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Asus Announces Small Form Factor 'Chromebox' PCs

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the doesn't-look-like-a-trash-can dept.

Chrome 125

MojoKid writes "Asus stepped out this morning with something new for the Chrome OS powered hardware crowd, called a "Chromebox" small form factor PC. Just as Google has been evangelizing with its Chromebook notebook initiative, the pitch for these Chromebox systems is that they're capable of doing everything you need to do in today's connected world. While not everyone will totally agree with that marketing pitch — gaming, 3D modeling, and a host of specialized tasks are better suited for a PC with higher specs — there's certainly a market for these types of devices. They're low cost, fairly well equipped, and able to handle a wide variety of daily computing chores. There are two SKUs being released in the U.S. The first starts at $179 and sports an Intel Celeron 2955U processor, and the second features an Intel Core i3 4010U CPU (no mention of price just yet), both of which are based on Intel's 4th generation Haswell CPU architecture. Beyond the processor, these fan-less boxes come with two SO-DIMM memory slots with 2GB or 4GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, a 16GB SSD, a GbE LAN port, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, 2-in-1 memory card reader, four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI output, a DisplayPort, an audio jack, and a Kensington Lock. ASUS also includes a VESA mount kit with each Chromebox, and Google tosses in 100GB of Google Drive space free for two years."

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Really? (3, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about 7 months ago | (#46153815)

Just as Google has been evangelizing with its Chromebook notebook initiative, the pitch for these Chromebox systems is that they're capable of doing everything you need to do in today's connected world. While not everyone will totally agree with that marketing pitch — gaming, 3D modeling, and a host of specialized tasks are better suited for a PC with higher specs — there's certainly a market for these types of devices.

Wasn't one launched by Samsung a few years ago and utterly flopped?
http://www.engadget.com/2012/0... [engadget.com]

Re:Really? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46153983)

Yes. At $329.

Minor difference there.

Cost. It's important.

Re:Really? (3, Funny)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 7 months ago | (#46154137)

This will definitely make 2014 the Year of ChromeOS on the desktop!

Cost is importand (1)

Streetlight (1102081) | about 7 months ago | (#46157137)

It appears one just gets the box. Unless you can re-purpose old accessories, you'll need to buy a monitor, HDMI cable, mouse and keyboard which in total could cost more than the black box. Of course if you have an HD TV with HDMI input, that takes care of that and maybe a old mouse and keyboard, you're all set. You also must run the HDMI cable from the box to the TV if that's your choice which could be inconvenient in the living room. A BT keyboard and mouse would be better in that situation. One could also get a KVM switch with HDMI ports added to your current setup. All this would increase cost regardless of your situation and choices. On the other hand, Chromebooks might cost less as the screen is there as well as a trackpad and keyboard.

Re:Cost is importand (1)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | about 7 months ago | (#46158413)

A lot of school systems like the one I work for have lots of 5-6 year old PCs that we are about to have to try and upgrade to Win7. Lots of them won't make it, leaving a lot of keyboards, mice and monitors sitting around with nothing to do. This could be a very cheap option.

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

tangelogee (1486597) | about 7 months ago | (#46153993)

I suppose it depends on the cost. The Samsung box was $329, which you could find a PC for about the same price. If they can bring it down to about $100, it would definitely be a lot more tempting.

Re:Really? (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 7 months ago | (#46154279)

What I think would be more tempting would be an all-in-one. I'm sure that Asus could build essentially just a monitor with ChromeOS on it, and a bluetooth keyboard and mouse that works natively. It would be slicker than this, and no wires.

Re:Really? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 7 months ago | (#46154417)

I imagine that the problem with an all-in-one (aside from being harder to hit impulse-buy pricepoints) is that if you want to go all in one, you either have to bury yourself in incrementally different SKUs, or make potentially alienating decisions about what monitor sizes your customers will want, both today and until you refresh the product.

That isn't trivial at the best of times, budgets and priorities vary (though easier for Apple, since they can eliminate the approximately-mini-tower competition by simply not building anything except all-in-ones between the mini and the Pro); but it's probably particularly touchy for ChromeOS: Users who want simplicity might well be willing to spend plenty for a nice wall of pixels (or be old people and need the giant text), while users who are cheapskates or kitting out a thin-client toildrome at minimum cost want 17 inch TN panel shit, and are only refraining from reusing last year's monitors because people kept messing with the extra cabling.

Given ChromeOS' somewhat weird demographics, I wouldn't want to be roped into choosing a screen size.

Re:MS, Please Tear Down This Price Barrier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46155445)

Windows 8.1 is like Carter as ChromeOS is like Reagan, the price is ~179 and Trickling Down...!

Re:Really? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 7 months ago | (#46158235)

I bought a couple of "NetTop" boxes back when "Netbooks" were a thing... they were competent little things, kind of painfully slow with the Atom chips, but did what they did well and in a very nice form factor.

Too bad the power supplies were crap and when they died, they were gone.

Re:Really? (1)

mikael (484) | about 7 months ago | (#46154593)

The monitor and disk drives are the component most likely to break. The last thing I would want to do is to have to replace one simply because the other broke. The best design I can think of would be to go back to "podules" where the CPU/GPU/memory and disk drives were on separate blocks but slotted into the base of the monitor.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46156087)

I don't think LCD/LED monitors are most likely to break. Just going by my computer lab of 25 stations, over 7(!) years old now. I have lost about 4 Dell tower's (Optiplex 745) due to bad power supplies or motherboards (maybe one bad hard disk?). There was one bad LCD monitor (maybe LED, whatever was popular in 2006)

I don't think anything broke in the first five years. (oh, I have lost dozens of keys off the keyboards, when the keyboard tray slides in, frequently it hits the bottom of the desk)

Re:Really? (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 7 months ago | (#46154873)

I'd just like a standard PC in that form factor. The only real "full" PC I've seen that might be decent would be Apple's Mac Mini, especially in the video department.

Something that size with 128GB SSD, decent CPU, decent GPU, and 8-16 GB of RAM would be a nice change, and since it would mount on the monitor (if it followed the VESA standard), it would be completely out of the way.

Re:Really? (1)

JMZero (449047) | about 7 months ago | (#46154967)

Look for Intel NUC boxes - you can get a reasonably powerful computer in a very small box. They're expensive, and they need a high speed fan to keep them running, but otherwise are pretty cool.

Re:Really? (1)

js_sebastian (946118) | about 7 months ago | (#46155079)

I'd just like a standard PC in that form factor. The only real "full" PC I've seen that might be decent would be Apple's Mac Mini, especially in the video department.

Something that size with 128GB SSD, decent CPU, decent GPU, and 8-16 GB of RAM would be a nice change, and since it would mount on the monitor (if it followed the VESA standard), it would be completely out of the way.

..and I would want mine to be fanless, with no spinning of any kind involved to make noise in my living room. And for that, I'm more than willing to sacrifice some performance.

I recently solved this with a box from fit-PC, bought diskless and fitted with a 128GB SSD. But the asus offering would have been interesting if I did not yet have a fanless living room box, particularly given the price (so long as I can swap in a reasonably sized SSD, and boot it into my choice of linux distro, of course).

Re:Really? (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 7 months ago | (#46155337)

One idea I've been thinking of is having a small PC, fanless, and with a SSD. Then, using a 10gigE or even a gigabit Ethernet connection directly to an iSCSI box that would be either placed in the attic or a well-sound-attenuated place. That way, I have the best of both worlds... no fans, no drives, little noise, while having decent drive capacity.

Re:Really? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 7 months ago | (#46155547)

It's $495, http://www.amazon.com/Intel-D5... [amazon.com] if you scroll down and look at the "Frequently Bought Together" section.
That is, if you consider an Intel 5000 GPU decent...

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154939)

LG announced one, the chromebase:

http://www.engadget.com/2014/01/06/lg-chromebase-hands-on/ [engadget.com]

No details on pricing yet. What I like about it is that it has an HDMI input, so it can be a family computer, but if I need more power I can hook up my laptop.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46155065)

There's a fairly common idea around that if you can get a cheap PC for the same price there'e be no reason to use a chromebook.
I have both in my house, and I must say if I need to do anything web based I reach for the chromebook before the laptop because
- it cold boots to the browser in about 7 seconds
(you may have a top end SSD laptop that can do that but we're comparing chromebooks with cheap PC's here)
- it's light,
- lots of battery life

There are 3 chromebooks in our house and I know whichever one I take off the pile, everything i need will be there instantly.

My 75 year old mother REALLY should have a Chromebook (she already has a cloudprint ready printer after all). She borrowed mine when her old winbook died and got on with it fine with no hep. But no, something made her buy a Window 8 laptop and now my life is a misery (she lives 200 miles away).

Aside from all the crap with viruses and malware and forced obsolescence of perfectly good OS's, the REAL pain in the ass with good old laptops is how much grief you have to go to when one dies and you have to reconstruct all of what you had on a new one. As a Chromebook user I'm looking forward to not having to do that again.

And yes, if Google died tomorrow I'd be screwed, but then if MS died tomorrow how many missed patch tuesdays would it take to sink the OS ?
When I get something from MS that works, and I just want to use it for 10 years, that's contrary to MS's business model so they have to go out and break it for me so I buy something new. Apple too.
Whereas if I use a chromebook as it's intended, google are getting what they want out of the deal too so we're both happy and noone needs to disturb the harmony for years.

And yes, even if you think they are not evil, google still concentrate so much of our data in one place that they are bound to be infiltrated by the NSA.
But I'm not under any illusions - mostly nothing I do is that important. And when when it is I'll take proper precautions, on my own terms.

I have found the chromebook to be remarkably useful. I bought 1 for a laugh and ended up with 3 because
- they make good teleconf boxes (with Google hangouts)
- they make passable replacement for portable DVD player (netflix streaming) for kids to watch movies anywhere
- I can remote to my "real" box with chrome remote desktop if I have to
- I can do email, calendar, word processing and quite a few HTML5 based web apps offline
- I can't do photoshop (but then I never did)

Once I showed my kids that they didn't have to do everything in office just because school has it, they have become quite liberated. They all know they can find all their stuff on any machine anywhere with the Chrome browser. Including many phones.

And I read with interest the slagging off that Chromebooks get and note that 90% of it is from people who haven't used them

Re:Really? (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 7 months ago | (#46155559)

A Chromebook might be useful as a secure terminal if one is running a Citrix XenDesktop [1] installation. That way, if the laptop is stolen, there isn't anything on it that is confidential.

[1]: I wish there were an alternative to Citrix that had a client app that worked on iOS and Android... something that didn't require a third party server that middle-manned the connection, which virtually all the remote session stuff have. I want the authentication to be at my end, not trust a third party with the keys to my network's perimeter.

Grandma (4, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | about 7 months ago | (#46154361)

This or a chromebook is the ideal computer for grandma who just needs to check her e-mail and surf a bit. I know because I got one for myself then when I could not stand Chrome-OS's annoying limitations I transferred to an elderly relative. CHromeOS is a wonderful concept and I thought it would be a panacea but it just blows for anyone but the most primitive user.

things you can't do without pain:
1) this network OS can't actually do any local networking.
2) can't mount a local network disk
3) can't print to a local printer by itself
4) can't run any other OS practically. Oh sure you can install linux, but then the whole machine goes to crap. It won't autoupdate chomeos any longer once you install linux. And it will erase the linux partition if you touch the wrong key at boot time. Some nut jobs have told "just reflash your roms so doesn't do that". Which sort of proves my point.
6) you can't run most software without an internet connection.
7) all the chromebooks I've used don't handle many common external screens properly.
8) there's no granularity of security. your username and password is your login. you can't sever the connection. You can't tell what exactly APPS do with the permissions you give them.
9) virtually no documentation and fickle SDK capabilities at googles pleasure.

Re:Grandma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154465)

Doesn't run Java either. So no minecraft among other things.

Re:Grandma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46157761)

Doesn't run Java either. So no minecraft among other things.

Excellent - the only way it could be better would be if it didn't run FfffuckingFfflash either.

Re:Grandma (2)

goombah99 (560566) | about 7 months ago | (#46154823)

I meant that your google user name and password are your login. y'know the same one you use for your google wallet, and gmail.

10) Ironically, it ChromeOS wont run chrome screen sharing so you can't maintain one of these remotely.
11) you can't share the devices disk to other local computers, so it's not useful as a personal server or media station

Re:Grandma (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 7 months ago | (#46157537)

4) can't run any other OS practically. Oh sure you can install linux, but then the whole machine goes to crap. It won't autoupdate chomeos any longer once you install linux. And it will erase the linux partition if you touch the wrong key at boot time. Some nut jobs have told "just reflash your roms so doesn't do that". Which sort of proves my point.

If you can replace the storage with something larger, this makes a perfect, if not basic media player. Great if you don't want a bulky mATX box sitting under the telly.

However something tells me they used an internal SD Card for storage (like so many bare bones ESXi servers I get these days) so the upper limit on storage is pretty low ATM (IIRC, 128 GB)

Re:RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46155013)

~$179 for the ChromeOS...!

Re:Really? (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 7 months ago | (#46156169)

In "tech years" they may as well have launched it a decade ago. People who dismiss a product because it failed a few years ago are usually the same ones left holding the bag when another company, such as Apple, makes it successful.

Re:Really? (1)

rthille (8526) | about 7 months ago | (#46156245)

I picked up two Core i5 based Chromeboxes (from the Google Dev conf) on Craigslist for $200 each. Seemed like a bargain. One's running Crubuntu, and the other is awaiting me having time to flash a new bios so I can run straight Ubuntu.

Re:Really? (1)

GezusK (449864) | about 7 months ago | (#46157401)

Samsung was charging more for their device than their regular Chromebooks cost. That made no sense, since it didn't include an LCD, keyboard, touchpad, and battery. I still think this one is a little high, but closer to where it should be than the Samsung device.

So... Linux? (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46153839)

Can you put Linux on the thing?

It would be nice to have something I could use to write up blog posts and the like, without having to resort to touchscreen keyboards or breaking out the 5 lb, 17" powerhouse I use for *real* work.

Further Review (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46153861)

Upon actually bothering to read the summary (I figured it was a new, low-end Chromebook), I now see that it's not a laptop, but looks more like a set-top box.

So, new question... would it make a cost-effective Scrypt-based cryptocurrency miner?

Re:Further Review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154057)

no. you can't mine crypto currency at all anymore w/o an ASIC that does at least 5 gh minimum and that isn't much

Re:Further Review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154147)

Scrypt Based not BitCoin. They don't have ASIC for scrypt(yet) Srcypt was designed to be resistant to ASIC style miners

Re:Further Review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154759)

mining scrypt is a huge focking waste of time, it is worthless and will always be worthless

Re:Further Review (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 7 months ago | (#46154205)

you cant mine at 5gh either. .

Re:Further Review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154607)

yes you can. you won't make much, but you can mine.

Re:Further Review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154653)

i got small returns mining in a pool at 5gh just two weeks ago, I only have 20 gh now but I make 3$ a day in BTC.

Re:Further Review (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 7 months ago | (#46155587)

and how big is your mothers power bill?

Re:Further Review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46156307)

my electric bill is not impacted at all by an extra 18 watts, dumbass.

Re:Further Review (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154059)

Frankly, you seem to be an idiot. There is an expected minimal level on technical intelligence, and you lack it. You don't even seem to read the article you are asking questions about, as reading the article would have answered your question. Please stop posting, you just waste people's time.

And, no, of course it wouldn't be good for cyyptocurrency.

Re:Further Review (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 7 months ago | (#46154505)

Upon actually bothering to read the summary (I figured it was a new, low-end Chromebook), I now see that it's not a laptop, but looks more like a set-top box.

So, new question... would it make a cost-effective Scrypt-based cryptocurrency miner?

If memory serves, Scrypt crunching is still markedly faster on GPUs than CPUs, so this is probably a poor bet. It probably has a miniPCIe slot for the wireless, so you could theoretically pull a single lane off with a suitable adapter(and theoretically even put multiple GPUs on it, with a PCIe switch and extraordinary luck with the firmware); but that would be a fairly painful exercise for mediocre results compared to just buying whatever motherboard/CPU combo with lots of PCIe slots is cheapest and a few PCIe 1x ribbon-cable risers.

Re:So... Linux? (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 7 months ago | (#46154195)

yes theirs a project that installs ubuntu on top of chrome os being these systems have locked down bios.

Re:So... Linux? (3, Informative)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 7 months ago | (#46154337)

Chrome OS uses a special bootloader and some other stuff, but you can install a Linux-based OS on a separate partition (after resizing the partitions) and dual boot it, as long as you can enable "developer mode" on the box so it will boot unsigned code (there's a switch for it on my Chromebook behind the battery). Or you can install one right inside Chrome OS with a chroot, if that's sufficient, again it requires developer mode turned on.

You could probably just blow everything away and put Linux on it alone, but I dunno how you'd go about doing that.

Re:So... Linux? (4, Informative)

Tough Love (215404) | about 7 months ago | (#46154995)

You set developer mode in bios and poof, you own your device again. So far, no chromeos vender has locked that out, if they ever do then the devices just become training wheels for the internet.

Re:So... Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46158171)

Just remember that by enabling "developer mode", you have to sit through a 30 second delay on every boot! And if you press a key, it will disable developer mode and your box is hosed. The only way around this is flashing a new BIOS, but to do that you have to physically open the device and remove a write protect tab. Fuck that.

Re:So... Linux? (1)

reikae (80981) | about 7 months ago | (#46154415)

Isn't ChromeOS a Linux distro at its core? Installing a different distro should be fairly simple, I hope. This thing is cheap enough, I'm considering getting one as a toy.

Re:So... Linux? (0)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 7 months ago | (#46154583)

Can you put Linux on the thing?

It would be nice to have something I could use to write up blog posts and the like, without having to resort to touchscreen keyboards or breaking out the 5 lb, 17" powerhouse I use for *real* work.

If prior ChromeOS-things are a guide (and I haven't heard anything about Google changing this) the firmware defaults to cryptographically verifying the image on boot, and has a few bits and pieces designed to make reflashing a trashed or compromised boot volume over the internet or from USB trivial.

However, either out of niceness or to avoid an arms race with jailbreakers, all ChromeOS-thing firmware has either a physical switch or a key-combo you press on startup that disables all verification and lets you boot whatever amuses you. I don't know if you can permanently force the system into unverified mode from unverified mode, or whether you have to do this on every boot; but this is a deliberately allowed option.

As for how easy it is, the Exynos 5 based ARM Chromebooks take a bit of fiddling; because Samsung's togetherness with OEMs is slightly better than with the mainline kernel; but the Intel Chrome-things are just boring basic Intel systems. Since they are built to run the Linux that lives under ChromeOS, you won't find any parts that Just Don't Work; but I wouldn't necessarily expect Google to care about firmware blobs, or even binary drivers if they behave well and the silicon price is low enough.

Short answer: Yes; but might be slightly more hassle than a very cooperative Wintel model (though a whole hell of a lot less hassle than one of the nightmare systems).

Re:So... Linux? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 7 months ago | (#46156611)

Can you put Linux on the thing?

It would be nice to have something I could use to write up blog posts and the like, without having to resort to touchscreen keyboards or breaking out the 5 lb, 17" powerhouse I use for *real* work.

Linux yes, Windows no (unless it has a BIOS - of which only the Pixel is known to have).

But unless you use the chroot Linux, it isn't a pleasant experience - developer mode requires you hit a key combo on startup to acknowledge it. if you wait too long (30 seconds) it times out and complains of wanting to go into recovery mode., So you have to reboot and hit the key combo within 30 seconds every boot and recoot.

Or it could be the other way - you have to wait 30 seconds at the screen while it tells you how to recover the thing.

In the end I just left it running ChromeOS.

Re:So... Linux? Intel NUC (1)

Technician (215283) | about 7 months ago | (#46157359)

The box looks like it is based on the Intel Next Unit of Computing, but at a much lower price point. A bare "kit" of an NUC without a drive is more expensive. It should be able to run Linux after the Chrome bootloader issue is addressed.
http://www.intel.com/content/w... [intel.com]

SKU? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46153911)

What is an SKU? Don't answer, I don't care, article ignored.

Re:SKU? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154127)

And I was all set to answer you.

Re:SKU? (2, Informative)

Gerald (9696) | about 7 months ago | (#46154191)

Stock keeping unit [wikipedia.org] . Kind of like UUIDs for things you buy in stores. I take it you've never worked in retail?

(I don't care that you don't care. Others might.)

Re:SKU? (1)

rthille (8526) | about 7 months ago | (#46156271)

Not at all like UUIDs. UUIDs are gobally unique, SKUs denote a class of items, of which there can be many items of each SKU/class.

That's a perfectly good desktop PC for business (1)

Animats (122034) | about 7 months ago | (#46153925)

That's a perfectly good desktop PC for business. It doesn't need to be set up as a Chromebook. This thing will be powering call centers and other desktops with modest requirements.

You could probably put Windows 7 Embedded (which is simply a version of Windows that lets you make a distro with unwanted features removed) on it.

Re:That's a perfectly good desktop PC for business (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 7 months ago | (#46154615)

My experience has been...less pleasant... that the salesguys promised; but somebody kitting out a whitish-collar sweatshop would probably be accessing a terminal server with these (I think both RDP and Citrix are available, not sure about VMware).

Brilliant for business use. (3, Interesting)

Dzimas (547818) | about 7 months ago | (#46153969)

These things might sell quite well to libraries and businesses that need clients for web-based apps. They're also ideal second (or third) machines for households with kids. Maintaining my kid's Windows-based machine takes time and effort and Chrome would do away with that while still allowing him to use the sites and apps that matter the most -- Youtube, Google Apps for homework and gmail. He doesn't need or use much more.

Re:Brilliant for business use. (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#46154479)

Except that no vendor will support it. Unless they get someone like oracle involved that would be willing to mass-port a large number of apps. It's one thing to buy a web app and know it'll work with Chrome OS, it's an entirely different thing to then have problems with that web app... go to your vendor, and have them close your ticket immediately with "Using unsupported OS" which is exactly what they'd do.

Re:Brilliant for business use. (1)

swillden (191260) | about 7 months ago | (#46155627)

go to your vendor, and have them close your ticket immediately with "Using unsupported OS" which is exactly what they'd do.

Unless there's some funky browser-specificity going on (which is common for older webapps, but becoming less so), you should just be able to reproduce the issue on a supported OS and go back to the vendor with that. If you have apps that don't work on Chrome, of course, Chrome OS is a bad choice.

Re:Brilliant for business use. (1)

GezusK (449864) | about 7 months ago | (#46157419)

We're already rolling out Chromebooks for our 1-to-1 effort for 8th graders. These would be nice to replace aging machines in our libraries (book searches), and our elementary labs (mostly education web sites).

Then we plan to combine this with a VDI roll-out for those few times they do need a Windows app.

Where every man has gone before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154017)

Zotac zbox, Intel Nuc, Apple Mac Mini, Gigabyte Brix, Samsung Chromebox, Lenovo Q190 etc, etc.

NUC-like? (1)

zvu (3467541) | about 7 months ago | (#46154037)

Just looks like an ultra low end NUC [newegg.com] with Chrome OS on it.

Re:NUC-like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154547)

Ultra low end ???

NUC = same i3 but you have to buy RAM, WiFi NIC, SSD and even the AC cable.

The Asus Chrombox also have 4 USB ports (instead of 3 on the NUC), a display port AND an Ethernet port.

Re:NUC-like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154739)

Ultra low price NUC, you mean. You can't get a Celeron NUC for $180 with RAM, SSD, and wifi.

Samsung designers are nuts (1)

ozduo (2043408) | about 7 months ago | (#46154251)

they coloured it black then called it a Chromebox - where's the chrome?

FU Microsoft (2, Insightful)

xtal (49134) | about 7 months ago | (#46154261)

"Thanks for Windows 8!"

Heh heh.

Cheap hardware. No MS tax. Noms.

Re:FU Microsoft (2)

Drew617 (3034513) | about 7 months ago | (#46154623)

You better believe there's a Google tax, though. You pay in a less direct way maybe, but it's there.

No shilling here, I still use Google products where no convenient alternatives exist. But don't allow yourself to believe the services are free.

Given Google's (as perceived by me) direction lately, I'm to the point where I'd much rather pay cash (to some non-evil entity) for a platform than become their product. Seems like a cool box and a good idea but ChromeOS would keep me from even touching one of these.

Man... (0)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 7 months ago | (#46154321)

I can't wait until Google starts going downhill, and all these little spy boxes get thrown away.

Re:Man... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 7 months ago | (#46154639)

I can't wait until Google starts going downhill, and all these little spy boxes get thrown away.

Why so wasteful? With a coreboot port these things would be damn nice little computers. Not for gaming or workstation tasks; but perfectly pleasant.

Re:Man... (1)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 7 months ago | (#46155681)

Why so wasteful? With a coreboot port these things would be damn nice little computers. Not for gaming or workstation tasks; but perfectly pleasant.

I wasn't aware of that project. I guess if you could nuke the OS that comes with it, it would be kind of cool.

GET ME OUT OF THE BETA! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154325)

I can't even damn log in and revert to classic mode.

This layout SUCKS. I can't even go back to classic now

Re:GET ME OUT OF THE BETA! (1)

trytoguess (875793) | about 7 months ago | (#46154485)

You're going to want to delete slashdot's cookies to get out of beta mode.

Re:GET ME OUT OF THE BETA! (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 7 months ago | (#46154813)

Same issue on my phone.

Holy crap.

Slashdot is not useless on it. Good GOD

FUCKING BETA SUCKS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154937)

Enough already Slashdot! Beta Slashdot [slashdot.org] SUCKS!

Re:GET ME OUT OF THE BETA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154953)

I can't even damn log in and revert to classic mode.

This layout SUCKS. I can't even go back to classic now

Interesting. I thought I couldn't log in on the beta site just because I was stuck using IE8...sounds like it might be a wider issue.. And yes, the new layout is too wasteful of precious screen real-estate.

Re:GET ME OUT OF THE BETA! (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 7 months ago | (#46155697)

Isn't there still a tiny "use classic mode" link at the bottom of the page?

Google Drive is a disincentive (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 7 months ago | (#46154365)

Hah, unless Google fixes their bandwidth greedy sync engine [google.com] for Google Drive, offering free storage is not much of an incentive...unless the people who buy it have not actually tried to use GD before, I suppose.

Re:Google Drive is a disincentive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154643)

This is only relevant if you're using google drive on a computer that would see to store files locally, surely ?

Re:Google Drive is a disincentive (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 7 months ago | (#46154891)

This is only relevant if you're using google drive on a computer that would see to store files locally, surely ?

Um, I thought that's what they're talking about here? A standalone, small form factor PC running Chrome which would (presumably) come with a Google Drive client preinstalled?

I suppose you could uninstall the Google Drive client from the unit and only use the 'free' storage manually via the web interface, but that kinda defeats one of the basic benefits of using Google Drive instead of just using a cheap remote FTP storage service...

Do Want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154817)

Fanless? Can I swap the SSD and slap Windows 7 on the i3 model?

Do want.

Re:Do Want (2)

Tough Love (215404) | about 7 months ago | (#46155047)

Fanless? Can I swap the SSD and slap Windows 7 on the i3 model?

If you put Windows on it (good luck with that) you will probably need a fan.

I'm pretty happy with my Samsung Chromebox ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46154831)

... that I picked up a couple years back. I replaced a dedicated HTPC I'd built for my living room for around the same price (US $330 at the time) with it. It's much quieter. It's quick to load. It works great for streaming media from Hulu, Netflix, and Pandora. I can also use it with my Plex server for my local media.

Looks like Mac Mini (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46155057)

Looks great and a lot like the Mac Mini I just bought and _love_ - it's so quiet, runs cool - best bang for my bucks. Why aren't Mac Minis more popular?

Re:Looks like Mac Mini (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 7 months ago | (#46156781)

Because unlike the cheap crappy PCs, mac mini is an expensive crappy PC. Market for those is fairly limited, as people who go for "style over substance" who are the main apple audience generally want to have a more expensive and powerful machine at their disposal. At the same time people who for for substance over style will get a much cheaper PC which will likely perform just as well if not better in most tasks.

Remember, most of the low end stuff that is bought today is laptops. Desktop prices on sold machines are going up because people don't buy the crappy desktops all that much any more.

Tough Sell (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about 7 months ago | (#46155153)

These things have been around as a niche product for many years. Only difference is Asus is loading Chrome on them, when usually they don't come with anything.

I always thought they were a bit of a tough sell. 2-400$ where 3-4 you get a netbook, or 4-5 a low end laptop. That come with windows. That come with a monitor. That come with a battery and can be cordless.

Anyway I don't see this as much of a move, simply another player in a small market.

I'm surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46155161)

hardly anybody sees the inherent danger this platform is to personal computing.

Celeron? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#46155255)

Ick.

Re:Celeron? (1)

vivek7006 (585218) | about 7 months ago | (#46155459)

Ick.

Its Haswell http://ark.intel.com/products/... [intel.com]

Re:Celeron? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#46156383)

Wouldn't it be nice if Intel could use some form of consistant branding scheme? Those specs actually look half-decent - not a class I'd expect to see labeled as a 'Celeron.' That term has mostly been used for the budget chips, generally ones seriously short on cache.

Re:Celeron? (2)

PRMan (959735) | about 7 months ago | (#46157241)

The budget chips have grown up and are now capable.

Been wanting a BeagleBone Black... (2)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about 7 months ago | (#46155543)

If this type of box was under $100, I would jump on it. At $65 I would buy several. Currently trying to get a BeagleBone Black (when they get stock again) for the same general purpose, but being able to drive a 4k display would be worth a little extra.

Yeah, but you can't pawn them (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about 7 months ago | (#46155651)

The Pawn Stars guy won't give you enough for a bus ticket to Reno. Oh NOES!

Re:Yeah, but you can't pawn them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46158247)

We've all been Scroogled! How will we become actors and actresses now?!

Does Steam run on ChromeOS (1)

CavemanKiwi (559158) | about 7 months ago | (#46155683)

Can you run steam on this . Or load SteamOS if so I think this would be very interesting to have this coupled with steam in home streaming.

Hmm - this seems the wrong way around (1)

goldcd (587052) | about 7 months ago | (#46155765)

Surely it would be better to have a TV, with a built in Chromebox?
As you go up-range on TVs, you get seem to get the same panel, with a prettier frame, and more and more god-awful/useless features.
In the same way the computer invaded my phone, could they please invade my TV?
You suddenly get something supported, that can run cross-manufactuer apps etc - and once you've got a CPU and some storage in there, you can start to bolt the tuner/PVR/Guide etc into the OS. Then add in the Google 'cloud' and you'd be able to sign into your hotel room TV and watch your films, your channels and maybe video-conference to your friends. God-knows if this is the direction of the TV world - but it's certainly not a curved screen, and I'm sure Google would fall over themselves to know what you're watching when you're not in-front of your PC.

Re:Hmm - this seems the wrong way around (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46155877)

If you look on the back of a TV, there is an HDMI input. You can use an appropriate wire to connect your TV to a Roku or a Chromebox or a Computer, even! Amazing!

Please lurk more.

Re:Hmm - this seems the wrong way around (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46156119)

Fuck you, smart TVs. All I want is a big dumb display, thank you very much.

Disgustingly overpriced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46156473)

Android 'smart keys' or 'stick computers' cost as little as 30 dollars, and are first class basic computing devices. Indeed, it is only with the most recent Atom from Intel (which has a vastly higher price tag), that Atom chips can match the HD video decode and GPU power of the ultra-cheapo ARM SoC parts.

However, Kabini from AMD and Baytrail from Intel, while pricier than the ARM equivalents, are still cheap enough to allow a basic PC box to be built for well under 100 dollars. This Intel inspired NUC design is a bad joke. Worse, ChromeOS is the ultimate bad joke unless all you wish to do is hand over all your personal data to Google. ChromeOS is so crippled, it only makes sense in its laptop variety, where many people force their parents to use a Chromebook, so IT support for the damned thing is as easy and brainless as possible.

Want a PC- get the real thing with Windows and a HDD. Want to keep your parents online, without support hassle- get them a Chromebook.

ThinkPenguin's has had something similar for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46157643)

The Penguin Wee's a little box which supports an array of configurations. It's not limited by a 16GB SSD and your definitely not forced to store documents in the "cloud". I've been using it as an entertainment PC connected to a 50" 1080p HDMI TV. It works great with a Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400.

I don't understand the problem with paying a bit more when your talking about an entertainment setup. By the time you get done with it a proper setup can save significantly on cable TV costs. I've been able to eliminate my $100+ monthly cable bill and I'm not even paying more for internet access or other streaming services.

I'd be doubtful a $180 box could truly handle it... well that is. I've hooked up other cheapo devices before that people had claimed were capable of 1080p (like the Raspberry Pi) and the experience was horrible. Despite being buggy storage is an issue and SD cards just don't cut it. While this device is a lot more powerful I'm skeptical its a good solution compared real computers like the Penguin Wee that are of a similar form factor.

Crippled out of the box (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46157811)

16 GB SSD? One can purchase off-lease/refurb PCs with a lot more oomph outta DA box than these, for far less. Asus really needs to reconsider the price points here. This is a glorified pi on a good day.

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