Asus' PB40, PN40, and Chromebox 3 micro machines arrive at CES


We've already covered enormous, high-refresh displays, gaming systems and accessories of all kinds, and Alexa-enabled laptops from Asus, so now it's time to talk about the company's PB40 and PN40 compact PCs, the Chromebox 3, and an updated Tinker Board S.

The PB40 systems are powered by Intel's eighth-generation Celeron and Pentium Silver processors, meaning they're low-power Apollo Lake chips. The PB40 is larger than the PN40 and offers up to six USB Type-C ports in exchange for slightly greater volume. Asus says the PB40 has a "flexible I/O" port design with suppport for VGA, DisplayPort, serial COM, and HDMI jacks. We take that to mean that it's configurable somehow. The product announcement was a bit light on details, but the fact that there will be stackable expansion modules on offer (including an optical drive) suggests that the box will be around at least 5.25" (14 cm) on each side.

The PN40 machines are also built around Intel eighth-gen Celeron and Pentium Silver SoCs, but appear to be a bit smaller, measuring 4.5" (11.4 cm) on each side and just 2" thick (5 cm). The PN40 also has USB-C connectors and a flexible jack that can be configured as a VGA or serial COM port. The Celeron version of the PN40 can be configured without a fan for silent operation with no moving parts. Asus didn't provide any information about the memory or storage configurations for the PB40 and PN40, but we'd wager on LPDDR3 memory and relatively small amounts of eMMC storage.

The Taiwanese electronics giant also announced its third-generation Chromebox. This version packs an Intel eighth-generation Core processor and 2400 MT/s DDR4 memory. The Chromebox 3 also has USB-C ports for next-generation connectivity, plus Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The machine will run Android apps from Google Play Store and has HDMI and DisplayPort outputs capable of displaying 4K video.

Asus also showed off a slightly modified version of its Raspberry Pi competitor, now called Tinker Board S. The S probably stands for storage, because the biggest change from the previous Tinker Board is the addition of 16 GB of eMMC flash memory. The board layout is mostly unchanged, maintaining compatibility with existing cases and accessories. The Rockchip quad-core RK3288 SoC and 2 GB of DDR3 memory also carry over from its predecessor.

Asus didn't provide pricing information for the Intel-powered small form factor systems, but it did say that all three will be available in the first half of the year. The Tinker Board S will start shipping before the end of the first quarter for $80.

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