ASUS Chromebox Google Chrome OS SFF PC Review

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Power Consumption, Noise, And The Wrap-Up

A Note On Power Consumption and Acoustics:

We attempted to load up the ASUS Chromebox M025U with as much media and processing requirement as we could pull down over an 802.11n WiFi connection. We fired up a 4K movie trailer along with Rightware BrowserMark 2.0 and SunSpider 1.02. Though this might not represent a full CPU load, without the means to install our usual suite of benchmark and stress test software it was still a good measure for taxing the system with a reasonably rigorous workload. At its peak, the Chromebox M025U consumed 18 Watts and oscillated around 6.5 - 8 Watts when idle. Under load, the system made the faintest of whirs that was virtually inaudible unless you put your ear right up next to the machine. To say this machine offers a cool and quiet computing experience would be an understatement.

The tiny ASUS Chromebox M025U playing big 4K video with ease.

It takes a bit of getting used to running most everything you do in a web browser, but once you've spent time in the Chrome OS, Google's operating system starts to grow on you a bit. Yes, in many cases you're dependent on Internet connectivity, but with more and more ubiquitous connectivity expanding all around us these days with WiFi, cellular data, and even municipal WiFi, that's becoming less and less of a limitation. You are of course also limited to web apps or offline apps that Google offers in the Chrome store.

For the class of device and use case that the Chromebox aspires to cater to, Google has most of what folks look for covered. There's basic office productivity apps, video and media streaming apps, and even a few decent games that you might care to fire up, as well. The ASUS Chromebox handles all of these usage types with ease, and it does so quietly and with absolutely minimal power consumption and heat. Dropping this little box into a home theater living room setup is natural as a Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant, Hulu, Pandora, or similar streamer.  We do wish the ASUS wireless Chrome keyboard had a few more multimedia controls, but you can get by with it and the help of a mouse. With the advent of chromebox machines on the market, one would think Google would snap to it with partners as well, offering more multimedia-centric keyboard solutions in the future.

Though we still yearn for more robust offline functionality and software, the ASUS Chromebox represents a solid value us a multimedia server; basic home, office, or classroom computer; or for public kiosk applications. You're limited to what Google and the Internet offers in terms of media players, of course, but with 100 gigabytes of Google Drive storage for 2 years and the ability to expand storage off the Chromebox locally, a relatively low cost device like this can make a lot of sense for the average consumer. ASUS notes the Chromebox M025U model we tested, with it's Intel Haswell Core i3 dual-core CPU, 16GB of internal storage, 4GB of DDR3-1600 memory, and bundled wireless keyboard and mouse, has an MSRP of $369.  Street prices may drop in lower with deals or rebates, though that remains to be seen.

Google and its partners have sold a lot of low cost chromebooks lately, and we think the open source community, as well as the mainstream market, will embrace the low cost chromebox model as well. With the Chromebox M025U, ASUS delivers a straightforward solution in a tiny, low-power footprint that gets the job done well.


  • Low price
  • Easy access to upgrade memory and storage
  • Surprisingly quiet
  • Great as a media streamer
  • Not a full laptop replacement
  • Wireless keyboard could use a few more multimedia functions

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