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Google ChromeBoxes: How they compare in the Mini PC world

Posted by Paul Richards on Jun 5, 2015 10:21:00 AM

Intel NUC vs Google Chromebox vs Mac mini comparison

Google launched its own operating system a couple of years back with the introduction of affordable Chromebooks. ChromeOS is a web based operating system which does everything in a web browser and users can make use of Chrome Apps for productivity. The OS has its limitations since it cannot perform advance tasks and it is not compatible with Windows or Mac based software. Chromebooks were designed to be affordable and within the budget of lower to middle class users.

Google also launched Chromebox, which is a compact system with ChromeOS. Chromebox is a complete system for under $200 featuring Intel Celeron processors to perform low CPU intensive tasks. The company partnered with ASUS, Dell, HP and Acer to manufacturer Chromebox in different configurations. It is a pretty neat gadget which can easily be connected to any display and make use of ChromeOS to browse the web or make spreadsheets and documents using Google apps. Below are the specifications of Chromebox with upgrade options from different manufacturers:

                                                                                                       
                                                                             
 

 

 
 

ASUS Chromebox

 
 

Dell Chromebox

 
 

HP Chromebox

 
 

Acer Chromebox

 
 

Operating System

 
 

Chrome OS

 
 

Chrome OS

 
 

Chrome OS

 
 

Chrome OS

 
 

CPU

 
 

1.4 GHz Intel Celeron 2955U

 
 

1.4 GHz Intel Celeron 2957U

 
 

1.4 GHz Intel Celeron 2955U

 
 

1.4 GHz Intel Celeron 2957U

 
 

Graphics

 
 

Intel HD Graphics

 
 

Intel HD Graphics

 
 

Intel HD Graphics

 
 

Intel HD Graphics

 
 

Memory

 
 

2 GB DDR3

 
 

2 GB DDR3

 
 

2 GB DDR3

 
 

2 GB DDR3

 
 

Storage

 
 

16 GB SSD

 
 

16 GB SSD

 
 

16 GB SSD

 
 

16 GB SSD

 
 

Connectivity

 
 

802.11 Wireless N

 

Bluetooth 4.0

 

Ethernet

 
 

Intel 7260AC WiFi

 

Bluetooth 4.0

 

Ethernet

 
 

802.11 Wireless N

 

Bluetooth 4.0

 

Ethernet

 
 

802.11 Wireless N

 

Bluetooth 4.0

 

Ethernet

 
 

I/O

 
 

4 x USB 3.0 ports

 

HDMI port

 

DisplayPort

 

Ethernet

 

Power In

 

SD Card slot

 

Headphone/Mic

 
 

4 x USB 3.0 ports

 

HDMI port

 

DisplayPort

 

Ethernet

 

Power In

 

SD Card slot

 

Headphone/Mic

 
 

4 x USB 3.0 ports

 

HDMI port

 

DisplayPort

 

Ethernet

 

Power In

 

SD Card slot

 

Headphone/Mic

 
 

4 x USB 3.0 ports

 

HDMI port

 

DisplayPort

 

Ethernet

 

Power In

 

SD Card slot

 

Headphone/Mic

 
 

Power Supply

 
 

65 W Adapter

 
 

65 W Adapter

 
 

65 W Adapter

 
 

65 W Adapter

 
 

Dimensions

 
 

124 x 124 x 42 mm

 
 

125 x 125 x 43 mm

 
 

126 x 124 x 40 mm

 
 

140 x 58 x 173 mm

 
 

Accessories

 
 

-Chrome Wireless Keyboard and Mouse (with selected models)

 

-AC Adaptor

 

-VESA Mount Kit

 
 

-VESA Mount Kit

 

-AC Adapter

 

-Dell Wireless Keyboard Combo (Purchase   Separately)

 
 

-VESA Mount Kit

 

-AC Adapter

 

-HP Wireless Keyboard Combo (Purchase   Separately)

 
 

-VESA Mount Kit

 

-AC Adapter

 

-Acer Wireless Keyboard Combo (Purchase   Separately)

 
 

Price

 
 

$159.99

 
 

$179.99

 
 

$179.99

 
 

$179.99

 
 

Upgrade Options

 
 

Intel Core i7-4600U

 

Intel Core i3-4010U

 

4 GB Memory

 
 

4 GB Memory

 
 

4 GB Memory

 
 

Intel Core i3-4030U

 

8 GB Memory

 

Chromebox for Meetings

Google has noticed an increasing trend for video conferencing and since Google Hangouts is widely used by professionals to conduct meetings, the company has launched specific Chromebox for meetings with the help of ASUS and Dell. Unlike the standard model, Chromebox for meeting comes with 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 4 GB memory, HD Camera, Microphone & speaker and a remote control. It comes as a complete package, ready to use for video conferencing. Google also includes a $250 Chromebox for Meetings license software with the package.

Chromebox for meetings is available for $999 which is quite cheap compared to other meeting room systems which start at a minimum of $6000. Low price does indicate that the camera included in the package is a HD webcam not a professional broadcasting camera but it can perform the job for small rooms.

                                                                                                                                 
 

 

 
 

ASUS   Chromebox for Meetings

 
 

Dell   Chromebox for Meetings

 
 

Operating System

 
 

Chrome OS

 
 

Chrome OS

 
 

CPU

 
 

Intel Core i7-4600U (2.1 GHz Turbo up   to 3.3 GHz)

 
 

Intel Core i7-4600U (2.1 GHz Turbo up   to 3.3 GHz)

 
 

Graphics

 
 

Intel HD 4400

 
 

Intel HD 4400

 
 

Memory

 
 

4 GB DDR3

 
 

4 GB DDR3

 
 

Storage

 
 

16 GB SSD

 
 

16 GB SSD

 
 

Connectivity

 
 

802.11 Wireless N

 

Bluetooth 4.0

 

Ethernet

 
 

Intel 7260AC WiFi

 

Bluetooth 4.0

 

Ethernet

 
 

I/O

 
 

4 x USB 3.0 ports

 

HDMI port

 

DisplayPort

 

Ethernet

 

Power In

 

SD Card slot

 

Headphone/Mic

 
 

4 x USB 3.0 ports

 

HDMI port

 

DisplayPort

 

Ethernet

 

Power In

 

SD Card slot

 

Headphone/Mic

 
 

Power Supply

 
 

65 W Adapter

 
 

65 W Adapter

 
 

Dimensions

 
 

124 x 124 x 42 mm

 
 

125 x 125 x 43 mm

 
 

Package Includes

 
 

·          ASUS Chromebox for   meetings

 

·          HD Camera

 

·          Microphone/Speaker

 

·          AC Adapter

 

·          RF Remote with Full QWERTY keyboard

 
 

·          Dell Chromebox for   meetings

 

·          HD Camera

 

·          VESA 100 mm kit

 

·          Power Cable

 

·          15′ Ethernet Cable

 

·          Jabra Microphone and Speaker

 

·          Phillips Remote Control

 

·          6′ HDMI to HDMI Cable

 

·          AC Adapter

 
 

Additional Features

 
 

Chromebox   for meetings License

 

 

 
 

Chromebox   for meetings License

 

 

 
 

Price

 
 

$999

 
 

$999

 

Intel NUC & Apple Mac mini comparison with Google Chromebox

Google Chromebox faces tough competition from Intel NUC and Apple Mac mini systems because not only they have better specifications but also come with Windows and Mac OS X, which support Skype for Meetings. Having complete operating systems is an added feature because it allows the user to perform other everyday tasks as well. Windows and Mac OS X also support third party meeting providers. Skype for Business is the most widely used video conferencing application and offers much more than ChromeOS (Hangouts).

Intel NUC as a complete system will cost around $800 while Mac mini with the same configuration will cost $1199 but both of them do not include a camera, remote, microphone and speaker so adding the costs of all these necessary things, the cost can go all the way up to $1200 for Intel NUC and $1500 for Mac mini. In this scenario, Google Chromebox for Meetings is a feasible option but if you want to use the system for other tasks then it is better to spend $200 extra and buy Intel NUC with accessories.

                                                                                                                                       
 

 

 
 

Intel NUC Core i7

 
 

Apple Mac mini Core i7

 
 

Processor

 
 

5th Gen   Intel Core i7-5557U

 
 

4th Gen   Core i7-4578U

 
 

Memory

 
 

Dual-channel DDR3L SODIMM, up to 16 GB

 
 

8 GB 1600 MHZ LPDDR3

 
 

Graphics

 
 

Intel Iris Pro HD 6100

 

mini HDMI 1.4a

 

mini DisplayPort

 
 

Intel Iris HD 5100

 

Mini DisplayPort

 

HDMI Port

 
 

Audio

 
 

7.1 surround sound

 

Headphone/mic jack

 
 

Audio in port

 

Headphone port

 
 

Peripheral Connectivity

 
 

4 x USB 3.0 ports

 

2 x USB 2.0 ports via   internal

 

Consumer Infrared   sensor

 
 

2 x Thunderbolt ports

 

4 x USB 3.0 ports

 

SDXC card slot

 

IR Receiver

 
 

Storage

 
 

M.2 slot for SSDS

 

SATA 2.5-inch drive

 
 

256 GB PCIe   SSD

 
 

Networking

 
 

Intel Gigabit Ethernet

 

Intel Wireless AC 7265  

 

Bluetooth 4.0

 
 

802.11 ac WiFi

 

Bluetooth 4.0

 

Ethernet

 
 

Enclosure

 
 

Aluminum and Plastic

 

Silver with black top

 

115 x 111 x 48.7 mm

 
 

Aluminum Case

 

196 x 196 x 36 mm

 
 

Power Adapter

 
 

19v, 65 Watt AC   adapter

 
 

N/A

 
 

Included in the box

 
 

Intel NUC Kit

 

VESA mount bracket

 

AC power adapter

 

Integration guide

 

Processor Badge

 
 

Mac mini

 

Power Cord

 
 

Price

 
 

$486

 
 

$1199

 
 

Complete System With 256 GB   SSD, Windows 8.1 & 8 GB RAM

 
 

$800

 
 

 

 
 

*Note:   Intel NUC kit does not include RAM, Storage and OS.

 

 

It comes down to user preference but we prefer Intel NUC over Chromebox because of the operating system. Chrome OS has a long way to go before it can become a standard OS but for now it is a good option for Chromebooks and standard Chromebox.

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Topics: google chromebox, Intel NUC, mini computer, mac mini, ChromeBox for Meetings

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