The Less-Powerful Intel Compute Stick With Ubuntu Will Soon Ship
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 2 July 2015 at 04:49 PM EDT. 18 Comments
Canonical confirmed today that the Intel Compute Stick preloaded with Ubuntu will go on sale next week at $110.

This Intel Compute Stick that's a little larger than a USB thumb drive is a full-blown computer when paired with an HDMI monitor/TV. There's one USB port on this Intel Bay Trail powered device.

The Ubuntu version of the Compute Stick is around $110 compared to $150 for the Windows 8 version, however, that price difference isn't due to the "Microsoft tax" but rather having lesser hardware. The huge pity of the Ubuntu version (STCJ1A8LFC) is that it only has 1GB of DDR3L memory rather than 2GB and 8GB of eMMC storage rather than 32GB. The rest of the specs are the same with the Intel Atom Z3735F Bay Trail SoC, Intel HD Graphics, etc. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit is preloaded while the Windows version has Windows 8.1 32-bit.

Having only half the RAM and a quarter of the storage severely limits the capabilities of the Linux version of this initial Compute Stick... While one could argue that Linux is less resource intensive than Windows, etc, show me mainstream Linux desktop users who are quite content with 1GB over 2GB and would be fine with 8GB over 32GB, while just being a difference of ~$40. Last month I bought the Windows Compute Stick for Linux benchmarking and have enjoyed its relatively good performance. You can load modern Linux distributions fine on the Intel Compute Stick for Windows (and disable Secure Boot) just the main problem is no mainline support for the built-in WiFi chipset as of Linux 4.1 (haven't yet checked compatibility with Linux 4.2).

Given the hardware differences, unless you're to run an extremely basic setup, I sadly have to recommend buying the Windows version of the Intel Compute Stick over the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS version. Another major point is that you'll definitely want to upgrade to the Linux 4.1+ kernel (compared to what's shipping in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS) for much better Intel Bay Trail performance!

Those wanting to buy the better Compute Stick today can find it at Canonical's thoughts on the Ubuntu Compute Stick can be found at
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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