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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  • marro - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    I hope it's straight forward to install Linux on this (ie. 1. create a live USB. 2. install). If I have to go through what you need to do on Chromebooks then I'm just going to go with a NUC. Reply
  • haikuginger - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    "ASUS only plans to offer the Celeron and Core i3 versions in North America."

    Can you clarify? Do you mean that those two options are the only ones ASUS will offer in North America, or do you mean that those options will only be available in North America?
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    Let me rephrase - in North America ASUS will only offer the Celeron and i3 versions, presumably you'll be able to get those and the i7 elsewhere. Reply
  • Flunk - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    You guys managed to leave off the $145 Celeron NUC (2x Bay Trail @ 2.4Ghz) but this does look like a preitty good deal. I've been thinking of picking up a NUC or Gigabyte Brix for XBMC and Steam streaming under Ubuntu and this might be a way to shave a couple of bucks off the price.

    ChromeOS is still totally worthless though.
    Reply
  • schizoide - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    This celeron is haswell-based, not bay trail atom, so much more performant. It also comes with storage and RAM. Reply
  • sligett - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    "ChromeOS is still totally worthless though." For you, perhaps. I'll likely buy 50 or 100 of these this year. Reply
  • IBMMuseum - Tuesday, March 04, 2014 - link

    Exactly, it might be a very good "thin client" system for a business (or school) already using Google Drive. Browse the web, access to e-mail (or rather, GMail), and apps that do more than Office in the most expensive bundle. This is THE move away from the desktop. Reply
  • koki - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    I'll buy 20 of these if the default Linux distro ISOs can be used to install Linux without having to dance around. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    Kabini might be an almost perfect fit for such devices. And should be far cheaper than an i7. Reply
  • DARBYOTHRULL - Friday, February 07, 2014 - link

    Do they have a 15W TDP part? Reply

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