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Performance/Functionality on the Intel Compute Stick (Sterling City) with Ubuntu, Chromium OS & Android-x86 OSes

posted 24 Feb 2016, 06:05 by Ian MORRISON   [ updated 27 Apr 2016, 02:38 ]
I've already described in some detail how to install Ubuntu, Chromium OS and various Android-x86 operating systems on the Intel Compute Stick (Sterling City) however I thought it would be useful to see at a glance some key features or limitations for those who are considering what to install but are interested to know what to expect.

Rather than run extensive benchmarks I've chosen to run Octane 2 in a Chrome or Chromium browser (depending on the OS) to give indicative possible performance variations. The results are as follows:

Android-x86 4.4-r5


Android-x86 5.1-rc1


Phoenix OS 1.0.3 Beta


Remix OS Alpha


Chromium OS


Chromium OS Ubuntu chroot




Performance Summary

Tabulating and comparing the Octane 2 scores shows an 'as expected' improvement in performance as you run closer to bare metal. It should also be noted that the performance of Chromium OS is going to be heavily influenced by the speed of the USB used. In this case I used a 32GB SanDisk Cruzer Ultra Fit USB3.0 drive plugged into a USB2.0 extension cradle which was plugged into an un-powered USB3.0 hub connected to the USB2.0 port.  Why? Because that's what is convenient for me and I found it made no difference to the performance of my usage cases by plugging the drive directly into the USB3.0 port. YMMV!
Core Functionality

Aside from the need to additionally install GApps on two of the Android-x86 variants, the most noticeable difference across the OS was the maximum quality achievable for playing YouTube videos. For some this may be the fundamental influencer as to what OS they choose to use as the range in quality basically covers the whole spectrum.

One notable highlight is that wifi works across the board and this is one of the major improvements the new Sterling City version offers over Falls City.

Finally you'll notice that I have audio working at all times. Please see my separate posting on how I've achieved this or otherwise assume no audio for each OS.