They might not be the most powerful PCs out there, but Google's Chromebook and Chromebox series has one thing locked-down: Value. That's something proven in spades with Acer's new Chromebox CXI, a compact desktop PC that starts at a mere $180. You might think that a sub-$200 PC would have to look like a sub-$200 PC, but I'd argue that the CXI doesn't:
Most Chromebooks and Chromeboxes up to this point have featured ARM processors, but the CXI is an exception: Under the hood is Intel's Celeron 2957U, a dual-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz. Yes - that's modest, but it's x86, and remember, we're still talking about a sub-$200 PC.
As seen in the shot above, the CXI includes 2x USB 3.0 ports at the front, along with a card reader. At the back, 2x more USB 3.0 ports can be found, along with wired and wireless networking ports, an audio out port, and also DisplayPort and HDMI video ports. I need to reiterate this detail: 4x USB 3.0 ports on a sub-$200 machine. To me, that's all sorts of impressive.
As the above shot highlights, the CXI can be affixed to the back of VESA-compliant display; that way, it'll not even be seen, and your cables can run straight down and through the front of the display. The $180 model I mentioned above includes 2GB of RAM, but if you opt for the $220 model, that'll be boosted to 4GB (that's the only change).
I might be a PC enthusiast who loves high-end hardware, but sometimes, I find myself getting more excited about what can be had for so little. Acer's Chromebox CXI is a perfect example of that.