Turn an HDMI display into a Windows 8.1 PC

Intel already used the Consumer Electronics Show as a platform to introduce its newest 5th Generation Core micro-architecture (14nm Broadwell), but that’s not all it wanted to show off. On a somewhat smaller scale, Intel today introduced its Compute Stick, a $149 dongle that turns your HDMI display into a low-power Windows 8.1 PC. And though it may seem similar to media streaming devices like Amazon’s Fire TV stick, you can do more with Intel’s device.

The Compute Stick is powered by an Intel Atom Z3735F Bay Trail quad-core processor, at least for now — a future version could come with a Core M CPU inside. There are two versions — one that comes preinstalled with Windows 8.1 and includes 2GB of RAM and 32GB of flash storage, and a Linux variant with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. The Linux version runs $89.

Both come with a microSD card slot to add more storage space, and both also sport a full-size USB port, micro USB, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11n Wi-Fi.

There’s enough power here to for light productivity work, surfing the web, streaming media, and more. Whether or not it proves popular we’ll have to wait and see — it’s scheduled to be available in March.