Samsung Chromebox gets updated with Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge CPU

Samsung Chromebox gets updated with Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge CPU

Summary: The mini-desktop PC, which runs the Google Chrome OS, shows up online in a new configuration that doesn't include an under-powered processor for once.

TOPICS: Google, Samsung, PCs

Google has tried to convince potential buyers for laptops and desktops running its Chrome OS that they need a powerful processor for its web-centric approach to computing. Nonetheless, after being saddled with weak specs, Chrome devices are starting to pump up the hardware a bit.

For instance, Acer recently bumped up the RAM and hard drive size of its C7 Chromebook laptop, and now it appears that Samsung is boosting the specs of its Chromebox desktop. A couple of online retail listings have emerged that show a Chromebox XE300M22-A02US configuration that jumps up to an Intel Core i5 processor instead of the Celeron chip the Series 3 version had been using.

Alas, the Core i5-2450M is a second-generation Core processor (a.k.a. Sandy Bridge) and not a third-generation model (a.k.a. Ivy Bridge), which means you are stuck with HD 3000 integrated graphics instead of Ivy Bridge's more-robust HD 4000 graphics. Nonentheless, a Core i5 is a far more powerful CPU than the Celeron B840.

The new Chromebox is otherwise the same spec-wise as its predecessor: 4GB of RAM and 16GB of solid state storage. It's also about $80 more expensive than what the previous Series 3 Chromebox had been selling for, though it seems to be currently out of stock from retailers like Amazon and Newegg. That makes it still about $200 less than the cheapest Apple Mac Mini, though that nettop comes with an Ivy Bridge processor and 500GB hard drive.

[Via Liliputing]

Topics: Google, Samsung, PCs

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  • Yeah

    Now Get Ubuntu 12.04 or Windows 8 on that box and it will compete with the Mini.
    • why windows 8???

      windows 7 maybe, why would you want windows 8 on that form factor???????
      • Maybe you just invested in a large, touch screen display...

        Seriously though, why i5? Isn't that just adding cost for the sake of it? The idea behind chrome os I thought was it's for basic day to day needs... Web, mail, documents, YouTube, music, Skype etc.... Current pentiums are designed for that, an i3 will fly on those tasks... Methinks someone just wants an i5 sticker on the front of the box...
      • Why not?

        You ask why, I ask why not?
      • Windows 8 is more functional

        Windows 8 has all the functionality of Windows 7, plus all the functionality of Windows RT, all on one OS. Based on that fact, why wouldn't you choose it? Even if you don't use the RT functionality, at least it's there if you change your mind.
        Michael Kelly
    • But of course

      The thing will "compete" just fine with the 2011 entry-level Mac mini on CPU spec. Except it lacks plenty of expansion ports (Thunderbolt/DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800, 4xUSB, SDXC, audio in, audio out, HDMI).

      It's 2013 already, by the way.
      • Did you check that before writing?
        The old chrombox (and presumably the new one as well) has two DisplayPort++ (HDMI/DVI/VGA), Gigabit Ethernet, 6 USB ports, Dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0. You were accurate in stating that it is missing Thunderbolt and FireWire, but that is hardly relevant to the vast majority of users in the target demographic...
        • Three different video parts are irrelevant to the masses.

          The greater majority of people that are going to [s]get suckered into[/s] buy a chromebox only need a basic system. An Atom or E-series netbook processor and 1 or 2 GB of RAM would be more than enough for those users; even an ARM-based dual or quad core processor would probably provide enough computing power while using less energy than the aforementioned Intel and AMD solutions.

          Had Google wanted to really (have someone else) make a system that was low cost and good enough for those that needed just the basics, they should have gone that route. Instead, it seems to me that someone has become envious of someone else in the pants.

          On a side note - Samsung, if you have people watching, you should really make this into a box you can attach to a TV set that runs Windows 8 and can be controlled via a Wii-like pointer device.
        • The demographics

          When you move to a powerful CPU the usage scenarios become wildly different.

          Certainly, there are people who use the Mac mini as an glorious Apple TV, but there are also people who replace their Mac Pro's with a mini. For those people, connectivity is all that matters.

          You should not easily dismiss FireWire and Thunderbolt. Those two are the particular kind of buses that support daisy-chaining. For both, there are plenty of very high quality and very interesting peripherals. Thunderbolt is an CPU PCI-Express extension that can exist outside the box. You can do all sorts of things with these busses.

          But, like Champ_Kind mentioned -- the proper users of the Chromebox is served with much simpler box, which could be cheaper too. All those connectors add cost and complexity, which is simply not needed. But probably Google/Samsung just wanted to out-spec something..

          In the end, every product is a result of some compromise.
          • They need more variety, then...

            I suspect you both would agree that that there is a place for the Chromebox I proposed yesterday (scroll down, under "Really though, why more power?")? I probably should have consolidated those two posts instead of splitting them...
            Basically, I think there is probably a place for an ARM-based, $100-150 Chromebox with minimal processing power and input / output options. There will also likely be a place for a Chromebox with the full Intel i5 processor and lots of interface options, probably in the $350-450 range. The cheap ones can serve as glorified Google TVs / Apple TVs, while the more expensive models can be used for more productivity-oriented work. I suspect this kind of differentiation will occur when / if Chrome OS becomes successful.
            As far as Thunderbolt / FireWire, I still don't see the point as Chrome OS stands at this time. It doubt it supports either at this point, although it would probably be easy to add (being Linux based). I just don't see this demographic being concerned about daisy chaining anything, and the power users will have a "real" computer as a primary device and use this in a secondary or tertiary capacity. However, everyone's usage model will differ; personally I would rather have a cheaper, simpler device...
  • what's it good for ?

    In the light of so many new and exciting devices showing up (phablets, pads, convertibles, ...) the Chromebox is the ultimate waste of money and effort.
  • Hmm

    Can you install another OS on it via USB like anything else? Wow, that would be a bargain if you can still do that.
    D.J. 43
    • Sort of...

      As I understand it, chome os likes very much to lockdown the system... Just like windows 8 on hardware "designed for windows 8" however it would seem that these have a "developer" switch at the back that will allow installation of a second Linux system, allowing just over 10gb of space; more than enough to get your base system on the internal solid storage, plus all the usual packages you'd use day to day. Of course everything else would have to go on an external. USB drive and if you use any very large software, you may run into space issues.

      Not read anything about windows yet, however unless you are able to remove chrome entirely, I don't see it happening; for a start I assume you'd be looking at a maximum of just under 15gb usable space? Even once you completely gut a default windows 7 32 bit, you'd only have a couple of GB available on drive C and it is going to moan about that... Not to mention no room to install office...
      • Office?

        Can you tell me one good reason why you would want to install that just use google docs way easier and it is a lot easier to use
        • Not the most helpful logic...

          Office was an example. For many multi OS users, MS office maintains a need for windows/mac on a machine as for many there comes a time you just have to have office. And I say that as a full time Linux / open office user with a MacBook Air with pages on it also; it is still a case of if you want to see how it opens in office... Check it in office.

          As I say it was an example of what kind of space you'd have left. Surely the Only reason for attempting windows would be to use software and perform functions not available this gives a real world example of how limited you would be in terms of space even if you could reformat the flash storage. For now anyway it seems that you can only use special builds of Linux designed for the task such as Ubuntu for chrome. As for why you'd put a full desktop os on.. Well that's. gotta be pretty obvious surely?

          I still don't get the chrome book thing myself... I have an ageing nc10 netbook that can run windows 8 and all full builds of Linux without collapsing ... I don't get why you'd provide full desktop hardware for a client os?
  • It does not work for me, but.

    I am not a person who thinks this cannot work for a lot of consumers. In fact if you are not tied to iTunes or Microsoft Office or some other app that is tied to one OS. I think a Chromebook is a good ideal and makes sense. But I also think people need to do homework on some of what they want to be able to do before buying a Chromebook. Understand its limitations and don't think its just going to work for you. I remember how many bought those cheap netbooks with Linux on them only to find out they won't run Office and Netflix would not work. I think the Chrombook laptops make for great travel companions and second devices. Maybe even better then a iPad or Tablet and I like my keyboard.
  • The ARM-based Samsung Chromebook flies

    This must have at least $100 impact on the bill-of-materials compared to using a good ARM SoC (taking into account PSU and cooling)- so call that $150-200 extra retail. Having used the ARM based chromebook a bit it seems like overkill for the kind of stuff one would do on a Chromebox? Only thing that I could see within the chrome environment would be to push Google NativeClient - that could benefit from the speed- but given games are the most likely application for NaCl then why fit the only Intel device with it's comparatively poor integrated graphics?
  • I like this form factor for living room TVs

    Having a PC hooked up to your big screen TV has a lot of advantages over other things you hook up to the TV in that a PC is much more versatile. Pretty much anything you can do on a BD/DVD player or a gaming console or cable box or smart TV can be done on a PC, in many cases better, if you have the right USB accessories. But you also need the right software, and I'm not sure if Chrome OS is up to that task at the moment.

    I wound up building one for my TV for about $400, which seems to be the same price as this box (though my price included the Windows license). But I wound up with a much thicker device than the one you have pictured, though it seems the one pictured is the Celeron version.
    Michael Kelly
  • Really though, why more power?

    I don't have a ton of experience with the Chromebooks / Chromeboxes, but isn't the point that they are very accomodating of low-end equipment? Why crank up the power if it's going to go to waste? I assume they're aiming at the more demanding productivity-oriented environment where someone will have 20+ tabs open, but wouldn't a more useful direction be to use the Exynos chip from the Samsung Chromebook in a really low-cost machine? If the Chromebook is $250 with a decent keyboard, screen, and battery, wouldn't it be reasonable to figure the same basic device without those parts could be $100-150 (eliminate the extraneous ports while you're at it, leave ethernet, 1 HDMI port and a couple USB ports)? Offer a bundle with a cheap bluetooth keyboard & trackball for an extra $50-75. Now, that plus a ridiculously low power draw (I imagine it's got to be below 20W total) would make this a good device to attach to every TV in the house, it would allow you to derive most of the benefits of a "smart" TV while buying dumb ones (saving money in the process). For my purposes, that would be much more useful than Google TV or iTV, as long as it could render 1080p content from Netflix / Hulu / Amazon / YouTube / etc...
  • Intgeresting

    I never thought about it like that before dude.
    Todd Diamond