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ASUS’ Fanless Haswell Chromeboxes Start At $179

ASUS Chromebox It’s been a long wait, but today we finally have details on the upcoming ASUS Chromebox.

The diminutive power-efficient fanless PCs will be available in various configurations from March, starting at $179 in the US.

Two distinct Haswell-toting flavours will be available first. The cheapest uses the Chromebook staple Celeron 2955U CPU and 2GB of RAM, while a pricier, more powerful version pairs an Intel Core i3-4010U with 4GB of RAM.

Both Chromeboxes use Intel Integrated Graphics and a (rather disappointing) 16GB SSD.

Ports-wise there’s the usual line up: HDMI and DisplayPort; ethernet, 4x USB 3.0, and an SD card reader. WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 come built-in as standard.

ASUS say that an i7-powered variant will be available in select countries outside of North America.

Expect More

Chromeboxes won’t be the only offerings from ASUS this year. The company has previously confirmed its intentions to launch two Chromebooks in ‘early 2014′.

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  • Nicolae Crefelean

    If it had an option to buy without that tiny SSD, it would be great. :)

    • tony

      Chrome OS stores in the cloud, you would need very minimum amounts of local storage.

      • Nicolae Crefelean

        True, but with those specifications I would rather use it as a traditional PC and for that I would require more storage.

        • Sebastiaan Franken

          The only problem with this is that a chromebox or chromebook is *not* a traditional PC, so the requirements aren’t there. Adapt to a new way of working.

          • Nicolae Crefelean

            But it can be used as a traditional PC. I don’t get it why some people think there’s only one way and whatever comes new should be the norm. It’s just technology. We can use it as we see fit for whatever purpose.

    • CAC1031

      To me, it is much safer and more practical to keep local files stored on a separate drive. You can plug in SD card, a usb stick or a regular external hard drive to access all the GBs you need. But not accumulating a lot on the internal SSD means switching channels and powerwashes can be done without a moment’s hesitation. I also think it is a safer way to back up important files that you also have in the cloud. I use the internal storage for quick downloads of temporary files but nothing that is really worth saving long-term.

    • Onetrack

      Its unnecessary. You’re stuck in the PC way of thinking which tells you massive local storage and upgrading constantly is the norm.

      These types of computers never need to be upgraded, everytime you boot they’re newer than before. You get 100gb of online storage which you can access from any computer, phone, tablet etc… I have all my work documents online, they are automatically backed up, I can carry on and view/edit no matter where I am, regardless if I’m on my phone, work laptop, chromebook or my home pc…

      I’d much rather have my files offline than local.
      New way of thinking, new way of working. You don’t need much more than 16gb to be totally effective at work.

      • Nicolae Crefelean

        Keep in mind I didn’t say this chromebox is bad but I wished for an option. There’s nothing wrong with options and there are plenty of reasons for which people require more local/offline storage.

  • Will Palmer

    As a longterm chromebook user, I always ask myself what is the deal with the “only 16GB” comments. I can only guess the authors are missing the point of Chrome OS.

    • holotape

      I know what you mean. I installed a bigger ssd in my chromebook and i haven’t even put a dent in it after three months

    • http://www.dahayden.com/ David Alastair Hayden

      16 GB is plenty. If you’re going to be playing a lot of downloaded movies from it, 32 GB isn’t going to really give you all that much more to work with. You’re going to need external storage or have to pay a lot more money.

      Chrome OS done right is all about the cloud. I can’t imagine using up the 16 GB of space on my new Chromebook 11.

      • Boothy

        On a 16gb ssd I’m down to 6.3gb after a powerwash and re-install.
        I have a lot of packaged apps, plus a few of my own sideloaded, doesn’t leave much wiggle room.

      • Juan Carlos Cornejo

        The few times I’ve run into the 16GB limit are when I am trying to transfer large files form an SD card on to my Google Drive account.

        What GD does now is that it first copies everything over to the 16GB internal drive, and then slowly syncs that with GD. So the few times I needed to transfer large files (mostly school work related) my Chromebook C720 came to a crawl as it tried to shuffle things into and out of the internal drive.

        Maybe this can be addressed by Google fixing the Google Drive upload mechanism (or allow us to upload from the web, without first downloading to the Chromebooks), but certainly more internal storage will alleviate this issue today.

    • http://omgubuntu.co.uk/ Joey-Elijah Sneddon

      As a fellow longterm Chromebook user I can assure you that I don’t ‘miss the point of Chrome OS’! Heck, I have an entire site built around it ;)

      But I do not subscribe to this view that more local storage = devaluing the Chrome OS experience. Cloud access is great, and the backbone of Chrome OS, but local storage is important too. 16GB is acceptable, but after updates, caching, swapping, etc it soon lessens. And on a desktop PC where local storage is generally more in demand, that means less space for your files.

      Many newer Chromebooks are arriving with 32GB SSDs on board. The price increment is minimal, and they offer more breathing room for users to store files, music, videos, apps (yes, Chrome apps, particularly the more immersive 3D games that are 300MB+).

      • toddh

        The other thing is if you have multiple accounts on the chromebook, and everybody is downloading stuff, then it also tends to fill up.

      • Kenny Strawn

        Have to agree on the packaged “For Your Desktop” apps bit. They tend to take up an awful lot of space, to say the least.

        Games do, of course… but they’re not the only packaged apps that are that bloated. If any pro-quality video or audio-editing packaged apps make it to the Web Store, they too would tend to be very large in size.

        • Chuck Cortes

          I agree but I think we are to some extent pulling away from what ChromeOS is really meant to be. Cloud services. if a video or music editing app was to be created it will defeat the point of ChromeOS which is for it to be cloud service. I currently can edit photos online thru several different websites like PicMonkey and Pixlr. Eventually we will be able to do the same with music. With video, maybe not so much unless internet gets faster, cheaper and with less bandwidth restrictions.

          We need to stay focus on the purpose of ChromeOS, cloud services. Yes, even I agree 32 GBs should be the standard right now because apps do get bigger as they get better but its shouldn’t be because we are doing stuff locally, it should be because we are doing stuff in the cloud, just with an app that makes it look like its being done locally. If you want storage that’s what the USB 3.0 is for. A 2TB portable drive will cost you just a little over $100 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CGUMS3O/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_5?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER so I don’t understand why all this complaining about wanting to store files locally. It won’t even take up an outlet slot.

          You need to stop looking at what seems like short comings when comparing it to what you are use to, PCs with no less than 1TB of space. What you need to be more concerned with is the power and the memory. No matter how big or small ChromeOS and its extension and apps are, they need power and memory to work properly.

    • Risket

      The way I see it is for offline storage. Right? I don’t own a Chromebook but I’ve been wanting one more and more lately. But when I get one I’d like to be able to have everything stored locally for offline use. Since Drive now allows 25GB of storage we should need at least 25GB of local storage. In addition to, I guess, installed Chrome apps and everything else. I think this is why a 32GB SSD makes much more sense.

      • Sebastiaan Franken

        If you want enough space just connect a USB 3 1TB HDD to it and be done with it.

  • Jon A.

    This actually seems really cool. At $179, it’s almost like the Chromecast’s “Well, why not?” pricing for what you get. If I could think of a use case for one, I’d buy one in a second.

  • Logan B.

    If Chrome could get the ability to play mkv files, this would be a nice little HTPC. Just add an external HDD and you’d be pretty much good to go!

    • toddh

      I’m pretty sure mkv files are supported on ChromeOS

      • Logan B.

        My bad, the container mkv is but not always the audio format, depending on how the file was encoded.

        • Temujin

          My thinking was similar, a cheap solid looking alternative to a full blown HTPC, but A) Will something like XBMC install and run, and B) Would it support HD audio, like DTS, DTS-HD, MA etc etc.

          • Logan B.

            Well, it does have an HDMI port on the back. HDMI does up to 7.1, right? Or you could pick up USB3.0 dongle that could emulate the audio, I imagine.

            Even so, why would you need to install XBMC on it? If you can access the files directly from the ChromeOS, I would see no point. Granted, I’m not particularly knowledgeable on XBMC either.

  • jdsmelts

    Finally a Chromebox with the right price point! I’ve been contemplating moving over completely to Chrome OS for my desktop and laptop. The only thing that was holding me back was the ability to mount my Android in the file system for file transfers. Well, thanks to AirDroid that problem is solved (and a wireless solution at that!). Once my files – usually photos – are transferred I just archive them onto my external drive. Additionally, with the introduction of Chrome OS Desktop Apps I really can’t think of anything else I need from a traditional PC setup. The only exception is my use of a Plex Media Server from my PC to serve up my movies & TV shows wirelessly to my Roku. But I can just use a thumbdrive until Plex comes to the masses for Chromecast (allowing me to serve files from my Chromebox).

    • Boothy

      You can’t run the media server from ChromeOS at the moment dude.
      Bur, you could put it to developer mode and crouton it for the time being.
      I’m almost completely Chrome and android at home, but still have a windows box as the central media hub.
      For now…………… :)

      • Onetrack

        You can’t run the media server side from chrome but its perfectly capable of streaming everything off of my plex box via plexweb interface.

  • Andrew Loiacono

    No i7 in NA? :’(

  • Mason Rothman

    Digging a little deeper here are the stats from Intel on the Celeron http://ark.intel.com/products/75608/ and the i3 http://ark.intel.com/products/75107/ looks like the i3 will get Intel HD 4400 graphics. Based on the customer tray price of 107USD for the Celeron the 179USD price makes perfect sense. The i3 is recommended at 281USD. Yikes!

    • http://omgubuntu.co.uk/ Joey-Elijah Sneddon

      Yikes indeed! i was anticipating a $229 price point for the i3 – way underestimated, it seems!

    • Sebastiaan Franken

      Are those prices wholesale or not? Usually corporations like Asus get a nice discount on Intel products, slashing the price from ~280 to about ~200.

    • serotheo

      Judging based on that and what others charge for more RAM I imagine this will land at a $299 price point, $249 if we’re lucky.

  • FirstLine

    +1 and no need for a new cable with mini-hdmi like on the NUCs.

  • Boothy

    i7??
    For real?
    Overkill. But cool.
    Box looks nice.
    I have one of the Samsung Chromeboxes and I’ll be honest, it flies, really really quick!
    Regarding storage comments below, I find 16gb fine on the Chromebox, but have but a 64gb ssd in my Series 5 550 3G.
    Reasoning, the Chromebox doesn’t move, I always have the net at home, and I have an external drive plugged into it anyway.
    Chromebook travels, I am often travelling and don’t want to eat my data allowance on streaming music or videos when out of wifi range. As ChromeOS functions just as well with local storage as Gdrive sometimes it’s just convenient to have a number of files stored locally.

  • Curtis Mitchell

    The price is right for the entry level unit. What are people going to do with an i7 chrome os machine? lol

    • serotheo

      Scroll through webpages as blazing fast-speeds like never before!

    • Enzzo

      Coreboot + true linux on a fancy cool box man!

  • na7noo7

    Awesome!

  • Joe

    Add a 4TB ext USB 3.0 7200 rpm HDD ( $179) and 39″ 4K Seiki UHD TV ($399) to view 4K videos !

  • Rowdy Scarlett

    Keeping fingers crossed for $199 for the 4 gb unit

  • serotheo

    Would totally pick up the i3 Variant with 4GB RAM and pair it up with a bluetooth keyboard, touchpad combo as a media set-up.

  • Kevin Gregg

    how to stream movies from NAS using chromebox? really want to do this and retire HTPC. (do not want to use USB attached hard drive)

    • maevian

      It’s possible with plex from the Google webstore

  • Chuck Cortes

    This combined with the Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 with Built-In Multi-Touch Touchpad would be an awesome GoogleTV replacement if there was a way to run Android apps on it.

    • Father of Kitties

      Yup. I have the Samsung Chromebox and the Logitech keyboard. It’s great for streaming shows and movies (and live sports when they are available. I use http://www.stingytv.com and http://www.guidebox.com for browsing and finding shows and movies.

  • Muhammad Alhabash

    As a Chrome OS fan, I believe the beauty of the OS is the consumption & the portability, I don’t believe a desktop machine would be interesting for me. I like using Chromebook as a secondary machine for watching Netflix, listening to Spotify, checking email, and for web browsing on the couch, just my humble opinion ..

  • http://www.fanlesstech.com/ FanlessTech

    I really don’t think this box is fanless. A 15W CPU requires either a rugged heatsink case, or a rather big CPU cooler inside a case featuring air vents.

    • zachary shoen

      That was my thought too I wouldn’t want to buy it if it will overheat every time I watch Netflix. Or just use it for a period of time.

  • greg

    if the I3 unit is priced right ($250 or so) I would get it. My old samsung chromebook is now my “desktop”.
    The entire issue with limited on-board storage is missing the point of chrome OS, just.use the cloud or attach an external drive.