ASUS Chromebox

ChromeOS in box form, and the entry-level models carry a great price

ASUS has taken the wraps off their new Chromebox line, and are hoping the perfect form-factor and the right price will get people interested.

They are releasing three different models, each with a different CPU. The entry level model will come with a capable Intel Celeron 2955U CPU, and should serve the casual user. For folks who need a little more oompf, there will be a model with the core i3 4010U, and in select markets (read not the USA — Boo!) they will offer a core i7 4600U model. The i-series machines will also support 4K UHD display output.

The rest of the hardware is what you would expect. 16GB SSD, 2GB or 4GB of RAM, USB 3.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wifi and 10/100/1000 Ethernet, display ports, full size SD card slots — basically everything you need on a small Chrome desktop or HTPC setup. The RAM is listed as paired SO-DIMM, so it looks to be upgradeable. No word on the disk drive yet.

Pricing is where they seem to shine. The entry-level model will start at just $179, and availability is expected in March. no word on pricing for the CPU upgrades, but hopefully they follow suit and are affordable.

We've been telling you that Google is serious about ChromeOS — maybe even more so than Android. As manufacturers continue to build devices, and Google continues to improve the operating system, we think exciting times are in store for those ready to adopt it.

One of these is on my radar for sure — what say you?


Reader comments

ASUS bringing new Chromeboxes in March, priced from $179


"We've been telling you that Google is serious about ChromeOS"

They can't be too serious or they would give users more than a 16gb ssd....or at least something that's more upgradable and doesn't double the price of the whole computer to do the upgrade.

With all these new products coming out, they are serious. No question about it. I do agree that it would be nice to see some upgradable ssd options. That would be really cool. These look like a move in the right direction. I will certainly be interested in one of the higher end models!

A 64GB sd card can serve as storage for music and pictures.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Backups of OS and/or files. Plus, one may not always have access to cloud services (no data/internet connection, power source issues, etc).

Posted from Outer Space

Backups can easily be facilitated by removable storage, which is supported (and probably preferred).

The argument about access to cloud services makes more sense when speaking about a Chromebook or mobile device, but I would think this is intended as a more permanent fixture, like a desktop computer, which should have a constant Internet connection available. If not, this probably isn't the device for you.

Since this is not a laptop, you could get an external drive. Also, there is the Acer C710-2847 that comes with a 320GB drive.

Backups of OS and/or files. Plus, one may not always have access to cloud services (no data/internet connection, power source issues, etc).

Posted from Outer Space

I can see why some folks may want/need additional storage on a Chromebook, if for no other reason than they are mobile devices and the need to work offline is much more common. With something like this, however, I'd imagine that a Chromebox would online all the time in a more permanent location, and Google does not try to hide the fact that ChromeOS devices are meant to utilize cloud storage.

It may not be the right device for everyone, and/or some folks may have plans to push the boundaries of what this device is intended for... but based on the advertised functionality of ChromeOS, I'm not sure that more than 16GB *should* be needed by most users of the ChromeBox

The os is web based. They also allow for expandable memory, which if cheap, and this is meant to have most things stored in the cloud. That's really the pint of chrome os. If this has an Ethernet port, that allows for a reliable internet connection in particular cases as well.

Posted via Android Central App

No, they have it right with the limited 16GB ssd hard drives. That's the right amount if too much for a cloud computer. The local drive should only be storing temporary files. There's no need for anything more outside the cloud. However, the capability to easily integrate with network drives as well as take advantage of cloud storage could be a huge factor in its adoption rate in my opinion. If I could remotely connect with my network storage drive with my Chromebook I think I would find myself in a world that fits my needs...well, we need more apps as well.

Agreed. Take the Google TV features, throw in chromecast support, and I've found my perfect htpc device!!

Posted via Android Central App

I still just don't see the point versus running the Chrome browser Windows 8 on something like the new tablets with HDMI/SD support out and Bay Trail. It's a full OS with all of the functions of this, more power, and cheaply expandable memory.

This could be in theory cheaper. Also, a better fit when you don't need that tablet screen. Kiosk or even dumb living room PC. More power isn't always needed.

With that said, it is a pretty niche product.

Agreed. I use a MacBook Pro as my primary PC at the moment, but when that starts to show its age, I'm just going to put together a Windows desktop for my home office and get a Chromebook for when I'm elsewhere, or just sitting on my ass on the couch.

Fast boot time. Virtually impenetrable by malware. Easy integration with Google services.
For some people, like kids and older folks, a cheap and simplistic operating system with no malware threats is ideal. Older folks will be happy knowing that they don't have to worry about antivirus software or getting viruses on the computer. Parents don't have to worry about their kids goofing around on the computer and suddenly wrecking an expensive computer.

Posted via Android Central App

This would be great for kids school stuff. I have an extra monitor that's not being used so it's perfect. Can't wait. I hope they sell at best buy.

Posted via Android Central App

This is perfect for my mother-in-law, all she does is browse the web on her old Windows xp computer. An entry level chromebox would be all she needs.

Posted via Android Central App

Why does a Chrome "box" cost as much as a Chrome "book"??? Seems like a 12 inch screen and battery would cost a lot more.

It does actually cost something to manufacture, ship and market these. At $180, they can only get so much cheaper!

Posted via Android Central App

You get a full Intel i3 rather than the micro architecture version. That's important.

Posted via Android Central App

To anyone who questions me saying Microsoft is going to have a very, very difficult future. Chrome OS is the reason! Notice how Windows Phone hasn't been able to pass 10% market share? It's because of Android, it's free software to manufactures. Same with ChromeOS, just give it some time, that's all that is needed, some time. Google is moving at a fast pace.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

I'm pretty sure Windows Phone hasn't passed 5% market share. Might as well go all the way there.

Posted via Android Central App

Oh wow, 5%, it continues to prove to be irrelevant.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Oh yeah, one more thing, I would NOT buy something like this unless it also had Chromecast built-in.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Why would you need chromecast built-in to something that's already going to be connecting to a screen? That monitor/tv would need a chromecast or chromecast-like device anyway...

But don't those sites use silverlight on Windows? Can that be done on a Chrome box, or do they support native html5 players too?

Isn't everything supposed to be transitioning to HTML5?

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Does NBC Sport Live Extra work on a Chromebook? The i7 model might do tab casting sports acceptably.

Very excited for these to get to market. Three of my school aged kids are on Chromebooks. I have an i5 Chromebox (samsung) from last year as a secondary computer in the office driving a high res 2560 x 1440 monitor from monoprice.

This morning I spent an hour cleaning off a machine that got malware and infected with crap that hijacked the browser at a friends office. While I know some of the home page settings can be changed on a chromebook/box, it would sure be nice to eliminate most of the crap that digs into registry and program settings that regular users seem to attract.

The Chromebooks and Chromebox boot and operate much faster than almost any windows box I've seen. Microsoft should be very worried. The future of computing for many people could be with this box and similar products.

I like the 2nd paragraph of this comment! Boots fast, and Microsoft should be worried.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Why would I want this, considering I have the $199 Acer chromebook? What can this do that the laptop can't? #confused

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4 with StraightTalk

Good point. I mean if metalmike901 already has a Chromebook, any company that makes any type of computing device might as well shut down.

Posted from my newly Kit Katted Droid Ultra

Thanks for the stupid reply, but what part of my statement leads you to believe the world revolves around me? Grow up. I simply don't understand this device when a full laptop can be purchased at the same price. Is that easy enough to understand?

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4 with StraightTalk

Large dual monitor setup for home or office. 11.6" is not enough for many functions. No need to throw away a perfectly good monitor when replacing an old pc.

Your laptop is portable/mobile...this is meant to be a fixed. What's so hard to understand? You don't think anyone that has a laptop has a desktop too?

That's an idea that has SOME merit, but still a little limited to streaming from content providers such as Netflix, Hulu, and Google themselves. Granted you can load up that hard drive with a couple movies, but a Chromecast does the bulk of this for $35.

XBMC as a whole does plenty more than Chromecast.

According to a 2013 Forbes article, the average cable bill (television portion only) was $78. A properly configured HTPC (~$200 )can cut the cord for the average cable or satellite consumer. I would rather invest in multiple HTPCs than continue to pay for cable/satellite.

Something to follow...

You miss the point. A chrome box lacks the capabilities to be a full HTPC. You can't stream media from other machines. You're locked into whatever codecs ChromeOS supports. Basically, if it doesn't stream from a website or off of your SD card you're screwed.

Posted via my tricked out Moto X.

Because you'd have to see a convergence of Android and ChromeOS for this to happen.

Not saying it may not eventually get there, but I'll be surprised if they make any sort of announcement in the near future.

Umm not really, there are already games that run offline within the chrome web store that even support the 360 controller. A lot can change in a few years.

Can you build these yet like I can a PC? I know the form factor wouldn't be as small but can you install Chrome OS on your own hardware?

Wake me up when they have fixed the horrible Google Cloud Print situation!

My wife is the perfect candidate for a ChromeOS device. That is what I thought until I actually purchased her Chromebook. It turns out that the Chromebook is not up to par for one reason and one reason only. Printing sucks! I have multiple printers from multiple manufacturers. I have run them through Linux print servers connected to Cloud Print and my Brother Laser MFC has direct Cloud Print support. Not matter what I do I am left with issues. Cloud Print can't configure duplex. Cloud Print can't set media type/thickness. Cloud Print won't always wake up the printer correctly. The Cloud Print shows the printer offline (when it's not) and it has to be restarted.

Google needs to sit down with printer makers and do whatever is required to standardize how all of these things are handled and make Cloud Print useful for people. At the very least Make it so that I can use the manufacturers Android apps which have better functionality. It's still limited, but Cloud Print is so bad that it makes the Android Apps look like full blown office suites.

It is not optimal but very usable. It does double sided printing and I haven't had an issue with waking up the device however media type/thickness is missing and not graying out a printer that is offline is extremely annoying. Luckily, I don't print very much.

My experience has been that duplex is dependent on the printer. That is my biggest problem with cloud print. Different features are available on different devices based upon cloud-print implementation, not device capabilities. I really think that google should have taken the time to work with the printer developers and standardized these things before launching it as the only way to print frome ChromeOS.

I may buy this instead of building a htpc. As long as it has a full processor and at lease 4gigs of ram i am sold. If these upgrades break the $250 mark, it may be a deal breaker though. I mean i still have to provide the screen, keyboard, storage, ect.

If you've been looking for a cheap way to get your parents/grandparents off of a Windows XP desktop, this may be the way to go! No more phone calls about virus infestations with this bad boy. If I hadn't spent Thanksgiving weekend installing Windows 7 on my dad's 5 year old Dell laptop (which worked suprisingly well), I'd buy this for him since he prefers "real" keyboards, mice, and monitors.


Don't get me wrong: I love my Chromebook, but if I want a ChromeOs experience on my desktop all I have to do is install the Browser.

I'm don't think joe consumer is the only market here. I can see these being in every library and school in the country at some point.

Not libraries. Trust me, that's my sector and IT won't have it. We've had the discussion. I imagine the same hurdles would exist in the education center.

Posted via my tricked out Moto X.

More and more these ChromeOS devices intrigue me simply because of the Google Drive storage options.

100GB for two years is $120.

An extra $60 gets me this Chromebox hardware.

I have two questions for the users questioning Chrome OS because of its limited offline capabilities:

1. What do you still do on your computer that doesn't require an Internet connection?

2. Why would you try to do this on a Chrome device when you already have a perfectly capable computer to begin with?

I would like some real answers because the majority of time I spend on a computer I'm either doing something that requires an Internet connection or it requires more processing power than any of the current Chromebooks or Chromeboxes offer.

Posted via Android Central App on my Droid Maxx

I agree. I have been using a chromebox exclusively for 6 months and other than heavy duty video processing, I can do everything in the Chrome OS environment. I would like to also get a list of things that people can't do on Chrome OS because other than the above mentioned intensive video processing I can't think of anything that the Chrome OS doesn't provide me. Your mileage may differ so I would like to hear the limitations.

What the Chrome OS environment cannot do? I dont think I can run my home weather stations auxiliary software on it.

If Chrome OS is using the spreadsheet software that comes with Google Docs..last time I looked it cannot handle spreadsheets with multiple linked sheets to a parent sheet and sheet charts. It may have been updated since then but at the time, last year it could not do this.

Can it run Turbo Tax premium ? I need this to process my federal and state taxes.

Can it run iTunes - While i no longer use iTunes I have family members that use iTunes and iphones.

Can it run Canon image solutions software needed for my Camera?

Once the OS matures so that these things can be run on it I will be able to consider buying it instead of a PC.

If these things are important to you, congratulations! You have realized that chrome OS is not for you.
For a guy like you, windows will do everything you need and more.

Posted via Android Central App

Chrome Box?

What does this thing do? I see a box with some places for connections. What gets connected to it? then what does this thing do with whats connected to it?

They would definitely lose money if it were any cheaper. The profit margin isn't huge to begin with. $179 is a lot better than Samsung's $329 Chromebox.

Another commenter on here pointed this out to me.
A 100 GB Google Drive storage subscription for two years costs $120. $60 more lands you this.

Posted via Android Central App

I see a media center for the 60 in my near future,, this will be perfect

Posted via my outdated Droid RAZR Maxx HD using the Android Central App

Good, a brick designed as a box. Surely will make a good paperweight.

Posted via Android Central App

I agree, Google seems to be pushing chromebook hard. As long as everyone is upgrading to faster connections Chrome OS will definitely soon be a major competitor to OSX or Windows. 80% of what I do on my home computer I could do on a Chromebook and I am sure there are a lot of people that do a lot less than me. Nice to finally see a mainstream Linux option finally :D

It seems like instead of being a computer it'll be more like a higher dollar media player that can run chrome apps. Kinda like roku but with more space and many more apps.

Posted via Android Central App

let me know when it and the chromebooks offer android instead of chrome.

i get what chromebooks offer, i have no use for a thin client but android would offer a real lightweight alternative to windows.

Very interested, especially if I could use something like 'crouton' to run my favorite Linux distro (Linux Mint, or even LMDE) with it.

However, as $179 is the low-end model price, I will be interested in knowing how the higher-end models compare price/feature-wise with the Chromebooks that are already out there i.e. all things being equal, which is the most bang-for-the-buck. Who knows, maybe one of the Chromebooks is functionally equivalent and only costs a bit more, and includes a keyboard/screen/etc?

Been waiting for this for a while. Almost bought one of those $329 Samsung chromeboxes. Glad I didn't. I felt they were way overpriced.

This price is acceptable. I have an extra 20-inch Dell LCD monitor that I can hook up to this and I will now have a desktop again.

Last wee I bought the Acer 720 Chromebook and love it.