March 13, 2014, 5:04 PM — If you're looking for an inexpensive desktop system, then you should take a long, hard look at the Asus Chromebox, which ships later this month. Here are four reasons you won't want to pass it up.
Let's start with the best reason first: Price. This desktop system costs a mere $179. That's without monitor, keyboard, and mouse, of course, but still, for that price, it's hard to pass up. And you won't be getting a cheapo system. It's a modern computer with enough power for its Chrome operating system.
When it comes to desktop PCs, size does matter -- and the smaller the better, because you likely want to make the most of your limited office space. The Asus Chromebook shines here. It's a mere 1.7 x 4.9 x 4.9 inches, and weighs only 1.2 pounds. At that size, you can slip it into any available space, even in back of your monitor. There's also a plastic bracket for putting it underneath your desk. In essence, it can be a zero-footprint PC.
Here's how to set up your Asus Chromebox: Plug a monitor, keyboard, and mouse into it, then turn it on. In less than 20 seconds, you'll have it up and running, unlike the far-longer bootup times of Macs and Windows machines.
The Asus Chromebox's low $179 pricetag is only a deal if it's a real value, in other words, if you're getting something worthwhile for your money. And you are -- a surprising amount. There's a 1.4GHz Celeron 2955U processor, 2GB of 1.6GHz DDR3 memory, a 16GB SSD hard disk, and 100GB of free Google Drive online storage for two years. It's also got a full complement of ports, including four USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. In addition, there's an audio jack, HDMI and and DisplayPort connectors. Its Intel HD Graphics can power a resolution of up to 1920 x 1080 and can run two displays at once.