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Tested: Asus Chromebox Based On Haswell Core i3

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the who-needs-a-bigger-one dept.

Chrome 103

MojoKid writes "The Asus Chromebox is a tiny palm-sized machine similar in form and footprint to Intel's line of NUC (Next Unit of Computing) mini PCs. One of the higher-end Asus Chromebox variants coming to market employs Intel's 4th generation Haswell Core series processor architecture with Integrated HD 4400 graphics. The machine is packed with fair number of connectivity options including four USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports, HDMI and DisplayPort output, a microSD Flash card slot, 802.11n dual-band WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0. It also sports a 1.7GHz dual-core Core i3-4010U processor with Hyper-Threading for four logical processing threads and 4GB of DDR3 1600MHz memory. Finally, the onboard 16GB SSD storage might be appear a bit meager, but it's backed up by 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage for 2 years. In testing, the device proved to be capable in some quick and dirty browser-based benchmarks. For the class of device and use case that the Chromebox caters to, Google has covered most of what folks look for with the Chrome OS. There's basic office productivity apps, video and media streaming apps, and even a few games that you might care to fire up. The Asus Chromebox handles all of these usage types with ease and it's also barely audible while consuming only about 18 Watts under load."

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OpenELEC? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46473843)

Any word if these can be reformatted to run OpenELEC?

Re:OpenELEC? (1)

Oysterville (2944937) | about 8 months ago | (#46478589)

Wouldn't a RaspberryPI be cheaper and do the same thing?

Awesome! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46473847)

Can I install Windows 8.1 on this so I can get rid of the Google ad/spy ware?

Re:Awesome! (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 8 months ago | (#46473893)

Maybe, but in that case you could simply get a NUC instead.

Re:Awesome! (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 8 months ago | (#46474141)

The problem there is that while the entry-level Asus chromebox is $179, including the RAM, SSD, CPU, wifi, etc... the cheapest NUCs are $190-200 before you add the RAM, the SSD, and the wifi card.

Yeah, its really annoying how expensive they are (1)

Marrow (195242) | about 8 months ago | (#46475135)

It cheeses me off.

Re:Awesome! (1, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 8 months ago | (#46476005)

Yet again you should just go AMD as you can buy the Jaguar based mini-PCs for cheaper, and since those are based on the same cores as the PS4 and XBone if you care any about gaming the coming games should be optimized for it.

And while we are on the subject of Jaguar and AMD since XP is about to EOL? Please please PLEASE get rid of those damned P4s already, okay? If there was a list of "world's dumbest computing ideas" I'd have to put that one at the top, it was slow, sucked insane amounts of power, and because of the crazy long pipelines one cache miss and it would slam on the brakes. The only thing worse was the Netburst Celeron as the teeny tiny cache made misses all but guaranteed.

What does that have to do with AMD and Jaguar? Simple the Bobcat, which the jag was based on can be had for just $65 so for less than $100 you can turn any power pig P4 into a MUCH nicer dual core PC capable of 1080P over HDMI. Simply pick up a PCI to IDE adapter so you can keep the original drives and tada! Dirt cheap upgrade.

One final note...why is everybody making such a big whoop over ChromeOS? We had this in the 90s folks, its called a "thin client" only frankly the 90s ones were better as they weren't controlled by a single company with STASI levels of information about their clients and whom may or may not be connected with the NSA. Hell even if they tell the NSA to fuck off they still consider you to be the PRODUCT and the advertisers the customers so its not like they have your best interests at heart. And do they still TiVo the shit out of them with UEFI? Funny how many here say "Oh M$ is teh evil!" yet I can take any Windows 8.1 laptop and be booting the instaler of anything from BSD to ReactOS in a couple minutes but last I looked the ChromeOS devices were so locked down the ONLY things you could run ere CERTAIN Linux distros and ONLY those that had the hacked loaders...shit, how is turning X86 into a game console NOT evil? Because that is what they did,they took the most standards compliant universal hardware on the planet and turned it into the original Xbox, where you gotta hack the thing just to run a limited amount of software.

Re:Awesome! (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 8 months ago | (#46476459)

The problem with Jaguar is that it suffers from extremely poor performance per watt when compared to Haswell. That may not be an issue for all use cases though.

I am having difficulty finding any AMD-based mini PCs in the NUC-style form factor with RAM/wifi/storage included for $179, though. Could you point some out?

Re:Awesome! (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 8 months ago | (#46480151)

Sure when you show me a box that is an actual PC and not a thin client for that price, otherwise the comparison is moot as the Chrome isn't a PC, its a thin client. Here is a mini with SATA and wireless for $159 [newegg.com] , just add a RAM stick and unlike ChromeOS you aren't giving a corporation every single thing you do online...yay!

Re:Awesome! (4, Interesting)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about 8 months ago | (#46474171)

Maybe, but in that case you could simply get a NUC instead.

On one hand, an equivalent NUC [newegg.com] is cheaper at $290.

On the other hand, the ASUS comes with a (small) SSD, RAM, and "a custom wireless ASUS Chrome keyboard and mouse that are collectively valued at $49." The NUC comes with none of those. Together those probably cost more than the $80 difference in price.

On the other hand, you could get a last-generation NUC with an i3 for $180. [newegg.com]

On the other hand, there's a lower-end ASUS Chromebox, [newegg.com] with a Celeron, RAM, and an SSD, also for $180. (No keyboard/mouse with this one.)

On the other hand, I'm running out of hands!

Re:Awesome! (2)

idontgno (624372) | about 8 months ago | (#46474235)

All of that means that you're buying your discounted hardware with your personal information and your willing agreement to be another statistic in their advertising numbers.

I suspect that's a fair trade for a lot of people, considering how little they actually value their privacy.

Re:Awesome! (0)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 8 months ago | (#46475025)

Ya know, I got my hair cut once, about six months ago, and didn't need another one until recently (perks of work from home...) When I was there, the stylist handed me her card, which I promptly lost. I'd like to have used her again, was a good cut, aged well, but I totally forgot all but the first letter of her name and the purple streak in her hair.

This time, the receptionist hit me up for name and phone number, even though I paid cash. My childhood shopping/training at Radio Shack means that I know what's going down here before she even speaks, but this time, I don't mind, and it's not because of the yoga pants she's wearing... see, this way they put me in their system, and when I call 2, 3, or 6 months from now, I can make a reservation with the same stylist, or different depending on how this cut ages, and I don't have to keep track of anything. If they get obnoxious and pro-actively call me, I can get obnoxious right back and ask them to please not do that again, if they do that again I can ask them to remove my information from their system.

Believe it or not, after a few years of simply asking people to not call and remove your information from their systems, you can quiet down your phone to a tolerable level, I'm getting about one wrong number every 3 months now and no unwanted marketing. And, for the habitually stupid, there's the silent ring option in the contacts info.

Re: Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46476219)

Thanks for that grandpa Simpson! Got any interesting war stories while you're at it? ;)

Re:Awesome! (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 8 months ago | (#46474437)

I like the idea of these cheap little boxes! But it should be noted that the $180 one you linked does not include an HDD/SSD, nor an ethernet port(!?) (No USB3 either, though it does have high-speed expandability via a Thunderbolt port).

I know it's not really the same, but I've had good luck with used laptops. Even if I use them primarily headless or with an external keyboard/mouse, you get low power consumption, built-in battery backup, and a built-in screen which is handy sometimes. The only trick is finding cheaper used laptops that have some sort of digital video out, not just a VGA port.

Re:Awesome! (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 8 months ago | (#46476289)

Look for the ones with AMD chips, especially the E350s and E450s, as those come with HDMI out and most will hold 8Gb of RAM and do 1080P. A good place to start would be the Asus EEE "B" series, with B standing for Brazos. I have one and its fricking great, 4 years on and it still types well, gets nearly 4 hours on the battery and with 8Gb of RAM everything plays nice and smooth.

But if you want a really cheap media tank instead of using an old lappy look at th E350 barebone kits as I've seen them on sale at Amazon for around $100 with case, I've built quite a few of those as both media tanks and office boxes and they are really sweet, use less than 20w under load and will play just about any format. A word of advice though, if you get one make sure your player is set to use DXVA and get the codecs from either AMD or the excellent CCCP codec pack as the E series APUs are really designed for hardware video acceleration and not having that turned on ties a boat anchor to them system. Using a player without DXVA a 720p video was hitting 80% CPU while the same video with DXVA was using less than 15% so it makes a HUGE difference when it comes to performance.

As for TFA how anybody would trust some large megacorp after the Snowden revelations is frankly beyond me...I mean do you have ANY idea how easy it is to know pretty much everything about you simply by having your browsing history? Everything from what kind of porn you like to what medical issues you have and what beliefs you hold can be gleamed from that sooo easy its just not funny. This is why I have one company for mail, another for search, and made a throwaway account just for my android phone, giving ANY company THAT much info is just creepy.

Re:Awesome! (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 8 months ago | (#46477299)

Good info. For a video player I am an absolute believer in hardware acceleration; even if the CPU load is 100%, software playback always causes stuttering. That is a definite hurdle in the "old laptop" route for that application, since the GPUs tend to be sub-par.

Re:Awesome! (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 8 months ago | (#46477383)

I meant, ...even if the cpu load is NOT 100%...

Re:Awesome! (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 8 months ago | (#46480257)

Thanks. If you want dirt cheap media tanks check out Amazon as you can find ones like this [amazon.com] all the time and unlike a used laptop not only does it look nice but you can easily add anything you want, BR drive,SSD, plenty of RAM and HDD, and its easy to add.

I've used the E350 a LOT at the shop and was impressed enough I sold my full size lappy for an E350, its THAT nice. HD videos, office work, hell I've played Torchlight and Portal on 'em and they are great little chips, all while just using 20w full load and 9w for most tasks. A word of advice though and this goes for ANY APU system...ALWAYS get the faster RAM, in fact if it comes down to 4Gb of faster or 8Gb of slower take the 4Gb because that AMD APUs really need decent RAM to shine. Nothing crazy, no need to OC the RAM, 1333 or better will do nicely. One of the barebone systems I picked up came with 4Gb of 1066, I did benches before and after I switched it for 1333 and depending on the tasks I got as much as 35% more performance simply by having the faster RAM, its THAT noticeable.

Re:Awesome! (1)

mrp (1001) | about 8 months ago | (#46475379)

Intel DN2820FYK [intel.com] is selling for $140 [google.com] and comes with an infrared sensor.

I have OpenELEC 4.0 beta (version 3.95.1) running off a 4GB USB stick I had lying around - no need to buy an SSD. Infrared sensor worked out of the box with my Harmony Smart Control remote.

Re:Awesome! (1, Informative)

Luthair (847766) | about 8 months ago | (#46473909)

Sure, but then you have the Microsoft Bing ad/spyware.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46473979)

What do you mean? Signing in with the Microsoft account does certainly weaken your privacy, but I haven't seen any Bing stuff in my Windows 8.1 installation.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46478609)

What do you mean?

From MS' perspective, you are the product and you have been for a long time now.

Microsoft is using your data to target political ads on Xbox Live

Microsoft is trying to persuade politicians to take out targeted ads on Xbox Live, Skype, MSN and other company platforms as midterm elections begin heating up around the country. To plug the idea, Microsoft officials handed out promotional materials Thursday at CPAC, the annual conference for conservatives.

It's the latest move by tech companies to seize a piece of the lucrative political ad market. The ads, which would appear on the Xbox Live dashboard and other Microsoft products, combine Microsoft user IDs and other public data to build a profile of Xbox users. Campaigns can then blast ads to selected demographic categories, or to specific congressional districts. And if the campaign brings its own list of voter e-mail addresses, Microsoft can match the additional data with individual customer accounts for even more accurate voter targeting.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ [washingtonpost.com] ... [washingtonpost.com]

MS marketing just likes to pretend they're not so they can keep their nasty competitor-bashing Scroogling campaigns going. This is a very dirty, unethical company, people. Don't trust anything they say or do.

Of course, Slashdot won't post this is news, because Microsoft pays them not to.

Re:Awesome! (3, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about 8 months ago | (#46474071)

But atleast you can install Firefox or any other native application instead of only Google being able to install native apps.

I have no idea why Slashdot seems to cheer on this DRM'ed up the wazoo "computer" that's more locked down than a Windows PC.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46474121)

It's more locked down than a Mac.

Re:Awesome! (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 8 months ago | (#46474709)

Right I just don't get this, does not matter if we are talking tablets, media pcs, or phones. All of these machines are big powerful enough now that the possibilities are essentially unlimited. Yet rather than embracing the best of the 90's PC era opening up and trying stuff out; its a rush back the narrow vision that was the Macintosh in 83.

Re:Awesome! (1)

Kz (4332) | about 8 months ago | (#46476263)

its a rush back the narrow vision that was the Macintosh in 83.

In '83 the Mac was anything but closed or 'narrow vision'. I was a huge leap in usability and programability. It was open to anybody who got the three-volume (soon expanded to 5 books) "Inside Macintosh", a great resource not only on the API but also a good primer on UI design.

Now, the last couple of Mac OSes, which are progresively tied to the app-store... and windows isn't far from that... currently, the easiest OS to install and configure applications is Linux, by a wide margin.

Re:Awesome! (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#46475585)

So one can't install Firefox on ChromeOS?

Re:Awesome! (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 8 months ago | (#46476093)

Nope.

Re:Awesome! (2)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 8 months ago | (#46474007)

Obviously trolling, but kind of an interesting question as the hardware isn't bad. I don't know why anyone would buy it with the intention of windows-izing it, but maybe the build quality is better than what the send windows in? Any case there are a million reasons for doing anything.

http://windows.microsoft.com/e... [microsoft.com]

Only 32 bit windows would fit, due to the 16 GB of storage.

Also not sure if the open source Coreboot will work with windows 8.1. You'd need to install seabios first, that's supposed to work for earlier versions of windows. Not sure about 8.

http://www.coreboot.org/SeaBIO... [coreboot.org]

Re:Awesome! (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about 8 months ago | (#46474055)

If you boot any other OS, you'll have to type a key combination every single time you start the system. This can get annoying quickly.

Re:Awesome! (1)

rthille (8526) | about 8 months ago | (#46475521)

Not if you flash the bios, or just put it in developer mode (at least that was true of the older chromeboxes)

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46475037)

Your points about the installs are well taken but you're out of line for claiming it's a troll. I'm sorry, Slashdot, but it's 2014. Not everyone who comes here is a Linux fanboi who is endeared to every move Google makes because they put out Android. Windows 8.1 isn't a great OS, IMHO, but I'll take it over Google's offering any day of the week.

Re:Awesome! (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 8 months ago | (#46475289)

Oh come on. The comment of "google spyware", combined with the fact that it does not make any sense to buy a chrome device if your intention is to put windows on it ( there are several availible at simular price points from a variety of sources), leads me to believe that they were trolling.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46475429)

You think calling it Google Spyware is a stretch? So tell me how do you think Google, one of the largest companies in the world, has made their billions and billions of dollars without offering pretty much any services that are for sale to the general public that they "serve"?
 
Talk about being a troll.

Re:Awesome! (1)

zoid.com (311775) | about 8 months ago | (#46474863)

So you would rather have the Microsoft ad/spy ware? The answer is don't buy this device unless you want a ChromOS box. ChromeOS is really great for what it is. This would be a perfect system form my dad.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46478981)

it really isn't. Eventually he will want to do something simple that his friends have done, and he will tell them he has a computer so he can do it too, but it wont work, and you will end up with the headache. If he is technologicaly ignorant just get him an ipad, it's just as locked down as chromeos, and no one will think it can do stuff a normal computer can do.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46475329)

No, you cannot. From Anandtech [anandtech.com]

The internal EFI doesn't support booting to Windows, so anyone looking to turn this into a cheap Windows box is likely out of luck. The Windows lockout is likely Google's doing as the company is specifically looking to replace low end Windows PCs.

So it's Linux only. No Windows.

Re: Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46476297)

Now there's something I never thought I'd read.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46478991)

no it's chromeOS only. getting normal linux on it is just as much of a bitch, as trying to get windows in it. Kind of like Andriod.

Re:Awesome! (1)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 8 months ago | (#46475735)

Typing this on a Chromebook ARM (dual Cortex A15).
2GB RAM, 16GB Flash.
With it were 4GB of RAM and 32GB of Flash, and there's no Java plugin for Cortex ARM CPUs, so I need another computer to do banking.
Very convenient machine otherwise, no need to worry about moving it while powered on (zero moving parts). Don't even need to power it off, close the lid. A full battery can hold the system in a suspended mode for almost a week. Thanks to having linux under the hood instead of EvilWindows !

Re:Awesome! (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 8 months ago | (#46479269)

You just described my $500 brushed aluminum chassis touchscreen i3-3217U laptop, except it has 4GB of RAM, 120GB of flash, boots cold in 8 seconds, has zero moving parts, and can run Java, Firefox, Windows, AND Linux. Just watched 45 minutes of video on a TV and battery went down 20%.

Worthless (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46473849)

>Finally, the onboard 16GB SSD storage might be appear a bit meager, but it's backed up by 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage for 2 years.
This makes it completely worthless. Between shitty broadband speeds and metered bandwidth, this is a joke. A bad one.

Re:Worthless (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 8 months ago | (#46473989)

Yeah, this computer is completely unsuited for my needs as a bitcoin mining supercomputer, so no one should buy one.

Unless, of course, you have different needs than mine.

Re:Worthless (1)

Arker (91948) | about 8 months ago | (#46476619)

The 100gb Google Drive is obviously useless.

16GB storage is still more than enough to install and operate a very useful little system though. Somehow I suspect there would be problems trying to get free drivers for some of the hardware, otherwise I might consider grabbing one and slapping slack on it.

sooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46473897)

An Intel NUC with a different label and similar price point.

Re:sooo... (0)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 8 months ago | (#46473955)

and a different data overlord.

Re:sooo... (1)

Lazere (2809091) | about 8 months ago | (#46474125)

Not really. The NUCs with a similar price point aren't including RAM or storage, this includes both.

Only one question matters: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46474023)

Can it be hacked to run a real OS like Windows or, preferably, OS X?

dang it google (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46474127)

Stop trying to make chromebook a thing. It's not going to happen.

But does it run Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46474157)

That's a twist, ay? A sign of things to come! Watch the skies. For the Goog. They will come!

16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (3, Interesting)

wiredog (43288) | about 8 months ago | (#46474193)

A lightweight one with X and xfce. Put /user on a USB drive and you're set.

I wonder how hard it is to hack the bootloader?

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46474303)

what the heck is /user ??

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#46474577)

You understand X and xfce but not /user? I think you are trolling, but I'll answer anyway in the hopes of adding to the discussion.

wiredog means to put user directories on a USB drive due to the limited internal space.

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (1)

Curupira (1899458) | about 8 months ago | (#46474947)

You understand X and xfce but not /user? I think you are trolling, but I'll answer anyway in the hopes of adding to the discussion.

wiredog means to put user directories on a USB drive due to the limited internal space.

I think you meant /home.

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#46475235)

It's usually "/home" these days, but it can be almost anything - and historically "/user" has also been used. In any event, I think it is pretty clear what he meant, even if he's used to a different unix distro than you are.

/user (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#46475897)

What's the difference b/w /user and /usr? I've seen both

Re:/user (1)

akirapill (1137883) | about 8 months ago | (#46476103)

/usr is a directory for storing user-level programs and files (bin, lib etc), as opposed to root or kernel level programs and files. The reason it's its own top-level directory is for historical (or contemporary in embedded environments??) purposes. You could boot up linux using only the small number of core programs in the /bin, /sbin etc directories, then mount /usr to get your user-level stuff. You could also store /usr on its own drive or partition that way for space/performance. Nowadays it's kind of redundant to have BOTH e.g. /usr/bin and /bin. (someone correct me if I'm wrong) /user is the old name for the directory of users' home directories. If your username is myUserName, then ~ would point to /user/myUserName. Nowadays it's called /home (again I could be wrong about /user not being used anymore. Been a linux user for 10 years, but haven't strayed far from debian)

Re:/user (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46476431)

This conversation is yet another sad indicator of how far Slashdot has fallen.

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46474997)

Name a linux distro that has /user instead of /home.
Alternative: it's a typo of /usr. Not exactly common to have that on a separate fs, but not that rare either.

So, no one bloody knows what he meant, leading to
"what the heck is /user ??"

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#46475217)

Name a linux distro

A bit limiting, isn't it? I guess you weren't trolling, so you are welcome.

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46475347)

Well, OP limited it to linux right in the subject line.
So, err... got any examples of "things that have a linux kernel, run X11 and XFCE as a DE and are not some sort of linux distro"?
Because I come up empty.

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#46475637)

No you got me there - he definitely did put Linux right there in the subject.

I still know what he meant, though maybe only because I missed the subject.

/user (1)

wiredog (43288) | about 8 months ago | (#46474935)

So used to typing "user" in various contexts. I meant "/usr".

Re:/user (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 8 months ago | (#46475147)

But /usr is a big directory.
Well, that makes some sense, as it's mostly read-only stuff there, putting usr on a slow USB drive makes good sense.
But now you need that stupid drive hanging off the USB port. It would be nice mounting /usr over the network, if that's still possible. Hell make it a diskless box, with maybe a /home on the SSD just so that the browser cache etc. is fast.

Re:/user (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46475385)

Well, it also has a SD slot.
But yeah, in theory nfs /usr or / should be possible, you'd likely still need bootloader/kernel/initrd on the ssd as it probably can't PXE boot.

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 8 months ago | (#46474329)

With some (all?) Chromebooks -- and I would expect a Chromebox to be the same -- you can just enable "developer mode" and chroot. See this article [lifehacker.com] for more details.

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46474339)

Or just run Crouton.

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46474495)

Yeah, I don't think Chrome OS makes any sense for a reader of /. As for the typo, he obviously meant /home.

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 8 months ago | (#46475191)

Yeah, I don't think Chrome OS makes any sense for a reader of /.

I'm currently *reading* Slashdot on my Chromebook, you insensitive clod.

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 8 months ago | (#46474567)

I wonder how hard it is to hack the bootloader?

Easy enough - Developer Mode is all you need.

However, it's annoying as the bootloader pauses for 30 seconds to warn you that it's in developer mode and you have to hit a key to proceed or it goes into recovery mode.

In short, it's not something you really want to mess with - it works in a pinch ,but damn it's annoying.

And unless it has SeaBIOS, it won't run Windows.

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (1)

lexman098 (1983842) | about 8 months ago | (#46474663)

It's a plug-in computer anyway, so you can probably just sleep instead of shutting down and then avoid the BIOS start up.

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46475089)

Yeah but it sucks as a lightweight home server. I've been looking for a lightweight home server that runs ESXi or just straight Linux if I really need to and the Intel NUC seems to be as good as it gets. I was hoping this might fit the bill but I guess I'll just have to suck it up.

DE of ChromeOS (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#46475927)

Is XFCE the default UI for Chrome OS? Or is it something else?

Re:16GB SSD storage is enough for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46480485)

The Xubuntu VM I use *daily* for *work* has far less than 16 GB *rotating rust* storage and works wonderfully.

Definitely not for power users (2)

ErichTheRed (39327) | about 8 months ago | (#46474261)

Even though I do find myself using things like OneDrive and Dropbox to keep non-sensitive stuff I'm working on available at home or at work, I'm not totally convinced that most power users will be replacing their PC or laptop with what's essentially a thin client that Google has control over.

On the other hand, for people who truly don't know any better, live in a location with five-nine, super-fast broadband access and just don't have the savvy to understand that their data is being mined by a third party, this might take off. It's the same reason tablets are taking off among the "content consumer" set. Amazon is doing something very similar with the Kindle Fire -- basically give away the hardware with the knowledge that Amazon uses your browsing habits to improve their prediction engine.

Honestly, I wish Google and similar services would offer a "paid" version with no data mining or tracking. People forget that the awesome search engine, maps, etc. aren't a free resource, and their data is paying Google's bills.

Re:Definitely not for power users (1)

egranlund (1827406) | about 8 months ago | (#46474801)

Honestly, I wish Google and similar services would offer a "paid" version with no data mining or tracking. People forget that the awesome search engine, maps, etc. aren't a free resource, and their data is paying Google's bills.

You can do this partly with Google Apps, doesn't stop the tracking in Google Search though...

Re:Definitely not for power users (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 8 months ago | (#46475213)

I'm not totally convinced that most power users will be replacing their PC or laptop with what's essentially a thin client that Google has control over.

A Chromebook is a 'second' (or third) computer.

It's the computer that sits on the kitchen counter at home so people can look things up or play some music. It's the computer for email on the couch.

For those use cases, it's perfect.

Re:Definitely not for power users (1)

ravenscar (1662985) | about 8 months ago | (#46475837)

I completely agree. I picked up a Chromebook just to try it out. It has these things going for it: Cheap, acceptable display, great battery life, boots from a powered off state in around 10 seconds, and is pretty solid at internet browsing. I don't store anything on it and it was $200 so I'm not overly concerned if it's lost, broken, or stolen. I find myself using it frequently around the house for light internet tasks where a keyboard is desired (which is fairly often).

A big plus that I didn't expect - remote desktop works really well. In the event that I'm sitting on the couch and I find myself needing to do something that requires different software or more processing power, I just remote into my home server and do the work there.

I can't say that I have any complaints at the price point. Of course, I don't expect to do things for which it wasn't designed.

Re:Definitely not for power users (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 8 months ago | (#46476145)

On Brazil, the whole setup fails on the "need fast 24/7 internet acess" part. Stable and fast internet here is a luxury.

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46474299)

Can it run Linux?

The Acer c720 chromebook runs Linux like a charm for only 200 dollars... could this become the desktop equivalent?

Re:But... (1)

m.dillon (147925) | about 8 months ago | (#46474569)

The Acer c720 works great as a small laptop and will run Linux. It isn't quite a replacement for a workstation, it's not as fast as a desktop cpu but it is certainly much faster than the much-aligned netbooks from a few years ago. The keyboard and touchpad are pretty good considering the form factor.

Booting and setup is a bit hokey due to the minimal BIOS but it works. The c720 has a M.2 form factor SSD internally and it's *easy* to take apart the back (just a lot of screws) and replace it with a bigger one. I bought a 128GB M.2 SSD for mine.

For the Acer c720 my recommendation is to not overwrite the 16GB SSD in the machine. Instead buy a (bigger) replacement and leave chrome on the original. Also find the acer/google restore disk image (you should be able to google, it's officially supplied) which you can throw onto a USB stick. You need your chromebook's serial number. Always good to have a restore image handy in case you flub the instructions.

Read the instructions on how to install linux very carefully and do not skip any steps. Worst case you brick the laptop and have to put the original M.2 16GB SSD back into it to get back on track (which is why I suggest not overwriting the original SSD).

-Matt

Re:But... (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 8 months ago | (#46475355)

Why not dd the whole disk, that way you have a bit exact copy of the whole raw block device. Then you can use that 16GB SSD for whatever you want, including use in the laptop. If the laptop really ended bricked though you would need a computer able to read a M2 drive, or a M2 to SATA adapter.

At $300 though ($200 + $100 for a big SSD) I would choose another laptop, there's the Toshiba with the new-gen Atom (celeron N2810) that comes with a 500GB hard drive and page up/page down keys. And oh, VGA and wired ethernet (I had to check that the latter was missing from the Acer)

Re:But... (1)

m.dillon (147925) | about 8 months ago | (#46475583)

You can DD the whole disk... but unless you have another machine that can take a M.2 form factor SSD you have no easy way to restore it from the image.

The Acer c720 laptop will boot the Acer/Google recovery image from a USB stick but all it can do is completely wipe the M.2 SSD, so you'd lose whatever you had on there. If you do not follow the BIOS directions properly you might also get into a situation where it refuses to boot from the USB stick while the M.2 drive is installed with the non-conformant OS.

-Matt

Re:But... (1)

m.dillon (147925) | about 8 months ago | (#46475371)

I read a bit more on the ASUS Chromebox. There are three cpu choices. The 2955U, The i3-4010U, or the I7-4600U. The I7-4600U is very similar to the I7-4700MQ that I have in one of my laptops, and that is a very respectable cpu and very suited for desktop use.

The only one I see on Amazon is the one with the 2955U (1.4 GHz single-core/2-thread celeron).

From what I can google the chromebox uses an internal M.2 form factor SSD (16GB), which means you can potentially upgrade it to e.g. a 128GB SSD by buying it on newegg (another $100). This will be considerably faster than a SD card.

So this chromebox (with the i3 or i7) would definitely be powerful enough as a desktop.

It just comes down to whether the BIOS will allow third-party OS installs or not and I don't know the answer to that.

-Matt

Internal storage is probably M.2 form factor SSD (1)

m.dillon (147925) | about 8 months ago | (#46474413)

I'm not sure of that. It is on my Acer C720 chromebook (laptop). If it's M.2 you may be able to just buy a bigger SSD on e.g. newegg, load linux or a BSD onto it, and throw it in. Google for instructions, not all chromebook BIOS's allow non-chrome OS installs.

-Matt

Reads more like a sales pitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46474517)

With 64gb microSD's less than $33 retail (on sale) the limited onboard storage is yet another attempt to force 'cloud' storage subscriptions,.

Re:Reads more like a sales pitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46474861)

Which perfectly explains why it has no SD reader... Oh, wait.

Failzo8s (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46474551)

isn't a lemonade those uber-asshole triumphs would soon I thought it was my the numbers. The one common goal - It has to be fun It was 7un. If I'm confirmed that *BSD Satan's Dick And

4 Ports, yay. (1)

Rick in China (2934527) | about 8 months ago | (#46474643)

I still hate the fact that mini-devices sport so many ports which require traditional plugs. For example Apple has sported the magnetic power connection for ages - when plugging my Air into devices/power, it's by far my preferred of connector - and don't understand why while technology focuses on things like throughput they don't look at simple usability like connecting the throughput as a very common-sense improvement. In short, fuck USB 3.0, fuck the throughput, I just want to plug in my mouse without having to either visually line shit up or non-visually fish around for the right way to connect two things.

Re:4 Ports, yay. (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 8 months ago | (#46475317)

I still hate the fact that mini-devices sport so many ports which require traditional plugs. For example Apple has sported the magnetic power connection for ages - when plugging my Air into devices/power,

This complaint makes no sense. You're comparing a 'desktop' computer with an Air.

How often are users going to unplug their monitor, keyboard, mouse & power on this thing? Almost never.

Re:4 Ports, yay. (1)

ddtmm (549094) | about 8 months ago | (#46475327)

Really? You would rather forego USB3 and throughput in favour of a mouse connector you can plug in without fishing around? Just how often are you plugging in your mouse? In the case of Apple's reversible Lightning connector they embedded a chip in the connector housing to facilitate that, and to no less surprise, detect whether you're using a genuine Apple cable or not. All that makes their USB/Lightning cable over $20. Is that what you prefer?

Re:4 Ports, yay. (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 8 months ago | (#46475405)

You plug your mouse on your Macintosh's power connector? wow.
Mac has always had to be just weird in little ways. I remember I had a hard time figuring how out how to turn a G5 all-in-one one (and when I knew how to do it, spend at least ten tries booting a CD/DVD)

$369?!?! (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#46474747)

$369?!?!

No thanks. I can get a better laptop/Netbook/tablet for cheaper and they include a screen.
I can build a better desktop for cheaper as well.
If I want to experiment I'll get a RPi
What niche is this filling?
Possibly good for an automotive entertainment center or in an RV... but nah. Way over priced. Let me know when it's under $100.

Never again Asus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46474819)

After dealing with the nightmare that is Asus support / customer Service. I'll never purchase anything they make again

Intel pay-for-play article- Kerching!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46475495)

Well, that's put a mountain of Intel's cash into the pockets of the owners of Slashdot.

When it comes to MAINS-based Android and ChomeOS, there is less that ZERO reason to use anything but ARM. Intel's ONLY argument for x86 use in MOBILE Android/Chromebooks is better performance per unit of battery power (which actually is untrue, but if true would be a weak but valid argument).

And I trust we KNOW that Intel is illegally paying companies to use their low power CPU parts (giving them a NEGATIVE cost). Chromebooks only had Intel ULV parts in them, for instance, because Intel gave Google's partners its crown-jewel low-power CPU parts for a tiny fraction (25%) of their usual cost.

Today, with the decline in PC sales, Intel has oodles of spare capacity, and given the main cost of an Intel part is capital expenditure of the chip plants themselves, Intel can churn out far more CPU chips than the conventional market requires, at minimum cost to itself. The only problem Intel faces is not undercutting its own highly profitable traditional markets.

Using an x86 chip for Android or ChromeOS is every bit as MAD as using a non-x86 chip for Microsoft NT Windows, back in the day when Microsoft theoretically supported FOUR+ distinct CPU architectures on its NT platform. Yes, you can do it- and YES, the people behind the OS 'say' it is "just as good", but the reality is vastly different. Software compatibility is EVERYTHING, and with x86 of ChromeOS or Android, you can kiss proper compatibility goodbye.

Now the shills will point out that doing almost nothing on ChromeOS, using a handful of Google approved front-line apps, pretty much works as well on x86 as ARM, but the same BULLSHIT lies were used to justify Windows NT on the other non-x86 parts that Microsoft, IN THEORY, supported.

There are dozens of companies producing ARM SoC parts, but just ONE artificially pushing x86 into this ecosystem. And WHY does Intel do this? Because with the biggest mountain of cash imaginable, and the rapid decline of its traditional marketplace, it has nothing to lose, and no where else to go. Doesn't make Intel's move of any possible use to the industry/users, though.

And remember this. The PC saw its biggest expansion in years with the move to a PC architecture for both the Xbox One and PS4 consoles. And how much Intel manufactured technology is in these two, state-of-the-art PC boxes? ABSOLUTELY ZERO! Intel can't even find a place for itself in new emerging PC products.

Re:Intel pay-for-play article- Kerching!!! (1)

m.dillon (147925) | about 8 months ago | (#46475675)

I think you are confusing Intel's under-powered mobile cpu's with the cpu's they are stuffing into the Chromebox and Chromebooks. These cpu's are MUCH faster than anything ARM has on offer.

-Matt

Re:Intel pay-for-play article- Kerching!!! (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 8 months ago | (#46479539)

ChromeOS is A WEB BROWSER, so it makes fucking absolutely no difference what the instruction set of the CPU is.

Chromebooks/Boxes is Google's Linux Initiative (1)

yayoubetcha (893774) | about 8 months ago | (#46476123)

Google has been experiencing great market attention to it's Chromebooks. They had the best selling laptop on Amazon this past Christmas. Why?

1) People are buying them as "safe" easy to maintain platforms for performing "browser" based tasks without the (much) threat of OS attacks.
2) I bought one for my Mom who only uses a browser. She loves it. And there are fewer worries about "infections" of malware and the sort.
3) Google KNOWS many of us buy these cheap laptops (Acer's $199 c720 - very nice for the $$) and others for use with Linux. They encourage it. Some of the instructions on how to put Linux onto it come directly from Google.

Why does Google encourage us Linux-heads to buy their cheap box and put Linux on it? It helps them create credibility in the market by selling more Chromebooks. I'd wager to bet that their Chromebook sales would be at least half (remember 44.7% of stats are made up) if not for us Linux-geeks.

Computer manufacturers don't like Linux in general. They cannot simply download and install Ubuntu and slap a "for sale" sticker on it and go. Nope. There is software engineering from the BIOS (EFI), ACPI, and validation and verification. All very costly aspects. My speculation is that El Goog is tied-in closely to the computer OEM's SW-eng design loop taking up slack with V&V too.

One day, when Google has achieved OS Dark Overload status, they may remove the Linux capability. Until then it's win-win.

Asus C720 (1)

jmd (14060) | about 8 months ago | (#46476585)

The C720 works wonderful with Bodhi Linux :) I use it for traveling. Sometimes I run bfgminer on for the ASIC miners. Quite usefull when you dump ChromeOS

Pure crap (0)

Ralph Ostrander (2846785) | about 8 months ago | (#46479917)

Craptastic.HD anything sucks balls there I said it.
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