Performance Metrics

Many of our mini-PC benchmark programs are available only on 64-bit systems. Since the Intel PPSTK1SW32SC ships with a 32-bit version of Windows 10, many of the benchmarks in our standard test suite for low power desktops / industrial PCs could not be processed on the Compute Stick. As a result, these benchmarks were either removed or adjusted, and this is noted where necessary.

Futuremark PCMark 8

PCMark 8 provides various usage scenarios (home, creative and work) and offers ways to benchmark both baseline (CPU-only) as well as OpenCL accelerated (CPU + GPU) performance. We benchmarked select PCs for the OpenCL accelerated performance in all three usage scenarios. They key takeaway from these graphs is that the red scores (Cherry Trail) are quite a bit better than the blue scores (Bay Trail) when considering the fact that they are both systems with a similar form factor and power consumption profiles. Obviously, the more powerful / higher TDP Braswell systems such as the Beebox come out on top when compared to the Cherry Trail Compute Stick.

Futuremark PCMark 8 - Home OpenCL

Futuremark PCMark 8 - Creative OpenCL

Futuremark PCMark 8 - Work OpenCL

Miscellaneous Futuremark Benchmarks

Futuremark PCMark 7 - PCMark Suite Score

Futuremark 3DMark 11 - Entry Score

Futuremark 3DMark 2013 - Cloud Gate Score

The lead in the GPU section is much more for Cherry Trail compared to the benchmarks where both CPU and GPU both matter.

We now move on to look at the benchmark modes in programs used on a day-to-day basis, i.e, application performance and not synthetic workloads.

x264 Benchmark

First off, we have some video encoding benchmarks courtesy of x264 HD Benchmark v5.0. This is simply a test of CPU performance. We should be expecting Cherry Trail to win easily, but repeated benchmark trials always placed it a bit below the Bay Trail Compute Stick in the first pass (the second pass is as expected). Though we didn't track how long the Cherry Trail unit spent at the maximum burst frequency (1.84 GHz in theory, but only 1.6 GHz in practice, as we will see later), we believe that the Bay Trail unit is able to spend more time in that mode (max. burst of 1.83 GHz) compared to the Cherry Trail unit. It should also be noted here that the Bay Trail SoC has a SDP of 2.2W compared to the Cherry Trail's 2W. It is possible that the change in OS might also have played a role. Everything other than the Cherry Trail Compute Stick in the graph below was evaluated with Windows 8.1 Professional x64.

Video Encoding - x264 5.0 - Pass 1

Video Encoding - x264 5.0 - Pass 2


7-Zip is a very effective and efficient compression program, often beating out OpenCL accelerated commercial programs in benchmarks even while using just the CPU power. 7-Zip has a benchmarking program that provides tons of details regarding the underlying CPU's efficiency. In this subsection, we are interested in the compression and decompression MIPS ratings when utilizing all the available threads. The observed results are similar to what we obtained for the x264 benchmark.

7-Zip LZMA Compression Benchmark

7-Zip LZMA Decompression Benchmark


As businesses (and even home consumers) become more security conscious, the importance of encryption can't be overstated. CPUs supporting the AES-NI instruction for accelerating the encryption and decryption processes have, till now, been the higher end SKUs. However, with Bay Trail, even the lowly Atom series has gained support for AES-NI. The Atom x5-Z8300 in the Cherry Trail Compute Stick does have AES-NI support. TrueCrypt, a popular open-source disk encryption program can take advantage of the AES-NI capabilities. The TrueCrypt internal benchmark provides some interesting cryptography-related numbers to ponder. In the graph below, we can get an idea of how fast a TrueCrypt volume would behave in the Intel PPSTK1AW32SC and how it would compare with other select PCs. This is a purely CPU feature / clock speed based test and Cherry Trail comes out on top easily.

TrueCrypt Benchmark

Introduction and Setup Impressions Networking and Storage Performance
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  • AmdInside - Friday, January 15, 2016 - link

    Can you comment how well it works as a Minecraft vanilla server? I picked up a Liva before and it kept crashing on Windows and Ubuntu for some reason so had to return it but wanted to buy something similar again
  • PragmaticPraxis - Saturday, January 16, 2016 - link

    Does anyone have any experience with using a Compute Stick headless, using Remote Desktop? Do you need some sort of HDMI dongle?
    I ask because I see a use for me as a light weight FlexLM license server for a traveling computer lab environment. But I would want to simply plug it in to power and be done. if I need to have it connected to K, V & M then a cheap Windows tablet starts looking more attractive, at least when it comes to travel.
  • jasperjones - Sunday, January 17, 2016 - link

    I used to visit Anandtech all the time. Now I rarely come here. Here's the reason: I think this review has little relevance for real life.

    Instead of what you're doing, I would compare this device with:
    - RPi 2
    - Apple TV
    - Nexus Player
    - Amazon Fire TV

    Also, I would comment on Linux performance. Seriously, 2GB RAM and Windows??
  • andrewaggb - Monday, January 18, 2016 - link

    I somewhat agree. The review is about the technical details, but some actual use cases would be nice as well. I'm actually somewhat interested in the cheap version (32gb, 2gb, atom) but I'd like to know that it can handle my use cases.

    How does itunes and movies/shows/audio from itunes work on it (versus say an apple tv). I'm a
    big fan of the new apple tv, but it cost me more than the compute stick and does a lot less.

    If I use it as a steam link to stream a game from a more powerful pc, how well does it work?

    Does XBMC or a similar front end work well.

    Can you install linux on it, boot from usb (with legacy bios), etc?
  • mkozakewich - Sunday, January 17, 2016 - link

    These are basically the same thing as equivalent tablets, except without the screen. I'd take a Chuwi Vi8 instead.
  • yon1000 - Monday, January 18, 2016 - link

    I truly don't understand the Price of the compute sticks - 150$+
    Windows Tablets cost as low as 100$ with the same processor and RAM these tablets have. and they add an HD display, a battery, Bluetooth and other hardware stuff, and above all they come with Windows 10 Installed and 1 year license of Office 365.
    So how come the compute sticks cost 50% more compared to Windows Tablets?
  • piasabird - Monday, January 18, 2016 - link

    I consider a compute stick to be a toy. Windows will not work on it well. If it came with some kind of Linux like a tablet has it might be comparable to a tablet, but not a desktop. It is just a toy.
  • velanapontinha - Monday, January 18, 2016 - link

    Ads are on overdrive on this website! Seriously, a giant ad for something related to National Geographic and an enormous "find a mexican lady" youporn-like photo is NOT the way to keep this site a respected one. Please stop this. Income is not everything, Purch!
  • 074geodude - Monday, January 18, 2016 - link

    My ad blocker only showed two blocked ads, that's actually really good. I've seen many sites that are a lot worst, some with 30+ blocked ads.
  • BurntMyBacon - Monday, January 18, 2016 - link

    Can we get a mainstream build for comparison just to see how far these miniature systems have come? It would also be a good comparison to show where these systems might be sub par. You could break out a separate section of the article or even a whole separate article on the state of miniature computing. This will be especially interesting when the Core-M sticks arrive.

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