Thinking of an Intel Compute Stick?

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Read this first. Every issue laid out here, especially the WiFi stability, I am encountering now. This morning the ICS was up and running, dead on WiFi, but still showing a connection, passing no packets. Also once rebooted the Risevision player will only display a black screen even after putting up a new schedule. So am not even sure what is up with that yet.

http://gizmodo.com/intel-compute-stic...
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Buzz K

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Posted 3 years ago

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Blake Freeman, Official Rep

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Buzz,

Thanks for the heads up! I'm going to put in an order for a couple of these so we can test on them and get a better idea of what we're up against. Seems like they could be pretty popular assuming the kinks get worked out.
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Tyler Johnson, Employee

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I can confirm that wifi on the compute stick is problematic to say the least.  Especially if you're trying to use a bluetooth device at the same time.  The device as a whole seems to be underpowered for a full windows os install. 
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Buzz K

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I cleared up the black screen issue. That was ummm ... self inflicted.
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Blake Freeman, Official Rep

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Have you already installed Rise Player on it? If you're getting a black screen after installing Rise Player, it's because Rise Player kills explorer.exe. Press control+alt+delete and click File->Run, type explorer and press enter.
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North Cowichan

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Yes i've already installed it, and I know how to restart explorer...
The issue is when the player launches I get the load screen then BLACK the presentation doesn't start.  Also at that point if I hit CTRL-SHIFT-Q to exit it does nothing, i'm just stuck with a black screen until I relaunch explorer.
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Darius - PRODO.us, Champion

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If u know how to restart Explorer, then u must know how CTRL+ALT+DEL works )
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North Cowichan

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That doesn't address the issue, and in case you were referring to restarting the compute stick yes I have done that.

After leaving one running for a while it took about 10 minutes and then restarted the player and loaded the presentation without issue.  It is almost as though it has to Cache, but didn't take nearly this long to load a presentation before I wiped the OS.

I've submitted a new post as I guess this is a different issue, I was hoping for some incite as to how Buzz K had fixed it.
(Edited)
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Darius - PRODO.us, Champion

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My point was to use CTRL+ALT+DEL instead of CTRL-SHIFT-Q
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Terry Ross

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Dump Windows and run Linux. They are also getting hot 57C on the outer case !
Not a great first entry by Intel. There are lots of lesser applications for this product.
Heat = obsolescence  Fork over the extra $100 in the store for those larger boxes
and double sided tape it to back of screen. Ps don't buy the Linux version of the Intel Compute Stick. Has half the RAM and four time less flash! for only a few dollars less. If you must, buy the Windows version, dump Windows and load Ubuntu.
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Darius - PRODO.us, Champion

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I set one of those for testing today. But it is on our local network with one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Unitek-Converte...

Stick is working fine, but it is apparently slower than Chromebox. All the content is playing fine except scroll (auto scrolling calendar or ticker), which is a bit choppy. I guess it is OK, but i am not to keen of it. I ill keep it running for a little bit and see how it does.

Installation was not too difficult. I've got lost in the new Windows 10 settings as there is no clear guidelines available for setting RV. Basically I turned off every notification i could find, changed settings so it would not go to sleep or shut off, set task-bar to auto-hide, disabled lock-screen and log-in. Not sure if i missed anything. Also, any ideas how should I address security problem? Should I leave it on whatever Windows 10 has in there or should i get something for it?
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RV News

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Like you, we have turned off every notifiaction, app etc.

We have also disabled everything under Privacy Settings, (General, Location, Camera, Microphone... Feedback and Diagnostics)

Make sure you have disabled Windows update delivery optimization. If this feature is enabled your computer may get updates from or send updates to neighbouring computers or computers on your network.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Click on Update and Security
  3. Under Windows Update, click Advanced Options in the right side of Window
  4. Under Updates from more than one place, Click on the Choose how updates are delivered and then move the slider to Off position, to disable Windows Update Delivery Optimization (WUDO).
  5. Move the slider to OFF so that the your PC cannot download updates from anywhere other than Microsoft servers.

Windows firewall and Defender - Default settings (On)

Note: Our player is an Intel NUC running Windows 10
(Edited)
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Darius - PRODO.us, Champion

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Thank you for your recommendations.

Also, It has been running without any problem for few days. It runs pretty warm, but I would not call it hot. I installed TeamView service (free, personal license) for monitoring and remote control. It works like a charm! best thing ever:) This, this is what I need for Chromeboxes too! Not sure if I can have TeamView working the same way in Chrome; will take a look later.
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Darius - PRODO.us, Champion

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So, out Intel Compustick has been running for a few weeks now. Although, they guy is a bit slow, but I must say I like it a lot. It was pulling everything I threw at it just fine. As i mentioned earlier, TeamViewer remote control made it very easy to monitor and manage. I have a USB keyboard/touchpad connected to it, but I preffered using Teamviewer instead :) It is so much better then Chromebox and way cheaper. The only major problem I've had wit it was terrible WiFi connection when the signal is weak. So I bough inexpensive $20 WiFi USB antenna-adapter (with extension cable). Windows 10 found and installed all the necessary drivers, although the manufacturer does not support Windows 10. I must say I've got it working really well and we decided after the next Chromebox failure we are gonna replace them with Intel Computesticks. 
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Terry Ross

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You might want to look a little further. It works better than a Chromebox, isn't saying much of anything. In addition to bad WiFi Computesticks over heat. Not designed for long term use
like this. If you must use Windows checkout the Chinese "dual boot" boxes. They use the same intel chip and cool much better. And when you come to your senses (which will be the next time you have to buy a Windows licence), You can boot right in to Android.
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Darius - PRODO.us, Champion

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Thank you Terry for little sarcasm ;). First, this is just a test unit and I would definitely go with a bit more powerful unit. Second, it has been working for like a month non-stop without any overheating issues. But we most likely are going to use these for simple projects like building directories.
Please elaborate more on Windows license. Excuse my ignorance, but I am not aware of it; would really like to hear about it more.

p.s. Definitely not going with Android device. Been there, done that. Worked OK, but somewhat limited.
(Edited)
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Frank Iversen

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It the Compute stick made for 24/7?   We only need 16 hours a day.
What we have done with the intel compute stick is to create a scheduled task that shut down the unit in the evening. Then we have a manual timer in the wallsocket which removes the power a few min. laters. When the power is restored in the morning, a couple of min. before the TV is scheduled to power on, the power to intel gets back and it start automatically.
This works very good.

But would be intereseting to hear if it is better to let the compute stick be 24/7 rather han turn it down every night. My friends tells me electric stuff is more pleased to be running than to be turned on and off "all the time"..
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RPTDigital Signage

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Frank,
I've done a bunch of heat related testing on the Kangaroo PC which is passively cooled. Search this forum for Kangaroo PC and you'll see some of it. I have NOT tested an Intel Compute Stick but they have a tiny internal fan and would have similar throttling issues on heating.

Heat will eventually shorten the life of any system, but these Intel Atom low cost players have aggressive throttling to protect them, from failure. They will slow down to as little as 25-30% of nominal ratings. Once hot, you will see video stuttering and a general slowdown of response if you're running demanding presentations loaded with videos. But they will run and keep running.

We're building a cooler and mount for the Kangaroo PC for our integrated signage projects,  so it makes a much higher performance low cost Windows 10 player. We've had a heat wave for the past week and I've run two Kangaroo PCs in our non-air conditioned assembly shop, 24/7 for over 7 days, one is cooled the other standard.

On this test we're not running Rise Vision because it can't fully load the processor, so I've run HeavyLoad so the CPU and GPU are 100% loaded 100% of the time, a situation you'll never see in the real world. Neither cooled or uncooled unit has missed a beat. The Kangaroo PC has a small built in battery good for 2-4 hours and we've had numerous short power outages in those 7 days without stopping or rebooting. Ambient temperature have peaked at 86.1F with 65% RH.  

Sometimes, even in air conditioned locations the area we mount players can be brutally hot, signage monitors run hot and if mounted close to the wall or in an enclosed kiosk you need to know how hot they will get in worst case. But again, they likely won't die, they'll just slow down if they get too hot.

In similar tests on Rise Vision, running what we call a Video Torture test Presentation we have never had a problem with Rise Vision daily rebooting of the player and 24/7 power on.

I personally believe that powering off a really hot unit that's fan cooled (Intel Stick) might cause subtle damage because the heat soak of the CPU and surrounding electronics. Passively cooled units are better at shutdown because they don't rely on a fan to move air, but we've had very hot Kanagroo PCs that we shut down through WIndows and then they did not reboot properly until they had cooled for a few minutes.

If you're rolling out 50 screens, test, test and test some more. Stress the units, purposely heat or insulate the player to make it hotter and see how it reacts and be 100% sure of your reliability and then roll out 50 units and still sleep at night.
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Darius - PRODO.us, Champion

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I am satisfied with Intel Compute Sticks and I have said this many times over in this forum. They are really capable for what they are. They can take your 'regular' digital signage content and then some like champs; no problem day in day out. I never shut them down, just restart once in 24h. I had them sitting closed in tiny card box for a week - no problem (I posted about this experiment here in the forum). The only two moments I had Intel stick really throttling and struggling bad was when I tried live TV streaming on it and  played 1080p high definition video. With the TV streaming there was nothing I could do about it - it required a little bit more powerful device. HD video problem was solved by scaling it down to 720p. The lesson is: do not attempt streaming videos on Intel Stick, but would you need to do so, keep 'em as light as possible.
I've done 1080P background video loops on my 2nd gen computer stick wothout a problem. You should also be able to do streaming video as well.

The thing about video is "video performance" is a meaningless statement. There are many codecs to choose from and they perform differently on different hardware and software. Your video performance is very much dependent on the video and audio codecs being used.

I reencode my videos as h.264 and remove audio completely which provides perfectly fine 1080P playback. This is optimal as both Chromium and Intel graphics support hardware decoding which greatly reduces CPU usage.
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Alex, Champion

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Here's a couple things I have done to help get more reliability from Compute Sticks:
1) Go to device manager and double click on all USB's and network adapters. Go to power management, and Un-check "Turn this device off to save power"
2) Some compute sticks - especially the earlier ones will actually go to sleep or hibernate when the TV is turned off. You can disable sleep mode entirely with these directions: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xragaj9wv3z...

These are my own suggestions I've used with our players. Works for me, but Use at your own Risk.
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Jeffrey Barnes

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I've been using the sticks for almost a year continuous with no hardware issues.  I have had some video issues with larger files that are likely Wifi related, but no other hardware issues.  

I think the article reviewed Gen 1 and they have made some significant improvements since then.  Not using a combo keyboard and mouse from the start was pretty funny!