- Make sure you get the original Intel Compute Stick - we see users asking shops for Compute Sticks and instead of the Intel one the shops will sell you whatever clone they might have in stock. The clones might work just fine, but some don't have autostart on power-loss for example. So our recommendation is that you get the original Intel one, there's little reason to by any of the others.
- You probably should make sure you get the 2016 version and not the 2015 one - and also make sure it has Windows, not Android as the model names vary only slightly. The exact model number you're looking for is model number you're looking for is STK1AW32SC. The 2016 version has a slightly quicker processor, 14nm vs 22nm chip AND dual USB ports which is handy when connecting a mouse and keyboard. However, if you get a good deal on the 2015 versions, they still do the job nicely though. So get the 2015's if you really want to save as much as possible, but the 2016 is usually worth the extra cost.
- It's usually a smart thing to buy a 16GB MicroSD memory card (less than $10!) and insert it in the stick before you ship it. These sticks come with only 32 GB storage (limitation for free Windows license set by Microsoft), and an extra 16GBs will help a lot with future Windows updates etc if you download a lot of content on the device. Could save you a lot of hassle a couple of months/years up the road.
We get a lot of questions about the Compute Sticks from our clients, so here's a quick summary of our Best Practices:
Today we're testing something we know you've been anxious to hear about - the Asrock Beebox minicomputer. It comes in many variants, the one we tested was the one with N3000 CPU, 4GB memory and 128 GB SSD.
It has quite a lot of ports - they the USB-C port but it's not really necessary for Digital Signage :) But it does have 2 HDMI and 1 displayports - and a remote!
THe N3000 is a totally passive CPU - there is no fan, it's totally silent. This is a dream HTPC, and it does it's job well for a Signage player aswell - as long as you stick to the basic video looping stuff the built-in video accelleration will do nicely. The silent CPU also means less horsepower of course, so don't expect 4 Full HD videos in multizone setups. Still - most setups out there could do very well with a device like this.
- Totally silent, no fan!
- Lots of ports and connectivity. dual HDMI and DP
- Nice price for the hardware
- USB-C port
- Remote Control
- Silent version is somewhat performance limited if you do advanced multizone etc
- Doesn't come with free Windows for Bing like for example the Intel Compute stick does, so you will have to add a Windows license to your cost.
The improved 2016 Compute Stick is finally here, so the question is: how does it compare to the original from last year? ...short version is, there's not a big difference.
It does have some improvements here and there, such as (finally!!) dual USB ports so you can connect both a mouse and a keyboard at the same time. The Atom x5-Z8300 CPU is built on 14nm, and it has slightly better graphics for 3D and normal Windows usage. Like the 2015 version it has 2GB memory which is a little bit quicker than last years version, but it DOES have better wifi, which some users complained about in the 2015 versions.
Please note that the current version is a little bit "new", for example if you upgrade to Windows 1511 November update it won't recognize your wifi anymore - you must manually install the Wifi drivers afterwards via a USB stick. An annoyance, but not a big problem.
And as with the 2015 version, it's usually a good idea to add a 16GM MicroSD card to it before you ship it somewhere - just in case you need that space later. (And most likely, you will!)
- Does it's job - the 2015 sticks we've seen deployed are doing well, we expect the same from this model
- Still by far the best Compute Stick out there - don't buy anything else.
- The best solution for generic Digital Signage?
- Not really that big a change from last year's version when it comes to performance
- Storage space limited by free Windows 10 license restrictions by Microsoft - should add a MicroSD card
- Small fan? Fans always exposed to dust-issues. When will we see a fan-less version?
Some images of 2016 vs 2015 versions. If you want all the details, you can compare them on Intel Website:
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