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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  • SeanFL - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    Excited to get a few of these. I use a Chromebox (samsung from 2013) as a second desktop in my office...it drives a high res 2560 x 1440 monitor. It works great for most office tasks and is less maintenance than the Windows boxes. Fewer worries of malware and browser hijacks make it even better. Reply
  • aaronk - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    If I can install Linux using the default distro ISOs and everything works well then I'll buy one of these. Not a fan of Chrome OS. Reply
  • andrewaggb - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    pretty much sums it up. If I can put linux or windows on it, I have some uses for it. Reply
  • Krysto - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    1.3 Ghz "Haswell". Outch. Might as well put Tegra K1 in there. It will probably perform just as well, and sell for cheaper. I wonder how long until Intel starts selling "Haswell" 200 Mhz CPUs. Reply
  • cardfire - Wednesday, February 05, 2014 - link

    Um, my 2013 MBA has a 1.3GHz baseline Haswell and it can play most Source games above 60FPS at mid settings. I regularly use it to play 1080p games at 30fps, on the HD5000. But it does a fantastic job of stepping down to power-sipping and can get literally over 13 hours on a single charge when just browsing the web. Don't knock Haswell just yet. Reply
  • Novacius - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    Will you review the new Acer C720 Chromebook? A review has been announced last year but I can't find anything yet. :) Reply
  • 32str8 - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    I use the 4 gig version as my go to laptop. Don't recommend the 2 gig version as it starts to lag with about 5-8 tabs open depending on video demands. Reply
  • just2btecky - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    Fanless of course! Mobile phones form factors have never had fans in them. So why should Chromebox have a fan? Reply
  • MrX8503 - Saturday, February 08, 2014 - link

    Because haswell CPUs DESTROY mobile SOCs in performance. Reply
  • moejurray - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    Wonder how it would work connected to the TV as the media hub? Reply

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