Chrome OS is a bit limited, but functional enough for many users. You see, many people do all of their computing on the web nowadays, making a browser-focused Chromebook or Chromebox a smart choice. Unfortunately, Chome OS has also become synonymous with low cost and low specs. This is partly due to the misunderstanding that the operating system is only a browser; it's not. Google's OS is a full Linux distro running a browser, and it needs all the power it can get.
Today, Acer announces a refresh to the Chromebox CXI, which should make people say "finally", with a sigh of relief. Intel Core i3, 8GB of RAM and 4K output -- this is the machine Chrome fans have been waiting for.
"Powered by an Intel Core i3 4030U processor (3MB Intel Smart Cache, 1.90GHz), the Chromebox CXI provides enough speed for fueling multiple projects simultaneously and leveraging HD video and applications. This fourth generation processor offers more power, performance and energy efficiency than prior platforms", says Acer.
The company further explains, " the CXI comes outfitted with up to 8GB of DDR3 1600Mhz memory and Intel HD graphics. An array of connectivity options include 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and Gigabit Ethernet as well as four USB 3.0 ports including two with power off charging for smartphones and tablets. It supports up to a 32GB SD card for accessing photos from other devices. Via HDMI and DisplayPort, it also provides video and content to external displays and HDTVs. The systems are powered by a 65W AC adapter and bundled with a VESA mount kit and a Google approved USB keyboard and mouse".
These machines are available immediately, and pricing is actually quite reasonable given the specs. The 4GB model (CXI-i34GKM) is $349 (£229), while the 8GB model (CXI-i38GKM) is only $50 (£33) more at $399 (£260). While 4GB is sufficient for Chrome OS, I would suggest splurging on 8GB. If you plan on owning the machine for a few years, you will be glad that you did.
While this will likely make a good machine for traditional Linux ditros too, such as Ubuntu and Fedora, it is probably best to stick with Chrome OS here. After all, more open Linux machines are already available, and if you want a small form factor, you should take a look at the System76 Meerkat too.
Will you buy the refreshed Acer Chromebox CXI? Tell me in the comments.