Power Consumption and Thermal Performance

The power consumption at the wall was measured with a 1080p display being driven through the HDMI port. In the graphs below, we compare the idle and load power of the Intel PPSTK1AW32SC with other low power PCs evaluated before. For load power consumption, we ran Furmark 1.15.0 and Prime95 v28.7 (32-bit) together.

Idle Power Consumption

Load Power Consumption (Prime95 + FurMark)

Compared to the Bay Trail Compute Stick, the Cherry Trail one has higher idle and load power consumption numbers. Given the upgraded Wi-Fi, the idle number can probably be justified. The load number is more due to the upgraded GPU which delivers much better performance while also consuming as much power as possible while staying within the acceptable thermal envelope.

Our thermal stress routine starts with the system at idle, followed by 30 minutes of pure CPU loading. This is followed by another 30 minutes of both CPU and GPU being loaded simultaneously. After this, the CPU load gets removed, allowing the GPU to be loaded alone for another 30 minutes. The various clocks in the system as well as the temperatures within the unit are presented below.

According to the official specifications, the junction temperature of the Atom x5-Z8300 is 90 C. The thermal solution is able to keep all temperatures around the 80C mark without excessive throttling. In the absence of any GPU loading, the CPU cores maintain a 1.6 GHz speed. We didn't observe the cores operating at the maximum burst frequency at all (1.84 GHz). With GPU loading into the picture, the cores can drop down to as low as 900 MHz even with the CPU load active. The GPU shunts between 380 MHz and 500 MHz depending on the load and available thermal headroom. One disappointing aspect is that the idling temperature of 57 C for the CPU cores is a lot higher than what we would like.

Using the Android version of the FLIR One thermal imager, we observed the chassis temperature after the CPU package temperature reached the steady state value in the above graph.

We see that the chassis remains below 66 C even when the internal SoC is at 80 C.

HTPC Credentials Miscellaneous Aspects and Concluding Remarks
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  • ruthan - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    Even with Windows 10 license price tag is ridiculous, in comparision with ARM machines, remix mini is afaik fanless and for 40 bucks, yeah bigger form factor but who cares.. If someone needs something so small, bootable boot drive also solution, linux kernel booting almost on everything and almost everywhere is some slow pc "terminal" capable boot from usb. Reply
  • ruthan - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    Yeah with present price of memory - is only 2gb and no 64bit 4gb nonsense. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    "The eMMC capacity is only 32GB and the RAM is only 2GB - two aspects that have an artificial limitation imposed on them by Intel's decision to pre-install Windows 10 Home. Even though the information is not public, it is likely that Microsoft mandates neutering of a PC's hardware specifications in exchange for a lower price for the Windows 10 OEM license." Reply
  • ruthan - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    Yeah is probably true both these companies are masters in crippling hw and sw capabilities just for greed.. i think they maked enough. Reply
  • watzupken - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    After reading this review, I still don't see any value to the Compute stick. Currently, there are too many shortcomings with it, i.e. Limited storage, memory, very average performance, etc. Reply
  • Hector2 - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    I have a fast 3.5GHz 6-core Gulftown Windows PC but use my zippy little Celeron-based $180 Chromebox for almost ALL of my email and internet. The Windows OS needs more memory and compute resources than the Chrome OS. It'd be interesting to see if the Compute stick is as quick as my little Chromebox ... that probably won't happen soon, though. Reply
  • amdwilliam1985 - Thursday, January 14, 2016 - link

    It'll be great if the next version comes with USB type c, so it deliveries video, audio, power from 1 connector. Reply
  • darkich - Friday, January 15, 2016 - link

    I find these kind of devices to be an incomparably more fascinating pieces of technology than the biggest, baddest, most expensive pc towers out there Reply
  • Madpacket - Friday, January 15, 2016 - link

    Thanks for the review Ganesh. While interesting I'll bite once the Core M versions with more local storage and no whiny fan are available. Reply
  • kelemvor33 - Friday, January 15, 2016 - link

    Does it support wiping and reimaging with a Pro/Enterprise version? The original model did not as Intel wouldn't release drivers for it. That made it a pain to use in a business setting since you can't add it to your domain or do much remote management. Reply

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