The Asus Chromebox is a surprisingly capable little desktop computer which sells for as little as $179

. It has an Intel Celeron 2955U processor, DisplayPort and HDMI, WiFi and Bluetooth, 4 USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, and unlike some cheap mini computers it comes with memory, storage, and an operating system.

But if 2GB of RAM and 16GB aren’t enough for your needs (or you plan to replaces the Chrome OS software with something a bit more resource-intensive), it turns out the Asus Chromebox has something else going for it: It’s easy to upgrade.

You can open the case by removing the 4 rubber feet on the bottom of the case and then removing the screws that were hidden by the feet.

After that you can gently pry open the bottom cover with a screwdriver or other thin implement (I couldn’t quite get a grip using just my fingernails).

asus chromebox inside

Once the cover is off you’ll see two memory slots on one side of the case. Most retail models will ship with 2GB or 4GB of storage. To upgrade the memory, just slide in an extra stick of DDR3 RAM or replace the existing storage with a higher capacity module.

On the other side of the case you’ll find the wireless module and 16GB SSD. In order to get at the solid state drive you’ll need to first remove the screw holding the wireless module in place, slide it out, and then remove the screw covering the SSD.

ssd_01

Then you can just slide out the SanDisk SSD and replace it with a higher capacity model. The Asus Chromebox uses an M.2 SATA III SSD and you can find plenty of 32GB or larger models at Amazon. Most 42mm M.2 2242 drives should just slide into the space vacated by the original SanDisk SSD.

To be honest, 16GB of storage is probably plenty if you’re planning on using the Chromebox to run Chrome OS. But if you expect to install a large number of Chrome packaged apps, store a lot of music, movies, or other files, or install Ubuntu or another operating system, it’s good to know how easy it is to upgrade.

 



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66 replies on “How to upgrade Asus Chromebox memory and storage”

  1. on a few photos I’ve seen that on the cpu side there’s another mini pci-e slot, on the ittle daugtherboard with sd-slot and buzzer.
    anybody know if that slot is just simple mini pci-e or m-sata too?
    it would be really intresting…

  2. Has anyone tried to install .. Android? Or XP on this? Wondering it its possible.

      1. I have windows 10 pro on one box and Ubuntu 18.04 on another, using EFI enabled bios from https://mrchromebox.tech, Just upgraded hard drive to 120 GB and Ram to 4GB for windows and for Ubuntu running on 2gb / 16GB stock. Please see list of supported devices from https://mrchromebox.tech/#devices. Infact you can put any Linux OS in this box. For windows I have only used Windows.

        1. It is good for HTPC with low power and also this can be used as File server as you can attach 4 usb hard drive if you run this headless.

        2. Yes it is very good for HTPC, If you have a 1080p Screen/Monitor/TV go with Asus CN60, if you have 4K TV, go with CN62. I use this as htpc as well as file server where I have 4TB hard drive connected to USB3 Port. If you connect Wireless Keyboard and Mouse, it will be better for HTPC.

        3. ASUS CN60: Max 16GB, Supports Dual Monitor, Max 1080p on each Monitor.
          ASUS CN62: Supports everything CN60 does + 4K

    1. I’m running Android-x86 4.4.2. It’s quite impressive. Only issues i’ve run into so far are screen lock which wraps up the CPU, HDMI audio isn’t working out-of-box and bluetooth became unavailable in OS after i messed up trying to pair keyboard/mouse Required a reboot to resolve and working fine if you pair properly. I wasn’t able to boot USB until implementing SeaBIOS from John Lewis. Google “John Lewis Asus Chromebox Owners Rejoice” for that. I’m not convinced that Windows can’t installed, so I’m working on that today.

      1. Nathan, windows can be installed, browse through https://mrchromebox.tech you need to install Seabios firmware. and upgrade hard drive and memory to 4GB. LOL Sorry, posted for question, 4 years back. 🙂

    2. Also – I’m using a Dell E2014T touchscreen monitor which works perfectly out-of-box and much better than it does with the native Chrome OS. It’s like using a 20in tablet. Keyboard and mouse work fine though.

      1. Nathan I am trying to use Dell E2014T Touchscreen but it is not running smoothly. Sometimes is responsive to the touch sometimes is not. Can you please let me know if you did something additional. I just got the monitor is out of the box.
        Thank you

      1. Yes. I just completed my upgrade with 2x8GB DDR3L-1600 SODIMMs from Crucial (see photos for model number), and Chrome OS reads it without any problems.

        1. Did you upgrade from the factory default 2gb, or had you already upgraded to 4 or 8 gb before you upgraded to 16? Have you found anything that utilizes all 16 gigs of ram?

        2. Upgraded directly from the factory 2GB RAM. Nothing utilizes the full 16GB, but I’ll tell you, I can get a LOT more tabs open concurrently and performing without hitch. This machine really breathes at 16GB, no question. It’s noticeable.

        3. I should add that remote desktop via ChromeRDP works FAR more efficiently now as well. These machines aren’t CPU-bound, they’re RAM-bound.

  3. What is the maximum RAM the motherboard can accommodate? Can it go up to 8 GB?

    1. Just ran through this tutorial and successfully upgraded the Chromebox to 16GB of RAM.

    1. I realize this is an older article but for anyone wanting to turn this ASUS Chromebox into a Windows 10 machine, it’s quite simple to do and the machine runs Windows very well!

      This site offers a nice guide for updating: https://dareneiri.github.io/Asus-Chromebox-With-Windows-10/

      But basically:

      1. (Optional): Upgrade your RAM. I spent $100 to boost the memory from 2 GB to 16 GB:
      https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008LTBJFW/

      2. (less Optional): Expand your storage capacity. For $50 I upgraded the original 16GB SSD to 240 GB. I’ve had this drive installed for over a year now with zero issues – performs very well!
      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078GH1XXB/

      3. Update your bios with the MrChromebox ChromeOS Firmware Utility Script:
      https://mrchromebox.tech/#fwscript

      4. Install Windows. Use Rufus to make your installation media, not Etcher.

      5. (Recommended): Install this chipset driver to resolve any HDMI graphics/sound issues:
      http://www.gigabyte.com/Mini-PcBarebone/GB-BXCEH-2955-rev-10#support-dl

      6. (Recommended): Install the program SpeedFan to optimize the cooling fan settings. Without SpeedFan I was noticing the cooling fan would just kind of run constantly/wasn’t optimized at all. Now everything is fine.
      http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php

  4. So anyone found a way to boot into SeaBIOS and a desktop Linux distro without having to press a key combination each time?

    1. I’d probably just leave it turned on. It’s fairly low power when awake, it can’t possibly draw more than a few cents/month worth of electricity when asleep.

      1. I’m more concerned with reboots after kernel or other updates that require them. Especially when done through SSH. I had planned to make this into a server in addition to an HTPC.

        Oh well, I’ll look more into the NUC and Brix. I was mostly interested in this because it was supposedly fanless but ASUS lied about that.

  5. Hey Brad, Do you think this machine could manage as a SteamOS streaming box or is the Nuc a better choice?

  6. The Chromebox requires PC3L-12800S RAM. If you install regular PC3-12800 RAM in it, it will not boot up. So, yay, this thing is easily-serviceable, but it’s a nightmare trying to find the exact RAM that it needs.

    1. PC3L L=1.35v

      12800S S=SODIMM

      Some manufacturers use PC3L-12800S as a label others use PC3-12800.

      1. Update: Got the 4GB version anyway.

        Hi,

        So does this mean PC3L-12800S and PC3-12800 are the same thing? I’m looking to buy a Chromebox, and the 4gb ram version is priced 50$ higher than the 2gb one which I think is too much.

  7. What Is the Maximum Amount of Ram and also the Maximum amount of SSD and what manufacture should it be?

    1. I think 64 gb of ram is the max, i think its limited by the cpu. One of the advantages of the new x99 cpus is a higher ram capacity. AFAIK, there isnt a cap on ssd capacity, but i may be wrong. Also the brand shouldnt matter, as long as you get an established/reliable brand (Samsung, ADATA, Corsair, Crucial, GSKILL, Kingston, OCZ, PNY, SanDisk, Toshiba, Western Digital).

  8. Curious – How do you know to use the 1.35V RAM? My slots have 1.5V marked on them.

  9. Is it possible to upgrade the graphics card to improve resolution on high-end screens?

  10. M.2 Sata SSD Formfactor ?
    I am looking for a correct M.2 Sata for my Asus Chromebox, when I search I see Formfactor 2280 and more .
    Can someone please help here ? Thank you.

  11. Regarding the M.2 SATA III SSD, I’ve noticed currently it’s being sold in 42mm and 60mm sizes. Which does this device use?

    1. I’m not positive but based on similar systems I’ve seen, I’d say no. The cpu is usually soldered onto the board like most laptop systems currently.

  12. DANG – Didn’t catch that you need DDR3L (low voltage) memory. I found some very nice Corsair Vengeance chips, but they’re for the i5/i7 chips, which require more voltage.

  13. How do you install Chrome OS after replacing the SSD with a bigger one? SSDs are getting cheaper. A 64 GB SSD would fit perfect for Ubuntu. There are some tasks, which can’t be done with Chrome OS (e. g. Java based applications). So it would be nice to chroot or boot into Ubuntu for such things.

    On the net I’ve only found the open source Chromium OS builds. Now I am wondering how to restore or install Chrome OS after replacing the SSD.

  14. If I remove the. SSD do I have to reinstall my software I’m on gnome dual boot crouton ubuntu and chrome also will 12gb ram and a new 128 ssd work for gaming. Thank you for your time btw

  15. hey brad, as one of your commenters points out, these SSD’s come in 2 sizes. the 60 cm size does not fit in the machine.

    i ended up ordering the wrong size, because thats what currently shows up where you’ve linked. perhaps consider removing that link so that others don’t make the same mistake i did.

    1. Whoops, forgot about this article since it’s a few years old, but you’re right. I’ve updated it to note that you need an M.2 2242 drive.

  16. I’m not sure if this is applicable to all ChromeBox model, mine is ChromeBox CN62, would it accept the 16GB RAM upgrade?

  17. Hi Brand, how many pins is the memory chip. Are you able to add memory to the new ASUS cohromebox?

  18. I long ago purge my home / office of all but one Windows system which runs only one application and absolutely nothing else….Schwab Street Smart Edge (a trading platform). Win7 is being orphaned as of the end of the year. I run Linux Suse on everything else, and hope to upgrade to this computer running SSE under Citrix. Now that Chrome will run (can be persuaded to) Linux applications, and Android apps, I hope to find out if I can make Chrome my main OS eventually. Windows is utterly loathsome and always has been, and I refuse to be held up by Apple for their expensive equipment. This article answers some questions I had. It appears that I can upgrade memory considerably, and drive up to 500gb, and create a fairly capable machine……. As far as working in the cloud, I’m not really all that interested, as I won’t always have a decent internet connection.
    Thanks!

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