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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  • Unashamed_unoriginal_username_x86 - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    If they retain the same competitive pricing they're known for, AMD's netbook offerings sound like a fantastic improvement for entry level laptop value. I remember getting a laptop for $700AUD with a measly 2.4Ghz 7200U only 3 years ago.
    That being said, they really handicapped the GPU on Dali, I hope the Picassos aren't too expensive or the Dalis are really cheap
    Thanks for the writeup!
  • PUBLuigi - Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - link

    The Ryzen 4000u series seems like it would be a better match for the price/performance of Chromebooks. It isn't that the 3000 series was bad, necessarily but instead that the 4000 series was a substantial performance uplift over the previous generation. Windows laptops toting these chips are a fantastic value right now and offer phenomenal performance for those who actually need powerful CPU performance in a smaller package. Chromebook users don't typically fall into this category and anything with a core m3 (a fanless dual core chip btw most of which don't even enable hyperthreading on ChromeOS devices) will offer snappy user experiences for years.

    Higher end Chromebooks will be even more future proof but with the way Chromebooks have been proliferating into the mobile space the last few years, I'd imagine professional app developers will be forced to port their applications over to them sooner than later. At that point, the higher end iGPUs found in these Ryzen chips will come in handy for those wanting to do GPU bound tasks. More intensive games can hit the playstore too, though it's pretty damn awesome that I can play a game like GTA vice city completely fluidly on a fanless m3 6y30 equipped chromebook. Streaming services negate the need for higher end graphics hardware though so it may take time before 11th gen core and 4000 series Ryzen chips hit Chromebooks.
  • alufan - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    Chrome books totally suck at anything other than a personal user, for work users the issues with integrating with MS office products makes it pointless in the real world, for students etc or just as a simple browser its fine
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    Greeeaaaaaaat, now Google can spy on me via a system running an AMD CPU too. I'm so very excited for the new platform upon which I can be creeped on despite not consenting to the invasion.

    Seriously, just go buy a cheap Windows laptop and dump Linux on it. You're getting the same bang for your buck and a lot less of Google sniffing your panties and logging the chemical composition of the odors.
  • Alexvrb - Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - link

    Yeah I'm not much of a Linux guy but if you're going that route you're much better off getting a Windows laptop as a starting point. I installed Windows on exactly ONE Chromebook, and it was a PITA. Only reason I did it was I got a refurb on mega clearance.
  • 69369369 - Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - link

    Excavator 🤢
  • Samus - Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - link

    The A6-9120C is actually an A4-series part.
  • Ptosio - Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - link

    I wonder, what's the rationale of manufacturing Zen 1 cores once you already have Zen 2? Is it really cheaper to produce old design CPU?
  • Alexvrb - Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - link

    Well for one thing they're using an older GF process, so they are cheaper. Plus they aren't gobbling up precious 7nm TSMC wafers, which means more chips for higher-margin SKUs and/or models sold in more competitive market segments.
  • icetorch - Monday, September 28, 2020 - link

    I thought it had something to do with GF 12nm wafer agreement, and as stated by alexvrb, there is a limited amount of TSMC production. They still have to buy a certain volume through 2021. Idk why they are still using the excavator design. Maybe it's really cheap for them.

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