Those of you who are a part of the overclocking or gaming community appreciate the appeal of more power. A couple more frames can mean the difference between victory and defeat. And you're constantly striving to get just a few more megahertz out of your system or a few more points on a benchmark. For the average consumer, though, these kinds of systems can indeed be overkill and they just want something cheap and simple. And it doesn't get much simpler than plugging in a single dongle into the back of a monitor, as would be the case with the Intel Compute Stick.
This is hardly the first time we've seen this ambitious little device, as the Intel Compute Stick first made its appearance (albeit in concept form) a few years ago. Now, the little dongle that could is ready for retail and prices can start as low as $89. In many ways, the Intel Compute Stick is not unlike the Asus Chromebit, except it does appear to be a little bit bigger. In both case, you get a real computer that can easily fit in the palm of your hand or disappear behind your monitor.
It appears that Intel Compute Stick will only come in one core configuration, but with two different operating systems. There's a quad-core Atom processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, HDMI, USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity. The Linux model is supposed to retail for $89, but early pre-orders are listing at $130 plus shipping. If you want Windows 8.1, it'll cost you between $150 and $180 plus shipping. Prices should come back down after the early adopter wave subsides. For comparison, the Chromebit from Asus is going to be under $100.
Pre-orders for the Intel Compute Stick are being taken now with delivery expected to follow on May 6.