Meet the Asus Chromebox, a $179 fanless mini-desktop

Asus’ new Chromebox is a nice step up from Samsung’s model.

Google’s Chrome OS continues to show up on more and more devices, and while the majority of them are laptops, it looks like desktop users are going to have quite a few options as well. Joining LG’s upcoming Chromebase all-in-one is the Asus Chromebox, a headless mini-PC that goes on sale in March for $179. At 4.88″ by 4.88″ by 1.65″, it’s similar to but slightly larger than Intel’s more versatile NUC desktop in every dimension.

Despite its desktop-shaped package, the Chromebox is the same on the inside as many recent Intel Chromebooks, including the Acer C720. The base model includes a 1.4GHz dual-core Celeron 2955U based on Intel’s Haswell architecture, integrated Intel graphics, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of solid-state storage, dual-band 802.11n with Bluetooth 4.0, and an SD card reader and Kensington lock slot. AnandTech reports that the Chromebox will also be available in higher-end variants with a 1.7GHz Core i3-4010U and a 2.1GHz (3.3GHz Turbo) Core i7-4600U and up to 4GB of RAM across its two DIMM slots. The Core i7 version apparently won’t be available on American shores, though.

The Asus Chromebox includes many of the features of Samsung’s $329 Chromebox originally introduced 2012 but at a substantially lower price. Samsung’s model had more display outputs but lacked HDMI, and its Sandy Bridge Celeron CPU also needed a cooling fan that the Asus version doesn’t need.

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Microsoft names insider as new CEO, Gates steps down from chair

This morning, Microsoft announced that Satya Nadella, until now Microsoft’s vice president in charge of the company’s enterprise and cloud products, has been named the company’s new chief executive officer. The company also named a new chairman of the board, as Bill Gates will return to help Nadella plot the course for the company and take a greater role in the company’s operations.

The announcement ends months of speculation about who would replace outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer. But it also signals a less radical shift at the software giant—with Gates providing a great deal more guidance over the company’s technology development.

In an e-mail to employees this morning, Nadella wrote:

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Google’s mystery barge has “got to move” from the SF Bay

Behold: Google’s four-story shipping-container product marketing paradise.

Google’s mysterious barge will need to find different moorings if a report from the Associated Press is true. According to the AP, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (SFBCDC) is set to deliver the eviction notice. The AP quotes the commission’s executive director Larry Goldzband as saying simply, “It needs to move.”

According to the commission’s website, permits from the SFBCDC are necessary for “most work” undertaken in the Bay or within 100 feet of the shoreline. Google’s decision to use a temporary facility at Treasure Island seems to have been its undoing. The barge’s size and scope certainly qualifies as “work,” so although Google submitted planning documents with the City of San Francisco, both its and Treasure Island’s failure to apply for SFBCDC permits could put both parties at risk of fines.

The Verge reports that a Google spokesperson confirmed the notice from the commission. The simplest solution seems to be for Google to move the barge to a location where it’s permitted.

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