ASUS has announced that the new Chromebox it promised last year will go on sale next month, priced from $179. The device – looking rather like Intel’s NUC ultra-compact desktop PC – is both the smallest and most powerful Chromebox to date, with a choice of three processors.
$179 will get you the base model, powered by a Celeron 2955U. Next model up is a Haswell Core i3 model, capable of driving a 4K monitor – and there will be an i7 version sold only outside North America. No pricing has yet been announced for the more powerful models.
“The Asus Chromebox offers the simplicity, security, and speed of Chrome OS in the most compact and powerful Chrome device to date,” said Felix Lin, director of product management at Google. “Perfect for home, the classroom or the office, Chromebox is designed for the way we use computers today” …
The Chromebox measures just under five inches square, and is 1.65 inches thick. While the Chrome concept is a lightweight browser-based device that doesn’t require a lot of power, the Haswell-powered versions would give some Windows PCs a run for their money. Connectivity is dual-band wifi 802.11b/g/n, Gigabit Ethernet, DisplayPort, HDMI and four USB 3.0 ports.
Storage is, however, a modest 16GB SSD – though you do get two years worth of 100GB storage on Google Drive thrown in.
ASUS clearly sees a role for the box as a media server, offering a VESA mount to allow it to be clipped to the back of compatible TVs. The device is fanless, so should be near-silent in use.