The ChromeOS mini PC, a.k.a. Chromebox may still be a very niche device but there’s no denying the appeal of a cost-effective, powerful, and upgrade-capable desktop that runs our favorite operating system. While not portable like a Chromebook, the small desktop form-factor of the Chromebox is perfect for a wide array of applications including home desktops, school computer labs, multi-user office setups and one of the most popular applications – kiosks and signage.
We’ve already seen new and upcoming 12th Gen Intel devices from the big OEMs including Acer, ASUS, and Lenovo and those Chromeboxes will slowly make their way to market over the next few months. As with previous Chromeboxes, there are offerings that range from Celeron all the way up to Core i7 with prices starting just under $300. The beefed up Core i7 models tip the scale at a thousand dollars or more when equipped with 16GB of RAM and larger SSDs.
As I had hoped, US-based CTL has a new Chromebox model in the works and today, the new CBX3 Chromebook was revealed and it came with a very pleasant surprise. Actually, two surprises but we’ll get to the second one in a moment. CTL’s new entry-level Chromebox features the same 12th Gen Alder Lake 7305 CPU found in the latest devices from other PC makers but the Core i7 model is a different story. CTL has leapfrogged the competition, literally. Instead of a 12th Gen CPU, this beast of a Chromebox is powered by the 13th Gen Intel Raptor Lake Core i7-1355U.
This makes the CTL Chromebox CBX3-7 the first-ever Raptor Lake ChromeOS device to break cover but the cool news doesn’t stop there. As I mentioned, the 12th Gen Chromeboxes already available for purchase or pre-order are running between $900 and $1,100 or more which is pretty much par for the course for a maxed out Chromebox. That said, CTL’s new 13th Gen Core i7 is already available for pre-order and that pre-order comes with a massive discount. Equipped with that 13th Gen Core i7-1355U, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, the Chromebox CBX3-7 retails for $1,061 but those who pre-order now can score this monster Chromebox for only $849. (That was the second surprise in case you didn’t already figure that out.) The only caveat being that devices won’t start shipping until some time in July. If you can hold off on getting your new devices, this could save you a ton of money. This is especially true if you’re looking to purchase a fleet of Chromeboxes for your office or school.
If you’re worried about RAM, no worries there. As you can seen in the video above, CTL’s Chromeboxes are some of the easiest on the market to upgrade. Even if you buy an extra 8GB for your new box, you’re still getting in way cheaper that comparable devices from other makers and you’re getting a later generation CPU. On that note, the differences between the 12th Gen and 13th Gen Intel CPUs is minimal with the only notable difference being a slightly higher clock frequency on the latter. Still, this Chromebox will be a beast and at the sale price of $849, it’s going to be a hard device to beat from a value standpoint. You can find the new 13th Gen and the 12th Gen Celeron Chromeboxes from CTL at the link below.