Cherry Trail Intel Compute Stick reviewed @ AnandTech

The review reads a lot like the last rev, at least when it comes to HTPC performance, so I am a bit disappointed. That said, it is in interesting look at year-on-year gains in the form factor.

The success of UCFF PCs have made vendors realize that small and power-efficient computing platforms are here to stay. ARM SoC manufacturers, finding that the tablet market had reached saturation, kick-started a new product category in the form of ‘HDMI sticks’. As a computing platform, they were smaller than the ultra-compact form factor PCs – just looking like an oversized USB key. Intel joined the game in CES 2015 with the Bay Trail Compute Stick. The first iteration was, to put it kindly, a bit underwhelming. However, Intel showed its commitment to the form factor by announcing three new Compute Stick models at CES 2016. They included one Cherry Trail (Atom) and two Core M models.

AnandTech

  • My roommate picked up a

    My roommate picked up a Kangaroo PC (uses cherry trail and similar specs).  From playing around with it, it seems perfectly good for htpc uses.  Don’t know how well it would handle 4k playback but I’d have no issues replacing my old win 7 mce system with it once SilconDust (or another party) comes out with a decent dvr program that can handle copy once via my cable card tuner.

    • I’d be surprised if CT wasn’t

      I’d be surprised if CT wasn’t perfectly sutiable in the right configuration. I tested a BT NUC, and it was fine for most things, but the single channel memory config that Intel opted for in that system was a huge limitation for some HTPC workloads. I expect that CT, and the Compute Stick, probably have similar constraints.

      • Now you’ve got me curious

        Now you’ve got me curious what workloads people are doing on htpcs these days.  Are there nifty utilities or other things that passed me by with my old school setup that are cpu heavy?  Most of my concerns are disk IO and hardware video decoding.

        • oliverredfox wrote:

          Now

          [quote=oliverredfox]

          Now you’ve got me curious what workloads people are doing on htpcs these days.  Are there nifty utilities or other things that passed me by with my old school setup that are cpu heavy?  Most of my concerns are disk IO and hardware video decoding.

          [/quote]

          Aside from HTPC gaming, I don’t think that most systems are CPU constrained, or would be generally with a CT (Atom) based processor. The problem I was trying to highlight (and apparently failed :)), is that as an iGPU system RAM bandwidth and speed matters for any workload that has large memory allocations (e.g. video decoding, encoding, transcoding). So when Intel opted for a single channel with these CPUs, it dramatically limits flexibility (anything that required a GPU->CPU->GPU frame copy was off-limits).

          • Gotcha  Transcoding went out

            Gotcha 🙂  Transcoding went out the window for my setup after I swapped to cable card and had DRM’d copy once videos.  And rips/encoding get done on my gaming rig (which I suppose would also handle htpc gaming via moonlight or steam remote gaming).  But now I can see how having that could be useful for some people and how CT would lack It.

          • oliverredfox wrote:

            Gotcha

            [quote=oliverredfox]

            Gotcha 🙂  Transcoding went out the window for my setup after I swapped to cable card and had DRM’d copy once videos.  And rips/encoding get done on my gaming rig (which I suppose would also handle htpc gaming via moonlight or steam remote gaming).  But now I can see how having that could be useful for some people and how CT would lack It.

            [/quote]

            I’m pretty sure that CT has HWA encode/decode. The limitations should be specific to boxes that only implement one RAM channel. Otherwise, it should work fine for most use cases (HEVC 4K is probalby off the table though).

      • I just redid my setup about a

        I just redid my setup about a week ago.  The old htpc got a bigger video card tossed in it and is being repurposed into a digital pinball machine.  And I replaced it with a low power dual core mITX box with 2gb of ram.  More than enough for recording both 3x SilconDust cable card boxes, handle local and Xbox playback.  Now I’m hoping you won’t name some nifty feature I’ll be kicking myself for not doing something with a bit more power.