A modern enthusiast will scoff at the concept of a Chromebook – limited performance, capabilities, and a simplistic OS for doing some serious work? The fact is that the Chromebook, and Chrome OS, have been gazumping good portions of the notebook market share in recent years, mostly down to its stripped down nature but also the low pricing. In 2019 AMD relaunched its older A-series APUs for Chromebooks, meeting that market need. However, at CES this year we saw the first indication of premium $700+ Chromebooks from Intel. Now AMD is moving into a higher performance space with its Chromebook offerings with new optimized Ryzen hardware and Vega graphics.

Today AMD is announcing five new processors for Chromebooks.

AMD Chromebook APUs
AnandTech Cores Base
TDP Silicon
C-Series Zen+Vega
Ryzen 7 3700C 4C/8T 2300 4000 10 1400 15 W Picasso
Ryzen 5 3500C 4C/8T 2100 3700 8 1200 15 W Picasso
Ryzen 3 3250C 2C/4T 2600 3500 3 1200 15 W Dali
Athlon Gold 3150C 2C/4T 2400 3300 3 1100 15 W Dali
Athlon Silver 3050C 2C/4T 2300 3200 2 1100 15 W Dali
A-Series Excavator + GCN 1.2
A6-9220C 2C/2T 1800 2700 3 720 6 W Stoney
A6-9120C 2C/2T 1600 2400 3 600 6 W Stoney

The first two Ryzen processors are based on the quad core 12 nm Picasso processors, with four Zen+ cores and up to 11 Vega compute units. The final three are based on the dual core 14 nm Dali processors, with two Zen cores and up to 3 Vega compute units. All processors are built with a 15 W TDP in mind, and the idea is for these to cover the mid and high level Chromebooks while the A-series remains for those entry level models.

AMD claims to have a 21% market share in the Chromebook space, using IDC data, and Chromebooks currently account for 18% of all notebook sales. The market is largely split into three categories: education, enterprise, and consumer, with education seeing a big uplift in recent months due to the pandemic. Also because of the pandemic, as well as the growth of Chromebooks as a viable tool for these markets, use-cases are expanding with new productivity applications becoming available as well as the need to drive multiple high resolution displays.

These are a few of the reasons why AMD is continuing its march into the Chromebook ecosystem. On a performance level, AMD states that the new Ryzen-class Chromebook APUs will offer double or better web performance than the A-series, and +66-150% performance in productivity and graphics tasks.

Two of the first of the new Chromebook devices is coming from HP – essentially the same device, except one is for consumer and the other is built for the Enterprise market with extra security features.

The HP Pro c645 will be offered with the new Athlon C-class and Ryzen C-class processors, as well as a HP Privacy Camera shutter and optional fingerprint sensor. Through HP’s management software and the onboard Titan C chip, it can also be externally managed in a corporate environment if required. The 14-inch 1080p or 768p display comes with optional touch, up to 16 GB of DDR4, and up to 128 GB of NVMe storage (the lowest configuration is 4 GB DDR4 with 32 GB eMMC). At 3.4 lbs, the c645 is tested to MIL-STD 810H specifications, is quoted as having 10.5 hours battery with optional fast charging, dual Type-C at 5 Gbps, dual Type-A at 5 Gbps, and an extended 2x2 Wi-Fi 6 design. There is also a microSD slot and a HDMI 1.4 port. The HP Pro c645 and c645 Enterprise will be available in December, with pricing to come later.

Today AMD will also claim that it already has six design wins for Chromebooks in the works, all scheduled to come out later this year from HP, Lenovo, and ASUS.

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  • Marlin1975 - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    The issue with Chromebooks is usually not performance but price. It was supposed to be a very basic system at a good price. But many of them are more costly than equal or better Windows systems.
  • shabby - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    That and the fact that it stops getting updates eventually, dumb google.
  • niva - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    Is it ok to wipe out the hard drive and install linux on them? I remember in the past it was not so easy, which is why I never bought one. Chrome OS just doesn't interest me and if they somehow lock the hardware to the OS it's a no-go.
  • ballsystemlord - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    Linux has gotten better support for them over the years. IDK the amount of supported or unsupported HW. The current limiting factor of them is normally storage with 32GB or less being common.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    There are a lot of compatibility issues, mainly revolving around audio and BIOS support.

    Look at gallium OS's wiki, if the chromebook you want isnt listed on that compatibility list, and mr.chromebox hasnt made a custom firmware, you're not going to get anywhere with linux.

    Speaking from experience: its not worth the headache VS getting a halfway decent laptop in the first place.
  • PUBLuigi - Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - link

    You can run Linux apps natively in Crostini without even touching the OS itself.
  • PUBLuigi - Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - link

    Google is updating all Chromebooks for something like 8+ years after their release date...
  • webdoctors - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    The problem with Chromebooks is the OS. I've bought several chromebooks, wipe the OS and put LinuxMint or some Ubuntu variant on there and they're fantastic. Gave them to family, and they use them for 5-10 years, basically until the battery dies. The nice thing about Linux is the very long support life on them, and they're almost bullet proof when it comes to dealing with viruses.

    Put linuxOS + teamviewer for helping family remotely and openoffice / chrome/ skype and its all my parents need.
  • rangerdavid - Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - link

    Nice. But have you easily overcome the compatibility issues someone else motioned above?
  • compvter - Monday, November 23, 2020 - link

    I strongly disagree with your statement about them being very basic systems. They do allow that, but at least for me the point of buying one is that unlike some other OS:s applications cannot write garbage to OS files and bloat it, thus making them slower... not to mention injecting viruses is usually done with that method. I truly wish OEM:s would at least offer one model that goes away from mind set you are describing. So why chromebook you would ask:

    1) it can run most linux apps now, that includes steam btw depending on your laptop might support gpu acceleration as well... and even though it is now possible to play gta V etc on linux through emulation, I wouldn't hold my breath with current integrated gpus.
    2) play store: means insanely good library of once windows only applications being offered
    3) way faster boot time than linux/windows
    4) Doesn't really require anti-virus

    To my understanding where chromebooks are lacking is ability to use kubernetes with them, which I consider major downfall for developers... I mean kubernetes was developer by google, make it work! I am probably going to by 3700C if there is 16GB ram model (would prefer 32gb, but i am being realist).
    Second reason not to buy one is ram if you are developer, at least not anything with less than 16gb of ram, those ide:s will eat it up in no-time. On my area I could not find Asus flip with 16GB and their support was no help at all.
    third this is not gaming laptop, even though you can now install steam to some, this is for the moment for casual playing... at least until someone puts decent gpu on one of the chromebooks or chromebooks start supporting external gpu:s, and even then I would probably stay with windows until gaming on chromebooks becomes more mainstream and less hacky.

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