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HP Chromebox Used for $96 Amazon Warehouse Deal

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by ChrisG8, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    Amazon.com Buying Choices HP Chromebox CB1-014 Desktop White

    Basic model Intel Celeron 2955U, 2GB, 16GB white color only at this price but I ordered one to have something to play with. Of course no warranty unless purchased from a warranty company. I think this model can be updated to 4GB RAM but I don't think there is a second slot for RAM, so replacement of the 2GB with 4GB chip is necessary if that is correct.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2015
  2. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Chris I will be very interested to hear your thoughts and opinions about the Chromebox after you've had a chance to use it for a while. From what I've read the Chromeboxes work very well with 2GB of RAM and 4GB isn't really necessary. Also it works well with the Celeron processor.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
  3. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    I know the Celeron processor should be fine and it is good to hear 2GB RAM should be adequate. If it is like most of the boxes I own, it won't see much use after I set it up and play with it for a week or two. The white color is odd but will match the Sony NSZ-GT1 that will continue to get the lion's share of use in our household.
     
  4. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    How to upgrade the RAM in your HP Chromebox Android Central

    This link describes the procedure to replace the 2GB RAM with 4GB RAM. Not cost effective really in my opinion unless you already have the correct RAM sitting around unused. I don't think I do but some reports indicate using the box for 4K and you will benefit from greater RAM. I don't have a 4K display and can't imagine I will use this Chromebox for 4K when I do.
     
  5. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    The $99 price perked my ears, but the the reviews for the box mentioned some people struggling with sluggishness, running out of resources if they use too many tabs, some issues with video quality, and keyboard compatibility problems.
     
  6. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    The deal is sold out now and I also have read many reviews, some are negative but most are favorable. For the price, I expect a great box, compared to an Intel NUC at several times the money, it won't be so great. Compared to the no-name Android mini PCs at or about the same price, I expect this box to excel for things it does. Whatever it will be, I sure don't need it, I am up to my waist in boxes of this sort and may end up sitting out in the front yard with it and the rest of them and all of my clothes and golf clubs if I don't unload a few quickly.
     
  7. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    The HP also has a fan ... something I prefer to avoid in a streaming box. I've brought this up a few times, but with the price of Windows tablets plummeting ... the NUC has some competition (just ignore the screen). $99 will buy a 2GB Windows 8.1 tablet these day with HDMI out ...
     
  8. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    I have not seen one with a processor comparable to this box, nor with 16GB storage at this price and of course this also has 4 USB 3.0 ports and is upgradeable. In my opinion there is no comparison for a device to be used connected by HDMI to a display. I also question having a cheap tablet connected to a power supply and running 24 hours a day like the Chromebox will and holding up.

    I think I would prefer Windows 8.1 running on this box and if that product shows up at $100, that is probably a better choice for most. This will be my first Chromebox so I might really like the Chrome OS, I don't know. I already have Windows boxes handling everything I need handled by Windows, no interest in a Windows box to just play with and understand like I plan to do with this box.
     
  9. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    I just did a search and the Chromebox can run Windows 8.1 but installing that is too much trouble and too expensive for me but some have done it and apparently it runs well.
     
  10. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    Microcenter's WinBook line I've mentioned has been getting a lot of interest. For instance, the TW801 for $99 has 2GB RAM and 32GB of storage with Windows 8.1 baked in to the storage. It uses the Baytrail Z23735D which is a quad core CPU and should be competitive and even best the Celeron in the HP depending how many cores you can put to use. The TW801 has one USB3 port, so if you really need 4, you'd have to add a hub. It's also expandable with up to 128GB microSD. It's possible to off-load a lot of things that would use internal storage to external.

    Most tablets spend their life plugged in and just sitting there. Quality can vary, but I guess I'd be more concerned how well a tablet would behave if always used via a mouse/keyboard and not via touchscreen/buttons. For instance, would you care if the keyboard couldn't bring the tablet out of suspend and you had to avoid using it? I did read that Win8 could be instructed to direct video to the HDMI and not to the tablet's screen, and then the resolution can be turned up to 1080p (on a ~720p tablet).

    I haven't tried this all out myself, but I did pick up the TW801's little 7" brother for $60 just to play around with. I haven't tried using it to replace one of my streaming boxes - as my fire TV is still serving me well. It's just something I'm keeping an eye on.
     
  11. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    The Intel Z3735D, I believe that is the processor you mean, is hardly comparable to the Intel Celeron in the Chromebox here.

    PassMark - Intel Atom Z3735D 1.33GHz - Price performance comparison

    PassMark - Intel Celeron 2955U 1.40GHz - Price performance comparison

    At least not for a desktop mini PC. I do like the inexpensive Intel Atom chips however. I would never leave a tablet sitting around plugged into a power outlet all of the time and I am not going to connect a tablet to an HDTV full time because it is a cheap option. For a tablet those Windows 8.1 models look like a great deal.
     
  12. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    Take a look at the baseline history for the CPU benchmarks on the pages you linked. There's one where the Atom scored 1025, and one where the Celeron only scored 714. What would the HP score? What the WinBook score? Who knows.

    I didn't bother to write down the links for the comparison I saw, but it looked much closer. One thing I haven't see is a comparison of the video performance, but the BayTrail has been doing surprisingly well in that area.
     
  13. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    That CPU Benchmark has been a reliable source for me, the 60% higher rating is consistent with other reviews I have seen. I do have a box in house running a very similar Intel Atom Z3736 in house, Windows 8.1 and it is a nice low cost, low power CPU and video performance is very good.
     
  14. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    I disagree, but given neither of us have benchmark data for the two devices we're actually talking about, it really doesn't matter.

    The important market trend is Intel and Microsoft's push in to the low-end market. If volume sales of tablets allow manufacturers to push the cost of tablets significantly below the cost of a Mini-PCs and/or laptops, then nothing wrong with taking advantage of the market disparity.

    My personal concerns have little to do with hardware and expense and more to do with ease of use on a TV. Heck, if I really want to stream something from my PC to my TV there are other ways to skin that cat with technologies such as Miracast/Widi and Apps like Splashtop. Turns out I don't need that capability very often.
     
  15. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    I have it and haven't figured out how to it up properly but to get it up and running, browsing on the internet was a breeze and for that it appears to be very good indeed.
     
  16. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the update. Perhaps you can consider giving a full review after you've had a chance to use it for a while? I'm very interested in your opinions about it.
     
  17. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    Sure, I have already made progress and given my old age, it is best to just report as I get familiar with it, remembering a thorough review and reporting all at once wouldn't be very easy and I would forget a lot. First thing I wanted to know is how does it do with the various mainstream subscription streaming services.

    Netflix, test indicates to me 3000kbps and 1280 x 720 is best it can do and an internet search seems to confirm that although some claim HD looks great and think they can get 1080p. Google TV of course does 5800kbps and 1920 x 1080. If Netflix SuperHD is important, I would say this Chromebox is hardly suitable as a replacement.

    Compared to the two other mini PCs I own, an Android AmLogic S802 box, that only does 1750kbps and 720 x 480, the Android mini PC isn't worth mentioning again for the mainstream subscription services, it is worthless to me for all of them. It does however play my files, only 720p and 480p PlayLater recordings really well. The fact it is an unapproved device, lacking proper DRM handling, is I am sure the reason most services I have checked won't play period with the Android mini PC. The Pipo X7, Windows 8.1 mini PC, running an Intel Atom Z3736, handles Netflix SuperHD and Dolby Digital+ audio fine. I don't know which services have Windows 8.1 apps but the Netflix app is a good one. It hits 5800kbps and 1920 x 1080 fairly quickly.

    Back to the Chromebox, installed Vudu and could not get any of my Ultraviolet movies to play 1080p, even those that should play in 1080p on a PC. Some rights owners limit Vudu to SD on a PC, others HD, it didn't matter, no movies played in HD for me, I ran brief tests on a dozen or so. I would have thought the Chrome Store app could handle this, at least for the movies authorized for PC HD. If I find the app should play HD Vudu, I will troubleshoot, one thing I just thought of is I am using a cheap HDMI switch from China although that same switch did work with the Pipo X7 for Netflix HD.

    HBO GO was available using a web browser, no Chrome Store app, not sure but I would guess SD only although it played well during a brief test. The free Hulu is accessible by web browser and appears to work great based on a brief test, Hulu treats this as a computer, not a streaming box like Google TV is treated which results in Hulu blocking Google TV. I did install the Hulu app from the Chrome Store but I dropped my Hulu Plus subscription last month, not sure how the app would work with Hulu Plus but I would expect 720p.

    I installed the free Plex app, not sure what it does and I had already purchased the Google TV and Android versions of Plex, we use Plex a lot to play PlayLater recordings. Recently Plex dropped the Google TV version but made the Android version work with Google TV, I probably should request a refund since I bought both. I was surprised to see it is free at the Chrome Store but I don't know what the app does, it may not make the Chromebox a Plex client like it does with Google TV and Android devices.

    I did play a couple of SD YouTube videos using the Chromebox, those played fine. The Chromebox is fast and easy, I am using a Logitech K700 keyboard to operate it, not perfect but I think I will stick with it. The K700 was not acceptable for the Pipo X7, I tried it briefly and switched to a Logitech K520 keyboard and M310 mouse combo and like that better although I concede it might be possible to adapt the K700 to the Win 8.1 box.

    Catfish if there are some specific tests or sites you want me to look at, let me know.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2015
    • Informative Informative x 1
  18. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    I have boxes in house now with Intel Atom Z3736F, a Pipo X7 Win 8.1, and Intel Celeron 2955U, no question in my mind for single thread the Haswell Celeron is faster. In the real world, I don't know what I do utilizing multiple cores but I think that is where there would be little or no observable difference in performance. I also don't know how to overclock and compare, I suspect the Pipo is set to run cooler (slower) since there is no proper cooling with the box. The Pipo cost $90 new, it took a long time to arrive from China and the Chromebox $96 used, pretty cheap mini PCs and I am not sure which one I like best but I am pretty sure the Chromebox running Windows 8.1 would be my preference.
     
  19. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Chris how do 720P videos work with Chromebox on YouTube? I'm assuming that Chromebox is probably using the new HTML5 default version of YouTube (because the Chrome browser is up-to-date and can handle the latest HTML5).
     
  20. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    Alright, picked a random video, DEF CON 22, changed resolution to 720p and it played fine for the couple of minutes I could stand to watch it. I tried Beach Boys 25th Anniversary Concert in 720p, the video played but was very poor quality, no fault of the Chromebox I am sure. It dawned on me that I own some movies that are accessible through Google Play and YouTube now, high quality HD so that is what I needed to test. I own a couple dozen Disney Movies, none would play in HD through YouTube but would play in 480p, no option to change. Weird, so I went to Google TV, none I tested would play period using the YouTube app so I went to Google Play Movies on Google TV, same movies available there, tested one that played fine, I assume HD since it indicated I own it in HD. Went back to Chromebox tried a non Disney HD program I own accessible through YouTube using the browser, changed to 720p and it played fine.

    Disney apparently does not allow HD through YouTube but the Chromebox is clearly capable and does a nice job. I wouldn't be surprised if other studios block YouTube HD as well. Typical uploaded videos from nobody of significance if available in HD should play in HD is my conclusion.

    I own a couple hundred movies, Ultraviolet format, and I haven't figured out how to play those in HD using a Chromebox. Next I need to see if a Flixter app is available, I use that with my Sony NSZ-GT1. For the same movies, I use Vudu with a newer GTV like the Sony NSZ-GS7.
     

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