Chrome OS and Chromebooks are almost interchangeable when it comes to computers, but there are also all-in-ones and desktops that run Chrome. Of particular interest is Asus’ latest “Chromebox”: it can be configured with serious Intel power and is capable of running up to three monitors at a time. the Chromebox 4 released in December.
Although it’s quite small (just under six square inches, it’s smaller but slightly thicker than a Mac Mini), you can buy a Chromebox 4 with a 10th gen Core i7 processor. Cheaper options offer a Core i3 or i5. 4GB from 8GB of memory can be configured, with storage from 32GB to 256GB. Asus’ specification list says these use standard laptop SO-DIMM RAMs and M. 2 for 128 or 256 GB of storage, so it is likely possible for the end user to upgrade desktops, if they can open the case.
There are also a surprising amount of ports on this little box. On the front you get two USB-A ports, a headphone jack and a MicroSD card, while on the back you get three A ports at different speeds, two HDMI ports, USB-C / Thunderbolt, and Ethernet. Between HDMI and USB-C, the Chromebox 4 can handle three 4K monitors at once, a rare feat for Chrome OS devices of any size.
There’s a dedicated DC jack, but the computer can also be powered via USB-C from a compatible monitor (65 or 90 watts, depending on the power supply’s datasheet), and a VESA mount at the bottom means that you can clear up some desk space by mounting it directly to the back of your monitor.
Like all Chrome OS devices, the Chromebox 4 gets its software and updates straight from Google, and it can run at least some Android apps from the Play Store. It is equipped with management tools for companies or educational institutions. Pricing will start at a very reasonable $ 289 when it launches next month, but unfortunately we don’t know how much these CPU, RAM, and storage upgrades will cost.