You’ll be forgiven if you’ve forgotten about Chromeboxes, the desktop PCs running Google’s Chrome OS. While there were a flurry of the mini-PCs released a few years back, they have mostly been ignored in favor of their incredibly successful Chromebook siblings.
Acer hopes to inject some new life into the product category with updated versions of its CX Chromebox lineup, which it launched back in 2014. Online sleuths have spotted the new CXI3 series popping up for pre-order on some online retail sites, with four basic configurations that feature either 7th- or 8th-generation Intel Core processors.
Not surprisingly, the cheapest version uses an original Kaby Lake processor in the form of a dual-core Celeron 3865U. The CXI3-4GKM, priced around $300, also comes with 4 gigs of RAM and 32GB of solid-state storage. The next step-up configuration also comes with a 7th-generation Core chip, in this case the dual Core i3-7130U. The CXI3-I38GKM also doubles the RAM and built-in storage for a price around $470.
The configs featuring refreshed Kaby Lake CPUs include the CXI3-I58GKM, which sports a Core i5-8250U, 8GB of memory, and 64GB SSD for about $50 more than the Core i3 version, and the CXI3-I716GKM, which is powered by a Core i7-8550U and includes 16GB of RAM and 64 gigs of storage for approximately $750. Whether a high-end Core i7 is overkill for a system running the Chrome OS, which prides itself on being resource un-intensive, is open to debate, but that hasn’t stopped Acer from giving you that option.
The CXI3’s nondescript black chassis houses the usual array of ports, including HDMI, Ethernet, two USB 2.0, three USB 3.1 Type A, USB 3.1 Type C, and a microSD card reader. Built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi is also included, as is a stand to keep the system vertical and a VESA mounting kit to stick it behind a monitor.