We’ve been tracking 12th Gen Intel Chromeboxes for quite some time now. Unlike Chromebooks, Chromeboxes generally see a two-year release cycle that skips a generation of Intel CPUs. The last ChromeOS mini PCs to hit the market were powered by 10th Gen Comet Lake processors. The new generation of Chromebox devices will be powered by the significantly more powerful 12th Gen Alder Lake chipsets. Some of those CPUs, Core i-5 and up, will also feature Intel’s Iris Xe graphics that support Steam gaming on ChromeOS.
Chromeboxes may be a bit of a niche device but the appeal for a lightweight, powerful and secure desktop computer is most definitely expanding and Chromeboxes check off all the “boxes.” Over the past few years, we’ve seen Chromeboxes from most of the major OEMs and as of late, more “white label” devices from companies like CTL, Promethean, and others. While I expected ASUS or HP to be one of the first to market with a new 12th Gen Chromebox, Lenovo has actually arrived – out of left field – to announce the first-ever Alder Lake Chromebox.
ThinkCentre M60q Chromebox
If you’re wondering why this is odd, I’ll tell you. Lenovo has a strong presence in the mini PC market with the company’s line of ThinkCentre Tiny desktop devices. That said, Lenovo hasn’t produced a ChromeOS mini PC since 2015 which seems odd to me given the ever-growing presence of ChromeOS in the Enterprise sector. Whatever the reason for bowing out, Lenovo is now back with the latest ThinkCentre Chromebox that’s powered by Intel’s powerful 12th Gen CPUs. Here’s a look at the new Tiny ChromeOS PC from Lenovo.
While this device will lean towards the Enterprise types, Lenovo made it a point to say that a consumer model would be available that didn’t come with a Chrome Enterprise Upgrade installed. The ThinkCentre M60q will feature up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i-5. The max amount of RAM wasn’t listed in the press release but it’s equipped with up to 2 DDR4 SODIMM 3200MHz slots which means that it should support at least 32GB if you want to upgrade it. There’s also no word on the storage but I presume that it will have an M.2 slot so it should easily handle 1TB or more easily.
Around the outside, the ThinkCentre M60q features four USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports on the back along with an HDMI 2.0 port, Display Port 1.4, 1 x Flex I/O port for DP or HDMI, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. On the front, you’ll find two more Gen 2 USB 3.2 ports, a single USB-C, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Port selection on this Chromebox is killer and should be ample for any use case. The M60q is also equipped with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.0 for fast, stable connectivity.
We aren’t sure what the entry-level version of the new ThinkCentre Chromebox will offer but I’d wager that it will be a Pentium Gold. The all-new 12th Gen Chromebox from Lenovo won’t be available until February of 2023 with a starting price of $323. Presumably, you will be able to purchase these through certified Workspace resellers and hopefully, directly through Lenovo. We’ll reach out to our friends at Lenovo to see how soon we can get our hands on a review unit and put it through the paces.