Acer has quietly started to sell its Chromebox CXI3 UCFF desktop, which it formally introduced earlier this year. The minuscule 0.9-liter system runs Google’s Chrome OS and the manufacturer originally positioned it for education market, but the actual configurations of these PCs and their prices indicate that they may be aimed at other kinds of markets too.

Announced earlier this year, the Chromebox CXI3 systems run Intel’s Kaby Lake processors (most of which belong to the 8th Gen Core family) with two or four cores, thus offering a decent level of performance for UCFF desktops. The key selling point of the Chromebox CXI3 besides its compact dimensions is connectivity. The system is outfitted with a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port along with five USB 2.0/3.0 Type-A ports (depending on the model), a GbE connector, an HDMI output, and a microSD card reader. On the wireless side of things, it has a 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi controller that also supports Bluetooth 4.2 LE.

Acer’s Chromebox CXI3 recently started to sell at NextWarehouse and TigerDirect in four configurations running quad-core Core i5-8250U or Core i7-8550U CPUs as well as dual-core Core i3-7130U or Celeron 3865U processors. The low-end Celeron-based version is equipped with 4 GB of DDR4 memory and 32 GB of solid-state storage, whereas higher-end variants are outfitted with 8 – 16 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. Prices of the systems range from a rather democratic $308 to a rather tangible $777. While schools and libraries can afford sub-$500 systems, it is extremely unlikely that they will invest nearly $800 in a Chromebox.

General Specifications of Acer's Chromebox CXI3
  DT.Z0NAA.001 DT.Z0RAA.001 DT.Z0SAA.001 DT.Z0TAA.001
CPU Intel Celeron 3865U
1.8 GHz
2 MB
15 W
Intel Core i3-7130U
2.7 GHz
3 MB
15 W
Intel Core i5-8250U
1.6 - 3.4 GHz
15 W
Intel Core i7-8550U
1.8 - 4 GHz
15 W
iGPU HD Graphics 610
12 EUs
300 MHz - 900 MHz
HD Graphics 620
24 EUs
300 MHz - 1 GHz
UHD Graphics 620
24 EUs
300 MHz - 1.15 GHz
Memory 4 GB DDR4-2133 8 GB DDR4-2133 16 GB DDR4
Storage SSS 32 GB 64 GB
Other microSD
Wireless 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2
Ethernet 1 × Gigabit Ethernet with RJ45 connector
Display Outputs HDMI
Audio 1 × TRRS connector
USB 1 × USB 3.1 Type-C
5 × USB 2.0/3.0 Type-A
Dimensions Width: 5.8 inches | 15 cm
Depth: 5.9 inches | 15 cm
Thickness: 1.6 inches | 4 cm
Extra 100 × 100 mm VESA mount
PSU External
OS Google Chrome OS
$308 $478 $535 $777

Google and its partners are pushing the Chrome OS to various unconventional mobile PCs (such as tablets, convertibles, and 2-in-1s), possibly to tap into markets where the operating system (and Android) was not present before (or has been unsuccessful). Meanwhile, Acer appears to see Chrome’s potential on the desktop, a market segment that Dell, HP, and Samsung considered irrelevant for the OS. Bearing in mind configurations and prices of the new Chromebox CXI3, it is evident that the systems are positioned not only for schools and libraries, but rather for more demanding customers. Furthermore, the fact that they have popped up in retail indicates that Acer is looking at consumers.

A big question is whether they latter are going to bite at Chromebox that costs nearly $800. For around $700 it is possible to get a Core i7-8250U- and Windows 10-based laptop. On the desktop side of things, there is a wide choice of SFF desktops priced at around $800 (1, 2).

Related Reading:

Source: TechReport

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • jordanclock - Monday, April 16, 2018 - link

    Anyone have experience with using a touch-enabled display and Android apps on a Chromebox? I've got a couple of use cases in mind and I just want to know if it works like a stationary Chromebook in regard to Android app support.
  • PeachNCream - Monday, April 16, 2018 - link

    Typo in the second to last paragraph. A line reads, "Bearling in mind configurations and prices..."

    Maybe that should read, "Bearing in mind..."
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, April 16, 2018 - link

  • benedict - Monday, April 16, 2018 - link

    No Ryzen option? Boring.
  • Yomama6776 - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    ryzen is not supported... yet

    I believe there is one in the works though
  • savagemike - Monday, April 16, 2018 - link

    Previous higher end iterations of Chromeboxes have been used to power enterprise class video meeting setups.
    Example here:

    From previous reading this kind of pricing is market competitive.
  • savagemike - Monday, April 16, 2018 - link

    The cheapest unit on the list would work just fine for a library, etc...
    That i5 looks kind of sweet but that price is too steep I think.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now