, we have an overview of the various systems that we are comparing the Intel Core m3-6Y30 Compute Stick against. Note that they may not belong to the same market segment. The relevant configuration details of the machines are provided so that readers have an understanding of why some benchmark numbers are skewed for or against the Intel Core m3-6Y30 Compute Stick when we come to those sections.

Comparative PC Configurations
Aspect Intel Core m3-6Y30 Compute Stick
CPU Intel Core m3-6Y30 Intel Core m3-6Y30
GPU Intel HD Graphics 515 Intel HD Graphics 515
14-17-17-40 @ 1866 MHz
14-17-17-40 @ 1866 MHz
Storage Kingston eMMC M52564
(64 GB; eMMC 5.0-compatible)
Kingston eMMC M52564
(64 GB; eMMC 5.0-compatible)
Wi-Fi Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
(2x2 802.11ac - 866 Mbps)
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
(2x2 802.11ac - 866 Mbps)
Price (in USD, when built) $390 $390
Performance Metrics - I
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  • Ryan Smith - Monday, June 27, 2016 - link

    As I'm sure a lot of you are aware, ads are controlled by our publisher, Purch. So I don't have direct control over the situation.

    However feedback like this is immensely useful, and I'd like to note that I make it a policy to pass along all of this feedback to Purch so that they're made aware of what you guys think. Don't underestimate the value of feedback; even if it's not always visible, we're frequently looking at what you guys have to say.
  • redfirebird15 - Monday, June 27, 2016 - link

    I'd say drop the outbrain links. They are literally an eyesore, and I sincerely hope every Anandtech reader has the common sense not to click on them. Leave the garbage ads for WCCFtech or some other sellout website.

    Ads are fine, when they are relevant to the article. I've never seen an outbrain, or its eviller twin taboola, ad come close to the content of the article. And some of those images arent always "work friendly".
  • Ascaris - Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - link

    Oddly, the most relevant ads I see are still print ads in paper magazines that cater to a specific interest. Without javascript or cookies, they manage to be more relevant than anything tailored for me has ever been. How is that?
  • Agent Smith - Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - link

    I use 'Block Bear' app, works very well and allows whitelist updates on your device.
  • jann5s - Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - link

    Thanks for this comment Ryan, it is reassuring that you (plural) at least check the comments, especially because some can be quite hurtful and inconsiderate.
  • Sushisamurai - Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - link

    Ohhhh... Is that what that stuff is? I'm on vacation and those ads aren't loading, so I've been getting this wall of non-loaded junk that I need to scroll through on my 5S before I get to the comment section.
  • bug77 - Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - link

    Most plugins work for Mobile Firefox. Including AdBlock and (untested by me) NoScript.
  • Impulses - Monday, June 27, 2016 - link

    I can just see it now, the very first comment on the eventual GTX 1080 FE review will read "well, this is useless, custom cards are already out"... And then the second comment will be about the missing HTC 10 review. :p
  • fanofanand - Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - link

    A cursory glance at the number of comments for each topic will clearly demonstrate where the readership's interest lies. The number of clicks can be deceiving, but those that will actually take the time to comment are far more engaged, and I would assume are far more valuable to the advertisers. There are hundreds of comments on each of the GPU articles, even pipeline stories. It would seem that nearly half of the comments on other articles are actually about the HTC 10, Galaxy S7, the GTX 1080/1070, and the lack of journalism regarding those products. It is quite clear what the audience is clamoring for. Josh literally spent months with the iPad pro, months! The corresponding number of comments on that article would indicate this time was poorly invested, as he could have easily churned out a half dozen articles on gadgets the readership is actually interested in, as opposed to the handful of Apple fanboys who frequent this site. Ryan, I know you read these comments, I know you see the numbers. Why on earth are products nobody is interested in, taking priority over the products we desperately want to read about? I don't care what other sites have said about the 1080, there is a reason I come to Anandtech and not TomsHardware. I value the analysis here far more, but if that analysis comes, I feel like a groom left at the altar, just waiting and waiting....
  • fanofanand - Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - link

    if that analysis never comes. Sigh, stupid 2001 era commenting board :( give us an edit function!

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