With hopes of chipping away at the low end Windows PC market, Google enlisted ASUS' help in putting together a small form factor desktop machine running Chrome OS. The result is the ASUS Chromebox, a NUC-like machine running Google's browser based OS. The specs of the ASUS Chromebox are respectable compared to Intel's line of Haswell NUCs.

You get your choice of one of three CPUs, all based on Intel's Haswell architecture. There's the Celeron 2955U, Core i3-4010U or the Core i7-4600U. All three options carry the same 15W TDP rating, and the system is apparently fanless (at least the Celeron and Core i3 versions are, waiting for confirmation on the i7). ASUS only plans to offer the Celeron and Core i3 versions in North America. 4K video out is supported on the Core models. Given how well Chrome OS can run on a pair of ARM Cortex A15 cores, I fully expect a 15W Haswell based system to be a great performer.

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

ASUS' Chromebox comes with a 16GB M.2 SSD, and dual-band 802.11n wireless all for a price starting at $179. Google will throw in 100GB of space on Google Drive for 2 years to make up for the limited internal storage.

The box itself is a little bigger than Intel's Haswell NUC, but we're still talking about an extremely small form factor computer. ASUS will ship all units with a VESA mount as well. You can expect availability sometime in March.

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  • skiboysteve - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    Wow that is cheap. Intel lists the price of Intel Celeron 2955U at $107. I'm sure ASUS doesn't have to pay that much but probably close. That doesnt leave much room for the other equipment or profit.

    Impressive
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, February 07, 2014 - link

    It's cheap to sell and once the foot is in the door the price will RISE! Reply
  • marc1000 - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    if only those things didn't come costing 5 to 10 times more than the list price to countries outside of US/Europe... Reply
  • dishayu - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    I'm not completely sold on Chrome OS but a small form factor PC with 2 gigs of RAM, onboard WiFi and 16GB SSD is fantastic value for money for 179$ ? Nearly unbeatable proposition for an HTPC. 16GB is plenty of space for installing Ubuntu + tons of HTPC related apps. Reply
  • bah12 - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    Agreed, any word on how easy it is to hack a Chrome Box and put windows/linux on it? Or does Google have it pretty locked down in the firmware. Reply
  • Qwertilot - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    The chrome books (even Arm based ones) have been mostly quite capable of having Linux installed at least, so you'd expect so. Questions of drivers etc of course.

    Even with ChromeOS on it it looks very suitable for stuff like turning spare monitors into secondary computers, second/third desktops in houses etc etc.
    Reply
  • skido - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    It'd be nice if ASUS makes a barebones version without Chrome OS and that Chome logo. If Linux can be installed using default ISOs then I'll buy this even with the logo. If installing Linux is similar to how it's done on Chromebooks then I'm going to pass on this box. Reply
  • portos - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    Ya, I hope this has a regular BIOS/UEFI so you can just directly install any Linux distro you want. Reply
  • Flunk - Thursday, February 06, 2014 - link

    No ChromeOS system has shipped with a standard BIOS implementation yet so I can't see why it would this time. Reply
  • schizoide - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    Was just coming here to say that. This is ideal for a HTPC and steam streaming client. They're offering a celeron haswell including storage and RAM for nearly the same price as the barebones bay ridge atom NUC! Reply

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