Performance Metrics

Many of our mini-PC benchmark programs are available only on 64-bit systems. Since the Intel PPSTK1SW32SC ships with a 32-bit version of Windows 10, many of the benchmarks in our standard test suite for low power desktops / industrial PCs could not be processed on the Compute Stick. As a result, these benchmarks were either removed or adjusted, and this is noted where necessary.

Futuremark PCMark 8

PCMark 8 provides various usage scenarios (home, creative and work) and offers ways to benchmark both baseline (CPU-only) as well as OpenCL accelerated (CPU + GPU) performance. We benchmarked select PCs for the OpenCL accelerated performance in all three usage scenarios. They key takeaway from these graphs is that the red scores (Cherry Trail) are quite a bit better than the blue scores (Bay Trail) when considering the fact that they are both systems with a similar form factor and power consumption profiles. Obviously, the more powerful / higher TDP Braswell systems such as the Beebox come out on top when compared to the Cherry Trail Compute Stick.

Futuremark PCMark 8 - Home OpenCL

Futuremark PCMark 8 - Creative OpenCL

Futuremark PCMark 8 - Work OpenCL

Miscellaneous Futuremark Benchmarks

Futuremark PCMark 7 - PCMark Suite Score

Futuremark 3DMark 11 - Entry Score

Futuremark 3DMark 2013 - Cloud Gate Score

The lead in the GPU section is much more for Cherry Trail compared to the benchmarks where both CPU and GPU both matter.

We now move on to look at the benchmark modes in programs used on a day-to-day basis, i.e, application performance and not synthetic workloads.

x264 Benchmark

First off, we have some video encoding benchmarks courtesy of x264 HD Benchmark v5.0. This is simply a test of CPU performance. We should be expecting Cherry Trail to win easily, but repeated benchmark trials always placed it a bit below the Bay Trail Compute Stick in the first pass (the second pass is as expected). Though we didn't track how long the Cherry Trail unit spent at the maximum burst frequency (1.84 GHz in theory, but only 1.6 GHz in practice, as we will see later), we believe that the Bay Trail unit is able to spend more time in that mode (max. burst of 1.83 GHz) compared to the Cherry Trail unit. It should also be noted here that the Bay Trail SoC has a SDP of 2.2W compared to the Cherry Trail's 2W. It is possible that the change in OS might also have played a role. Everything other than the Cherry Trail Compute Stick in the graph below was evaluated with Windows 8.1 Professional x64.

Video Encoding - x264 5.0 - Pass 1

Video Encoding - x264 5.0 - Pass 2


7-Zip is a very effective and efficient compression program, often beating out OpenCL accelerated commercial programs in benchmarks even while using just the CPU power. 7-Zip has a benchmarking program that provides tons of details regarding the underlying CPU's efficiency. In this subsection, we are interested in the compression and decompression MIPS ratings when utilizing all the available threads. The observed results are similar to what we obtained for the x264 benchmark.

7-Zip LZMA Compression Benchmark

7-Zip LZMA Decompression Benchmark


As businesses (and even home consumers) become more security conscious, the importance of encryption can't be overstated. CPUs supporting the AES-NI instruction for accelerating the encryption and decryption processes have, till now, been the higher end SKUs. However, with Bay Trail, even the lowly Atom series has gained support for AES-NI. The Atom x5-Z8300 in the Cherry Trail Compute Stick does have AES-NI support. TrueCrypt, a popular open-source disk encryption program can take advantage of the AES-NI capabilities. The TrueCrypt internal benchmark provides some interesting cryptography-related numbers to ponder. In the graph below, we can get an idea of how fast a TrueCrypt volume would behave in the Intel PPSTK1AW32SC and how it would compare with other select PCs. This is a purely CPU feature / clock speed based test and Cherry Trail comes out on top easily.

TrueCrypt Benchmark

Introduction and Setup Impressions Networking and Storage Performance
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  • fallaha56 - Friday, January 15, 2016 - link

    not much point IMHO, you need hevc 10bit for proper UHD bluray support...
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    "However, given the other limitations of the form factor and the system, it is unlikely that the absence of HD audio bitstreaming will bother too many consumers."

    The only content I'm aware of that uses HD audio bitstreaming is Blu-ray and this device doesn't appear to struggle with playback of 1080p24 H.264. Looks like a deal-breaker to me. Maybe the Core m3 unit won't be nerfed.
  • eanazag - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    Does it play Crysis?
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    I'd settle for 1:1 Blu-ray playback.
  • Flunk - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    It would have been nice if they shipped this with a useable amount of storage, 64GB at least. The $5 price difference isn't going to hurt anything.
  • kaidenshi - Friday, January 15, 2016 - link

    It's more than just the $5 hardware difference. Above the 32GB storage/1GB RAM mark, Microsoft considers this a full computer and not a so-called "limited device", therefore the licensing fee for Windows 10 jumps from $0 to $15, which Intel will then pass along at a $50 or more increase. At that point, the consumer may as well buy the m3 or better version.
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    Yay, you guys reviewed the new Compute Stick! The benchmark numbers are encouraging, but as was already mentioned, 32GB is pretty much a deal breaker for me. I'm using an HP Stream 11 as my primary Windows computer and it absolutely requires a 64GB SD card for storage and most of my programs are installed on SD which is a sub optimal situation. Upgrading to a next generation device of any sort, even one that will fill the mundane role of video streaming is not something I'm interested in doing if it puts me in a similar squeeze due to a lack of storage capacity. Any future devices I purchase must have at least 64GB of internal storage so while the rest of the Cherry Trail refresh looks nice, this just isn't doable.
  • rpg1966 - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    Just add a micro SD card.
  • Flunk - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    Installing your applications on a micro SD card isn't a great idea and embedded flash memory is cheap as chips, this is inexcusable.
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    I'm not arguing against the the miniscule amount of NAND for the OS, that's a travesty. However, SD cards work as well as any other storage medium in Windows. I've got a 128GB SD card in my 32GB W10 Bay Trail tablet and I don't have any issues. It's not breaking any speed records, but it's faster than is needed for a tablet of this magnitude.

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