Farming Hardware: Intel Compute Stick

Not best value, but a neat simple device you could power from a USB and leave on all the time, just needs a WiFi network too connect to.

Intel Compute Stick $150

The Compute Stick is an entire PC crammed into a small-ish HDMI dongle. Inside you’ll find a quad-core Bay Trail Atom processor, 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of onboard NAND storage. There’s also Wi-Fi 802.11n support, as well a Bluetooth and expandable microSD card storage.

As HDMI doesn’t really provide enough power to run anything powerful, the Compute Stick needs to be powered by micro-USB. One day Intel hopes that sticks like this could be powered solely by HDMI, but the current HDMI spec doesn’t allow this. As the micro-USB port is used for charging, Intel has also included a full-sized USB port on the dongle for accessories and the like.

The version of the Compute Stick that comes with Windows 8.1 with Bing will set you back $149, making it a very affordable option for light computing tasks. A Linux version of the stick will come in at just $89, though the internal hardware has been downgraded to just 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage.

For those that want to buy the Compute Stick, Intel will release it on the market at the end of Q1 2015.


Really cool thing, too bad that the linux version of this is only 1 gigabit and 8 gigabyte

I think importance will fall into a ratio between bandwidth, what the cpu can process, and the percentage of disk used at once. So to a point where even if you stored more data, your computer has a peak where it can process that data to the network.

I imagine that this is the point where more vaults are more important.

So these types of specs should or could be applied to determine the cost value of a piece of farming equipment.
These remind of the usb mining devices,


While I dont know for sure, I am fairly certain that the Intel compute sticks won’t even hold a candle to ‘real’ servers. How do you envision them being used?

To bad that the RaspberryP! doesn’t have these specs… I fear that i’ll buy this Intel computestick before that ever happens. It would be fun if these things come with Maidsafe pre-installed

I’m not sure what you mean by “real” servers, and even less how we could compare different solutions.

The point of SAFE is to shift from that model and confusing to as many tiny devices as possible. The will be all kinds of device farming, big and small. It’s impossible to point to one size fits all solutions, so I present this as yet another example for people to consider.

Sorry, I should have been way more specific. I am talking about wattage-- and I’m definitely not comparing to my stick– what I mean by a “real” server is about 60-100W of TDP more than one of these sticks knocks out, and it makes a GIGANTIC difference. As for tiny servers, as a guy who makes them, I, like you say “The more the merrier!”

Plus, mine’s cooler ;).

Or, just to provide another example-- my GPU weighs more than 2kg and consumes 250W if I’m mining or playing a game. You just can’t get that in a stick factor yet. It’s coming, though…


I’m still not sure what you’re saying @faddat. Low power is an advantage to me but it sounds like you are valuing high power consumption. Sorry if I’m misunderstanding here.

What is the gigantic difference you’re seeing, and how does that relate to wattage?

Of course your stick is cooler! :slight_smile:

@happybeing: Unfortunately, in today’s computing environment, high power consumption still means high power. It’s been changing, and it will change more, but these sticks, including my own super-cool stick, fail to get really competitive with full desktops because they cannot dissipate waste heat-- they’re just not big enough!

We’re all looking for that transition point, when really serving from devices like this becomes practical on a mass-scale. As-is, I can serve ~20-100 users from Fenix (may rebrand it: appstick). In datacenters, though, machines with the room for a heatsink & fan combo win.

Maybe it’s mostly chatter :). I’m pretty tired. We got our hardware on Monday, and it passed all tests with flying colors… meaning we’ve been hustling like mad to try & sell the thing. We’ve sold some, and I’m super-pumped… but super-tired.


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No worries, get some sleep man.

One thing to consider is the need for CPU power. What for?

Obviously to handle more throughput takes more power, but that’s tending towards bigger more centralised systems, and not what we want (cf. blockchain miners). So MaidSafe have set the parameters to make this of limited value, and ensure that small (more decentralised) is beautiful, or as Adam Lent has suggested Small Is Powerful in his book about centralisation.

Good luck with your hardware - I look forward to seeing pics and updates of your progress.

I’ve been using a Rockchip RK3188 Android-on-a-stick (quad core 1.8Ghz ARM Cortex A9) as my TV for the past year. They’re powerful wee beasties for US$60. Their biggest problem is lack of software support as the Chinese vendors don’t bother with bug fixing or upgrades, so for the support alone the Intel Stick would be worth it.

All that said, are they a better SAFE node than a dedicated Haswell Xeon server? My quad core bottom end Xeon sucks down ~60W idle with four hard drives and two SSDs. That power budget might only get you 12 Intel Sticks with attached USB hard drives.


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Definitely a server will work well; yet you won’t have that thing running in your living room @ned14 :wink:

By the way, thanks a lot for assembling the BSD port; learning more about servers lately, this is very important I think, and really good software to have for our ecosystem.

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Actually my Xeon server sits right next to where I work, and it’s so silent I can’t tell if it’s turned on or not. Haswell chips use very little power when idling. I just replaced my Android TV stick actually with a Haswell based Chromebox which is a full computer for just US$160, and my god is it faster and makes for an even better TV. You can write a normal PC BIOS into it, and therefore boot Windows or Linux or whatever you want. Unbeatable for the price.

ZFS is one of the very few filing systems which can work very well on a traditional hard drive. Just add an ARC cache on a SSD, turn on prefetch and the entire system behaves as if it’s entirely on a SSD. My non-Windows boot on my laptop is into PC-BSD precisely because the SSD in that machine is too small to house both Windows and Linux, but it’ll do Windows and BSD on slow spinning rust very well thanks to ZFS’s amazing adaptive caching algorithms.



Dawn goes Intel summer 2015 :smile:


“This year, SSDs will nearly catch up to HDD in capacity. Meanwhile, hard drives appear to be stuck at 10 TB capacity, and the technology to move beyond that size is going to be expensive once it’s perfected. HDD capacity curves already were flattening, and the next steps are likely to take some time.”

EDIT: reading the comments, it looks like this article is rather hyped up.

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You may find these of use:


Lenovo´s version:

Intel Compute Stick roadmap