A Chromebox running Proxmox, Whaa???

So recently I had a Chromebox 3 (ASUS Chromebox 3, Core i7-8550U) given to me by a friend since they didn’t want it anymore and I learnt you could flash custom firmware on to allow you to run nearly any OS you want on them (Thank you MrChromebox). You can read about flashing custom firmware on to Chromebook’s and Chromebox’s here, to allow booting of other OS’s.

So I didn’t really have use for it as a personal PC replacement, since its not powerful enough (Gaming, etc) and everyone already has a fast enough machine in the family. So I wondered what else could I use it for, I could easily run it as a docker host, but I already have my file server running Debian, using Docker and ZFS. What would it run like as Proxmox host! I first looked over the amount of RAM and storage the device had, so I got that bumped up with some new bits from AliExpress, I changed 4GB of DDR4 RAM to 16GB and 32GB SATA to 512GB NVMe. I then booted the USB installer for Proxmox and followed the usual procedures for installing Proxmox, to my surprised everything installed fine, few moments later I was able to access the WebUI. I then migrated some VMs I had running on an Intel NUC, and its been a few weeks now since I started running a few VMs on it and so far no issues what so ever, its running nicely and also pretty quiet too.

I thought these little devices might be good way to create a little homelab, since perhaps their resell cost isn’t great, compared to something like a Intel NUC or similar sized PCs, turns out these devices keep their value, but if you find yourself able to get one or two of these for a for a good price, I would say do it! Flash the custom firmware, upgrade the RAM and storage, then you can use it as a hypervisor, docker host or maybe even a kodi player.

Nothing special to say in this post, just my thoughts on my little adventure with a Chromebox 😀

16 thoughts on “A Chromebox running Proxmox, Whaa???

  1. Nice to hear that you can put older hardware to good use; I too think the NUC is too expensive for a homelab server. I have a few questions: did you cluster the boxes or are they individual servers?, if clustered, can you point me to a website where I can get instructions from? -thx; How many VMs have you attached to the 16gb box? Do you think four is the limit?
    thanks and best regards

    1. Hi Sam,
      I haven’t clustered mine, clustering works best when you can share the storage between the nodes. You can run quite a few VMs on it, the main constraint I think is the memory. The device can get quite hot from 20% load or so, but I’m not sure if that’s just my unit. I think the fan doesn’t quite spin fast enough, CPU can easily hit 95c. I may need to modify something or upgrade the custom firmware to fix this fan curve but since it only happens now and then I haven’.t

      There’s a few different videos on YouTube how to cluster Proxmox.

      Hope this helps.

  2. Hi.

    I am trying to install proxmox on my Dell Chromebook. However, when I restart the Chromebook with the bootable USB containing the proxmox iso image, I continue to get the following error:

    “The device you inserted does not contain Chrome OS”

    How did you get around that?

      1. Not yet. I will have to find a step-by-step guide to walk me through the installation of the firmware since I am sort of new to this. Do you by any chance know of any additional resources?


          1. It seems like it is supported.

            At the bottom of the screen on recovery mode, it displays the following.
            Model: KEFKA D25-A6L-N37-E21-A3A-A92

            I also found the KEFKA model listed under the supported devices:
            Dell Chromebook 11 3180/3189 KEFKA ✅ ✅ screw

  3. I have successfully removed the read protect the screw and now ill be working on figuring out the firmware update.

    1. Hi John,

      Yoy will need to remove the write protection screw then run the firmware script on this website https://mrchromebox.tech/. Once you’ve flashed the custom firmware on to the Chromebox, you can USB boot the Proxmox installer, and it then works just like any other PC.

  4. hi,
    do you have problem with overheating?
    I would like to buy chromebox 3 for proxmox cluster
    but i have doubts if its good solution?


    1. On my chromebox 3 it used to run quite warm, and the fan wouldn’t spin up that fast. But there’s others online where they say the fan speeds faster and seems to cool it better. Atleast that’s how I’m reading their comments on the thermals of the dvice. So not sure if mines got a different fan curve perphas. I wish I could change the fan curve on it as I feel it would help any termal throttling.

      Unless your going to get them for a really good price, I would look at other forms of 1L mini pcs by Dell, Lenovo, HP etc. They’re probably be cheaper anyway because there’s more of them, due to businesses rotating hardware.

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