Asus Chromebox available for pre-order for $179

The first Chrome OS desktop computer from Asus is now available for pre-order. The Asus Chromebox-M004U is a tiny desktop with an Intel Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a $179 price tag.

It’s expected to ship March 14th, but you can pre-order the Chromebox from Amazon, TigerDirect, or Newegg.

Asus Chromebox

This model features an Intel Celeron 2955U processor based on Intel’s “Haswell” architecture. Asus also plans to offer a Chromeboox M-005U model with an Intel Core i3-4010U Haswell chip starting in mid-March.

Both models feature built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, 4 USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, HDMI and DisplayPort. The $179 model comes with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and 100GB of free cloud storage space with Google Drive for 2 years.

The Asus Chromebox measures 4.9″ x 4.9″ x 1.7″ and ships with Google’s browser-based operating system. But as we’ve seen over and over again, it’s pretty easy to install Ubuntu, Debian, and other operating systems on Chrome OS hardware.

That could make the Asus Chromebox a pretty nifty little machine not only for folks who buy into Google’s vision that a web browser is your most important app… but also for folks looking for a cheap alternative to an Intel NUC or Gigabyte Brix mini-PC.

Update: Last month Asus told us these systems would be fanless, but the company made a last-minute change and included a fan due to lack of ambient temperature control. I’m told the fan won’t need to operate very often, and it will reportedly run quietly and shut off quickly when it does power up. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to test that out for myself soon.

asus chromebox_001

  • Anon

    Thanks for the info! Can’t wait to get mine.

  • Kyle

    The storage options on these are such a freaking joke

    • Anon

      The reason it’s so small is because it’s a net device, and gives you 100GB google drive space (+20GB existing). You can always plug in a SD card or USB2/3 external HDD. If you want big and powerful, buy a full PC.

      • Tom

        What if want small and powerful. By powerful, I mean just add larger storage options to this existing box (for an extra fee), dump Chrome OS and put another desktop Linux distro (or just leave it empty but have a regular BIOS) and remove that fruity Chrome looking logo.

      • John Moosmiller

        Plenty of Newegg combos that would be quicker and cheaper. with less trouble.

      • pickles

        Which ones? How much less/more than that Chrome box’s $179 model by just adding a 128 SSD?

      • Bill Smith

        It’s an appliance intended for a specific purpose — something other than a cheap machine for people who want to dump Chrome OS and install a desktop Linux distro. One way to keep the price down is to dispense with lots of flexibility.

      • Labmouse

        There’s really no technical reason why this device can’t be a full PC. It’s the same form factor as the NUC which is a full PC. There are even some models of the NUC, which when comparably equipped, comes out just $10-$20 more.

    • KK1357

      ChromeOS is a cloud client.

  • Don’t know

    Other than the 16GB of on-board storage not being very much (though, I believe still *just enough*) is there anything stopping someone from installing Win8.1 on this hardware? Drivers? Anything? Just curious.

    • brian

      more interested in putting linux on this. hopefully that’s not a problem with these chromeos systems.

    • min009

      If the bootloader is locked like chromebook, then no chance of hacking win 8 in.

      • Cal Rankin

        Chromebooks have developer options that let you boot from a flash drive or install another operating system to the device. At least the Intel ones do.

      • Labmouse

        I hear the Acer C720 (Intel haswell celeron) still can’t get windows on it without a hardware hack.

      • Cal Rankin

        I probably wouldn’t ruin a Chromebook by putting Windows on it anyway.

      • Labmouse

        Yeah, but this whole sub-thread was about getting windows on a chrome device and you’re spreading misinformation.

      • Cal Rankin

        I was given false information

    • Labmouse

      All chrome devices have locked bootloaders. You have to enter dev mode to install something else and installing windows can be hit or miss. Give it 6 months after this hits retail and check the chrome forums to see if anyone was able to get windows on it.

  • Michael Thompson

    An interesting system!
    It looks like one gets a little more oomph in the hardware department over a Chrome book too.

  • Park

    Does it have the option to enable the SeaBIOS so I can install another desktop Linux distro?

  • KK1357

    Not passively cooled? Well you almost nailed it.

    • etchil

      Ya, I was going to get this over the NUC and run another Linux distro because it’s fanless. Now, I might as well get a NUC or maybe a BRIX. Less hassle getting rid of Chrome and that ugly logo.

  • alandr

    It is not the first Chrome OS desktop Samsung had one it called
    Samsung Series 3 Chromebox

    • Brad Linder

      I didn’t say it was the first Chrome desktop. It’s the first Chrome OS desktop *from Asus*. LG is also launching the Chromestation all-in-one desktop this year.

      • alandr

        You right.My apologies. hard to read full thing on the phone. Would be Interesting to see LG Chromestation all-in-one desktop

      • alandr

        Quick question:Does Chrome browser on that box supports Flash videoplayback or do I need to install browsers like Dolphin for example?

      • pmug

        LG Chromebase.

  • Cat McGowan

    Very likely to become another poorly-supported-and-quickly-abandoned product like the ASUS Cube.

  • XBot1

    I want to put linux mint on this, will I be able to?

  • Thomas Lee Mullins

    I have been using a Chromebook. I find it very fast. Since most of what I do is online, I find it very useful. IMO, this should also be useful to someone who does most of their activities online.
    There are sites that have information about installing a different operating system on a Chromebook. Perhaps it would similar to installing a different operating system on a Chromebox?