Recap: Intel has a desktop PC it wants to sell you that you can fit in your pocket. It is called the Compute Stick (CS125). It runs Windows 10 and retails for under $120.
The CS125 sports a quad-core Intel Atom X5-Z8300 processor clocked at 1.44GHz (burst up to 1.84GHz) and Intel HD graphics. It has 2GB DDR3L 1600MHz soldered down single-channel memory running Windows 10. It is equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 and integrated 802.11ac. Surprisingly, even with all that hardware, Intel managed to pack in two USB ports (one 3.0, one 2.0).
The Compute Stick can plug into any monitor with an HDMI port, making it ideal for traveling or just plugging into a desktop monitor for a clutter-free workspace. It comes with either 32 or 64GB of onboard storage, but also has an SD slot for easy expansion.
Now obviously this is not going to replace your high-end workstation or your gaming rig, but it is great for light work, browsing the internet, video streaming, and more. If you have kids that are about to be old enough for their own computer, it would make a great, hassle-free and cheap alternative for a homework computer.
The Compute Stick has been around for a while, but the price has come down over time. It originally launched in 2016 for around $160. Last year around this time Zotac announced its Zbox PI220 and PI221. These were virtually identical in terms of specs, but Zotac sacrificed the USB 2.0 port for a 10/100 Ethernet jack.
Today, Zotac’s tiny PC (Zbox PI223) is going for around $170 ($163 on Newegg), while Intel’s Compute Stick is available from Amazon for $119. Pair it up with your choice of monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and you have a great light-weight alternative to a tower for only a few hundred bucks.