Intel to ship thumb-sized Compute Sticks with Skylake chips in late April

Online stores list the new Compute Sticks with Core M3 and M5 chips becoming available around May 6 or 7

If you've been waiting patiently for Intel's new Compute Sticks with Skylake chips, there's good news: Those thumb-sized PCs will start shipping on April 29.

The three Compute Sticks, which have Intel's Core M3 and M5 chips, can turn a TV or display with an HDMI port into a PC. All you need to do is plug the Compute Stick into the HDMI port.

These new Compute sticks were announced in January at CES. Starting at US $299, the Skylake-based Compute Sticks aren't priced as low as older models but pack the processing power of lightweight laptops.

The benefits of Compute Sticks are still debated. These computers rate high in portability but have memory, storage, and port limitations. Users also need to lug around a wireless keyboard and mouse.

The $299 Intel Compute Stick STK2m364CC has a Core M3-6Y30 processor running at up to 2.2GHz. It won't come with any OS preinstalled.

The $395 STK2m3W64CC will also have the Core M3-6Y30 chip and come with Windows 10. The computer can be ordered on Amazon.com for $359.95, and it will ship on May 6.

The most expensive product of the lot is the Compute Stick STK2mv64CC, which is priced at $485. It has a Core M5-6Y57 processor that has a clock speed of up to 2.80GHz. It will not include an OS. It's priced at $479 on BH Photo and Video's website, which says the Compute Stick will be available on May 7.

Common features in the Compute Sticks include 64GB of storage, 4GB of low-power DDR3 memory, Intel HD Graphics 515 integrated graphics, an HDMI 1.4b port, 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.2, a USB 3.0 slot and a MicroSDXC card reader.

Users will be able to install Windows or Linux on Compute Sticks shipping without operating systems. Intel hasn't announced Chrome OS support for the devices yet.

The Compute Sticks with Skylake chips could be targeted at enterprises, which are increasingly using thin clients and want flexibility on what OSes to install. The $485 Compute Stick STK2mv64CC supports Intel vPro, a management and security tool, allowing system administrators to remotely troubleshoot, erase data, or shut down the PC.

During CES, Intel also introduced two other Compute Sticks, the $129 STK1A32SC and the $139 STK1AW32SC, with Atom chips code-named Cherry Trail. Those PCs are already on sale.

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