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Fast, Cheap Chromebox on a budget

We have some ageing Haswell based Chromeboxes from HP, Asus and Acer. These boxes go end of life in terms of ChromeOS updates in less than a years time and while we can keep them going for a while - they will rapidly age after support ends. So our options are as follows:
  • Buy new Chromeboxes - the basic ones are around £200. They have the advantage they run Android apps. However, the base model is only slightly faster than our current models. To get better performance you need to get the i3 model at >£300.
  • Hack Cloudready onto the old Chromeboxes. We have done this to some older Samsung Chromeboxes and it works really well - but its a lot of effort!
  • Buy refurb ultra small form factor PCs and install Cloudready. 
So we tried the third option. The device we went for was the HP 8200 Elite Ultra Slim - i5 2400S, 8Gb DDR3 for £90 on eBay. We added a 60Gb SSD (had some spares) and installed Cloudready and enrolled on the domain.

The result is a very quiet, fast Chromebox that seems to work really well. We are going to deploy one test device in a classroom and see how it goes.

The regular cost will be ~£90-100 for a base unit, £10 SSD, £17 ChromeOS licence and £35 for a perpetual Cloudready licence. So around £150 for a fully managed i5 Chromebox vs £200 + £17 for a Celeron based device - although you do get Android Apps.

Few Picts

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