ASUS unveiled a new mini PC built around Google’s Chrome operating system with full support for Android apps from Google Play. The new Chromebox 3, as it’s called, sports some impressive hardware inside a NUC-like chassis, including to an 8th generation Intel Core i7-8550U processor. It’s a burly chip based on Intel’s Kaby Lake Refresh (Kaby Lake-R) architecture with 4 cores and 8 threads clocked at 1.8GHz to 4GHz, with 8MB of L3 cache.
Other processor options include the Core i5-8250U, Core i3-7100U, and Celeron 3865U, depending on the buyer’s power needs. Systems like this have a wide range of uses, whether it’s running dual displays for high-level multitasking, or as a plug-and-play media player for digital signage in Chrome Kiosk mode. With regards to the latter, one of the selling points is that the Chromebox 3 can be remotely manged. It also has an automatic update feature.
Users can install up to 16GB of RAM in the Chromebox 3. For storage, capacity options range from 32GB on up to 256GB by way of a SATA-based M.2 form factor solid state drive. Those are the gumstick-sized SSDs, though in this case they shuttle data through the SATA bus and not the faster PCI Express bus. Even so, SATA-based SSDs are far faster than even the speediest mechanical hard drives.
Wireless connectivity consists of onboard 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2. The Chromebook 3 also features a gigabit LAN port, a 3-in-1 memory card reader, two USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A and Type-C ports, an audio jack, and HDMI output.
ASUS includes a VESA mount kit with the Chromebox 3. The system itself measures 148.5 x 148.5 x 40 cm (WxDxH) and weighs 1 kg. It’s small and light enough to mount behind monitors with VESA mounts, which essentially turns the display into an all-in-one PC. Plug in a wireless keyboard and mouse, and you’re all set.
The catch, of course, is that this is not a Windows 10 PC. Chrome OS is probably best suited for students and teachers, hence why low cost Chromebooks are so popular in education. Apps like Google Docs serve productivity needs, and with full support for Android apps, there is plenty that the Chromebox 3 can tap into.
You can pre-order the Chromebox 3 now from various places, with prices ranging from around $239 to $699.