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Review: Tiny ASUS Chromebox Small Form Factor PC Delivers Efficient Computing And Google Cloud Services

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News Posted: Wed, Mar 12 2014 11:27 AM
To date, we've shown you a few versions of Chromebook notebooks, like the Acer C720 Chromebook and Google's own Chromebook Pixel.  Today, however, we have a look at the very first "official" Chromebox to hit the market and it comes to us by way of ASUS.

The ASUS Chromebox is a tiny palm-sized machine similar in form and footprint to Intel's line of NUC (Next Unit of Computing) mini PCs or the tiny Zotac ZBox Nano.  It just so happens that all of these machines are also powered by integrated Intel processors and the ASUS Chromebox is no different, though it employs Intel's 4th generation Haswell Core series processor architecture with Integrated HD 4400 graphics.

Sure, there's a fair bit of horsepower on board with Intel's latest low power dual-core CPU chewing through workloads but the real differentiator here is what you can do with Google's Chrome OS driving a device like this.  We aim to show you just that in the pages ahead...


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replied on Wed, Mar 12 2014 12:30 PM

how much?

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Marco C replied on Wed, Mar 12 2014 12:55 PM

From the first page: $369 - includes wireless keyboard and mouse

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If this could be used for Gaming it would be awesome but ill just use it for drawings on paint or what not just something simple :)

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Dave_HH replied on Wed, Mar 12 2014 11:11 PM

One word Jeff, Netflix... Amazon Prime Instant and Hulu. OK, that was a lot more than one word. :)

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basroil3 replied on Thu, Mar 13 2014 12:58 AM

The question is: can you install Windows on it?

If you can put Windows (or linux) on this thing (after upgrading the SSD), it might just be one of the best deals around

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digitaldd replied on Thu, Mar 13 2014 8:59 AM

Dave_HH:

One word Jeff, Netflix... Amazon Prime Instant and Hulu. OK, that was a lot more than one word. :)

For like $50-100 you could buy a Roku box to do just that. For $369 it needs more oomph, perhaps if it had the power of a complete system built on Intel NUC or Gigabyte Brix @ this pricepoint then we might ooh and ahh.

Weird that the device supports Bluetooth 4.0 yet comes with a proprietary wireless keyboard/mouse combo that requires its own dongle to use up a USB port. They could have built in the dongle or gone with a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse (or for a media center environment a keyboard/trackpad combo would be more ideal)

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Dave_HH replied on Thu, Mar 13 2014 9:36 AM

I haven't found a way to get into the bios to change boot devices but I'm trying. ;) However, the current SSD is only 16GB so it would be pretty tight as well.

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Dave_HH replied on Thu, Mar 13 2014 9:37 AM

Agreed on the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, digitaldd but not sure I agree on the price. This device can do a lot more than a Roku box could ever dream of.

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Chondro replied on Thu, Mar 13 2014 12:14 PM

I think these devices are kind of worthless.

my tv and dvd player can do hulu netflicks vudu etc

you can get a dvd player for like $120, much cheaper than this thing

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Dave_HH replied on Sat, Mar 15 2014 10:05 AM

You don't have full access to Internet media with those devices, Chondro. You also don't have basic compute functionality with them as well and even streaming music services on many of them. I understand your point but they are two different classes of devices and the Chromebox has a much more expanded set of capabilities.

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MCaddick replied on Sun, Mar 16 2014 2:41 PM

I've said in the past that there chrome boxes are utterly pointless. This particular one has done nothing to change that opinion. For the same price you can buy a fully functional notebook with scads of storage and a 'real' OS. For this box to come close it'd need to have much more money spent on it for a screen, speakers, webcam etc etc.

ASUS already tried this with their EeePC Box thing. At least with that you could upgrade the hard drive yourself and it had a real OS, not just a web browser with serious limitations.

Only idiots would buy this and think it was good value for money.

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