Intel unveiled its credit card-sized Compute Card at CES earlier this year, and now at Computex, the company has brought us up to speed on the available SKUs and the release date.

The Compute Card comes packed with the full functionality of a standard computer, including an SoC, connectivity, storage, and memory in one slim device. The device slots into a range of devices from laptops, tablets, and AIOs to interactive refrigerators and IoT gateways. The devices can be ejected and replaced, thus decoupling compute from the device and allowing for easy upgrades as the card evolves into more powerful variants. That could also make for interesting new laptop platforms with longer shelf lives.

Intel Compute Card SKUs
CPU Core i5-7Y57 Core m3-7Y30 Pentium N4200 Celeron N3450
Memory 4GB DDR3
Storage 128GB Intel SSD 64GB eMMC
Connectivity Intel Wireless-AC 8265
(2×2 .11ac & Bluetooth 4.2)
Intel Wireless-AC 7265
(2×2 .11ac & Bluetooth 4.2)

The Compute Card family offers processors that span from Core to Celeron and come in four SKUs. Each respective product has varying compute, storage, and connectivity options, though the processor serves as the only differentiation between the two high-end options. Aside from listing the processors, Intel hasn't given us an indication of performance.

Intel has signed on a bevy of partners to develop new products that leverage the device, including Contec, ECS, Foxconn, LG Display, MoBits Electronics, NexDock, Sharp, Seneca, SMART Technologies, Suzhou Lehui Display, and TabletKiosk. Many of these partners will have products on display at Computex 2017. Dell, HP, and Lenovo are also working on new products, but have yet to reveal any of the end devices.

Intel also released its Compute Card Device Design Kit, which is a set of guides and reference designs that simplify and speed up the product development process.

In many ways Intel's Compute Card signifies the company's continued push for product diversification as it delves into IoT, automated driving, and other lucrative climes. In this case, its efforts also further its objectives in the mobility space, as we can expect new laptops and AIOs to come to market with the new cards installed. The Compute Card will begin shipping in August 2017, but Intel hasn't revealed pricing info.

Paul Alcorn contributed to this report

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  • Cloakstar - Friday, June 2, 2017 - link

    The Achilles heel of this plan is insistence on inclusion of the storage and RAM in the compute card. The point seems to be to make upgrades easy, and make a "laptop" a hybrid peripheral device.
    The problem is, the solution as presented appears to exchange the 2-hour "headache" of carefully opening up a few chassis screws for the real multi-day pain of reinstalling the OS, reinstalling programs, migrating all your files, re-establishing your desktop and other settings, etc. etc...
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, June 2, 2017 - link

    Some of those problems can be mitigated. Ship the card with the OS already in place. Use a high capacity external drive and a migration tool to move data and settings. Settings and data can alternatively be stored in the data center or any other non-local server/cloud system. Yes, there'll still be settle-in time, but there are a lot of businesses or config scenarios that make that sort of pain moot. Intel envisioned these things more for appliance, kiosk, or automotive use rather than directly as client workstations or home PCs (detailed in the original article...laptop usage at this point seems speculative rather than confirmed). Maybe there's potential in the end-user market for something like that eventually, but that will probably hinge on the success of the hardware in appliances.
  • phoenix_rizzen - Friday, June 2, 2017 - link

    Will be interesting to see if any TV makers will use this for their SmartTVs. I doubt it, but it would be nice to be able to buy a high-end dumb panel, and then slot in a Compute Card with the desired "Smart" OS installed. Could be Windows, Android, AndroidTV, Roku, etc.
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Friday, June 2, 2017 - link

    Need a free computer?

    Just grab that card computer while Joe is out to lunch
    Boy will he be surprised when he finds replacing his computer every couple of days isn't working out so well

    Hey look at that medical equipment with a credit card computer, I bet my card computer will work just as well.......
    WOW, now we can play tetris!
  • zodiacfml - Saturday, June 3, 2017 - link

    This will fail in price. If I have to guess, more than twice the price of a Compute Stick
  • Jay Mapother - Monday, June 5, 2017 - link

    PCs have always been modular.
    How about hot-swapping CPUs while the system is still running? How about a barebone x86 CPU embedded in the BIOS to bootstrap the system and keep it running while you swap the compute unit? If only I could afford to patent the torrent of unwanted ideas my idle brain generates !

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