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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  • Murloc - Monday, June 27, 2016 - link

    irrelevant, video cards are one of the product categories that generate the most hype, if the reviewer isn't able to deliver anymore he could ship the card to somebody else.

    Still, if people come visit the site regardless of timely delivery of video card reviews, then it's not worth the effort.
  • prisonerX - Monday, June 27, 2016 - link

    They cancelled it due to the childish whining.
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, June 27, 2016 - link

    It'll be a little bit longer, but it is coming.

    I have no excuses (none that would interest you guys, at least). But it is still a critical article, and one I intend to deliver soon.

    In the meantime I have a request: could you guys please stop asking reviewers who aren't me where the 1080 review is? This is entirely my own doing, and harassing them isn't going to make it appear any sooner. In the meantime it's distracting from articles such as these, where the comments are supposed to be about the product.
  • Agent Smith - Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - link

    Ryan, will your upcoming reviews of both the 1080 and 480 GPU's include their encode and decode capabilities?

    If so, will they include HVEC results?

  • Agent Smith - Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - link

    Typo: meant HEVC (H.265)
  • zlandar - Monday, June 27, 2016 - link

    I've been wondering the same thing. There have been multiple articles on niche products which the vast majority of people could care less about yet a major video card launch goes unnoticed.
  • Vorl - Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - link

    Yeah, sadly, this has been going on for a while...

    There never was a review of the gtx 960, just a launch announcement. When I commented about it earlier this year I was told "it's coming" and here we are, waiting for the 1080 series...

    I don't know what is happening with the video card reviews, but they sure aren't what they used to be or even remotely timely.

    Anandtech used to release them the day of launch with full reviews, now it's weeks/months late, and sometimes never.
  • Michael Bay - Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - link

    Well, maybe AT is just not a GPU site anymore.
  • Furunomoe - Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - link

    Nowadays, I only visit AnandTech to read about interesting gadgets. I have TPU for all of my PC hardware needs now.
  • more-or-less - Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - link

    It will come when it will come!
    They are short-stuffed, and that's obvious. Also the level of technical detail require time to write.

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