While its Chromebook announcements at CES 2021 received more fanfare, Asus continues to support the Chromebox platform for desktop PCs built to run the Chrome OS. Its new Fanless Chromebox is designed to support commercial and industrial applications with a tiny, rugged form factor that packs Intel processors inside along with updated connectivity options.
As its name suggests, the Fanless Chromebox was built to withstand the heat from its internal components without a noisy fan, building passive cooling into the design of its extruded-aluminum chassis, which measures just 1.3x8.1x5.8 inches (HWD) and weighs 2.6 pounds. With a lockable VESA mount, this small system can be tucked into out-of-the-way spots -- such as behind an LCD monitor or under a desk.
The Fanless Chromebox punches above its weight (and size) class, however, supporting either 10th-generation Intel Core processors (Core i3-10110U or Core i7-10510U, specifically) or Celeron 5205U CPU. It can also be configured with up to 8GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage, which should be more than enough to handle Chrome and its cloud-based applications. As with most new Chrome-based devices, this Chromebox includes built-in support for the Google Play store, which greatly expands the number of apps available for the system to run.
Asus gives the Fanless Chromebox a slew of updated connectivity options, such WiFi 6, several USB ports (including a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port capable of device charging), a microSD card slot, and a pair of HDMI ports. The Chromebox can support up to three 4K displays, and even features a legacy RS232 serial port to connect to older monitors. Other touches that make the system suitable for commercial and industrial settings include a cable lock to secure the power and HDMI cables and an external power-switch cable to facilitate turning the Chromebox on and off when it's mounted away from easy access.
Asus states that the Fanless Chromebox will be available early next month with a starting price of $399.