Intel Kills Off Compute Card

Posted on March 22, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Windows 10 with 7 Comments

Two years after it first introduced the credit card-sized PC, Intel confirmed that it has now killed off the Compute Card.

“We continue to believe [that] modular computing is a market where there are many opportunities for innovation,” an Intel statement first provided to Tom’s Hardware explains. “However, as we look at the best way to address this opportunity, we’ve made the decision that we will not develop new Compute Card products moving forward. We will continue to sell and support the current Compute Card products through 2019 to ensure our customers receive the support they need with their current solutions, and we are thankful for their partnership on this change.”

Intel announced the first Compute Card at CES in January 2017, and it was innovative enough that I included it in my Best of CES roundup that year.

“Determined not to cede the ultra-mobile market to ARM, Intel unleashed an unexpected treat at CES 2017, the Intel Compute Card,” I wrote at the time. “This credit card-sized PC can power IoT-based devices or be used as a standalone computer, and it features a USB-C Plus extension connector for USB, PCIe, HDMI, DisplayPort, and other PC capabilities. But the processor, RAM, storage, and wireless connectivity are available right on the card. This is an innovative and versatile form factor that will take the PC to new usage scenarios in 2017.”

Compute Card was designed to compete with other small form-factor (SFF) PCs, including those based on USB sticks. It was offered a variety of configurations, from low-end Celeron/Pentium-based systems to more capable Y-series Core i3 and i5 variants. Each shipped with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC (on the low-end) or 128 GB of SSD storage. Intel also allowed hardware makers to integrate Compute Card into their own solutions using a Compute Card Device Design Kit. I’m guessing that few took up Intel on this offer, though I reported in January 2017 that NexDock was one of them.

Indeed, NexDock was among the first to signal a warning about Compute Card.

“We just found out that the future of Compute Card is uncertain,” a NexDock blog post revealed yesterday. Intel might not come up with a new generation Compute Card and their 7th generation CPU might be the last one to be manufactured … we are putting the NexPad project on hold until there is more visibility about the future of Compute Cards.”

Ah well. It was a cool idea, and I’m surprised it wasn’t more successful.

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