Last month ASUS announced its NUC-sized Chromebox, a small form factor affordable desktop running Google's Chrome OS. The Chromebox will be available with three different CPU options, all based on Intel's Haswell architecture (dual-core Celeron 2955U, Core i3-4010U or Core i7-4600U). Contrary to what ASUS told us last month, none of these units are fanless. 

The ASUS Chromebox will start at $179 for the dual-core 1.4GHz Celeron 2955U model. The very low price point includes 2GB of memory, a 16GB M.2 SSD, 100GB of Google Drive space, and dual-band 802.11n WiFi.

ASUS Chromebox
  ASUS Chromebox Intel Haswell NUC
OS Preloaded Google Chrome OS None
CPU Intel Celeron 2955U (2C/2T 1.4GHz 2MB L3)
Intel Core i3-4010U (2C/4T 1.7GHz 3MB L3)
Intel Core i7-4600U (2C/4T 2.1/3.3GHz 4MB L3)
Intel Core i3-4010U (2C/4T 1.7GHz 3MB L3)
Intel Core i5-4250U (2C/4T 1.3/2.6GHz 3MB L3)
GPU Celeron: Intel HD (200/1000MHz)
Core i3: Intel HD 4400 (200/1000MHz)
Core i7: Intel HD 4400 (200/1100MHz)
Core i3: Intel HD 4400 (200/1000MHz)
Core i5: Intel HD 5000 (200/1000MHz)
Memory 2GB/4GB configs, 2 x DDR3 SO-DIMM Slots 2 x DDR3 SO-DIMM Slots
Storage 16GB M.2 SSD + 100GB Google Drive for 2 years 1 x mini PCIe (full length)
LAN 10/100/1000 Ethernet 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Wireless dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n, BT 4.0 1 x mini PCIe (half length)
External I/O SD card reader
4 x USB 3.0
1 x HDMI
1 x DisplayPort
1 x Audio Jack (mic-in/speaker out)
4 x USB 3.0
1 x mini HDMI
1 x mini DisplayPort
1 x Audio Jack (mic-in/speaker out)
Power Supply 65W 65W
Dimensions 4.88" x 4.88" x 1.65" 4.59" x 4.41" x 1.36"
Starting Price $179 $285

The Chromebox is available for preorder now at Amazon, Newegg and Tiger Direct with systems shipping on March 14th. ASUS doesn't plan to do a preorder for the Core i3 version (also available on the 14th), and the Core i7 version won't be available in North America. 

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  • Antiflash - Friday, March 7, 2014 - link

    Can I install linux as in any other x86 machine or it is locked to chrome in anyway? I want to try Lunux again (Used Debian during like college 15 years ago) and this would be a cheap way to test some Linux flavors without messing with the computer I use for work. Reply
  • Ken_g6 - Friday, March 7, 2014 - link

    I might be interested in installing Linux on this too, for use as a PVR to replace my very old laptop that can't actually play HD video.

    But for just trying out Linux, I suggest virtual machine software on your current PC, such as VirtualBox.
    Reply
  • schizoide - Friday, March 7, 2014 - link

    The Acer C720 chromebook costs $199, $20 more than this chromebox. Differences are that it comes with a battery (built-in UPS!) and a screen, but it lacks the ethernet port and analog audio-out. It does have HDMI-out.

    Like all chrome hardware, it is very easy to install linux on the C720, and I'm sure it'll be easy on the asus box too. I was thinking about using it as a HTPC, and you can of course just boot off a XBMC OpenELEC flash drive too.
    Reply
  • schizoide - Friday, March 7, 2014 - link

    My mistake, the C720 does have analog audio out! So really, it just lacks the ethernet port. Reply
  • schizoide - Friday, March 7, 2014 - link

    Also, it is no longer necessary to leave ChromeOS and install linux to run XBMC! There's a new project called "crouton" that runs a full X-windows shell in a chroot environment inside of ChromeOS. Google it, comes up right away. Pretty sweet looking. Reply
  • Zinc64 - Friday, March 7, 2014 - link

    First thing I thought when I saw this was "media box"...
    Definitely more power than an Android mini PC.
    Reply
  • Demios - Friday, March 7, 2014 - link

    I've found my Steam Machine. Steam OS is looking a bit more viable for me. Reply
  • Ken_g6 - Friday, March 7, 2014 - link

    Steam on this? It doesn't even have discrete graphics. What makes you think this would be at all useful for Steam? Reply
  • Guspaz - Friday, March 7, 2014 - link

    Streaming. Intel's hardware video acceleration is excellent, and Demios is clearly considering putting a cheap box running SteamOS in front of his or her TV that can stream from a more powerful desktop.

    The problem is that the hardware in this thing is still overkill for that purpose. That is to say that while it might be the cheapest option for a streaming SteamOS box today, the hardware is still overkill for the requirements (which are good low-latency video decoding as well as sufficient GPU performance for a smoothly animated UI). So it's not the cheapest possible configuration for that use case.
    Reply
  • Coup27 - Friday, March 7, 2014 - link

    Can somebody please explain the purpose of having a Chromebook with an i7 CPU? Reply

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