AMD’s Ryzen processors have been getting a lot of attention over the past few years thanks to their competitive pricing and performance. But the company is introducing two new chips that aren’t intended to compete with Intel’s flagship “Core” series processors. They’re aimed at entry-level Chromebooks.

The AMD A4-9120C and A6-9220C are 6 watt, 28nm dual-core chips featuring Radeon graphics. HP and Acer have already introduced Chromebooks that will be powered by the new processors, with prices starting at $269 and $280, respectively. They should hit the streets within the next month or two.

But what can we expect in terms of performance?

According to AMD, its new chips offer faster web browsing, email, photo editing, video gaming, and productivity than the Intel chips they’re meant to go up against.

Unfortunately the chips AMD is using for comparison are the Intel Celeron N3350 and Pentium N4200 — both of which are “Apollo Lake” processors launched in 2016. AMD hasn’t share any benchmarks showing how the new chips stack up against current-gen Intel “Gemini Lake” processors.

Both of AMD’s new Chromebook chips are dual-core, dual-thread chips with 6 watt TDPs, 1MB of cache, and 3-core graphics. But the A6 runs at higher frequencies:

  • A4-9120C – 1.6 GHz base/2.4 GHz boost CPU, 600 MHz Radeon R4 graphics
  • A6-9220C – 1.8 GHz base/2.7 GHz boost, 720 MHz Radeon R5 graphics

It’s interesting to note that AMD is marketing these chips specifically for Chromebooks. I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t also be used in low-cost Windows 10 S laptops… except that it’s unclear whether there’s much of a market for those.



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5 replies on “AMD launches two new A-series chips for Chromebooks”

  1. Obsolete chips on an obsolete process node…the Atoms may not be the fastest but most have 4 cores for 4 threads and are real power sippers unlike these!

    1. I agree. It looks like they underclocked a couple of their lowest power chips and got them ready for Google. It is hard to see how they could turn a profit. I suspect HP will release a couple of products and try to get lower Intel pricing.

      1. It’s not even Ryzen v3 (Zen2), nor Ryzen v2 (Zen+), or even Ryzen v1 (Zen).

        These are built on the horrible Excavator microarchitecture. You know, similar to the weak Jaguar cores in the PS4. I would take an Intel Atom Z8750 instead any day of the week, especially if its in a tiny product like the GPD Win.

        AMD has taken a page from Intel, and using its name to confuse (read: trick) buyers into thinking that they’re getting something half decent (read: Ryzen) when they are actually getting turd. Intel does this by mixing Atom processors and Corei processors in the same family names (Pentium/Celeron). And Nvidia did this with the GTX 1060, GT 1030 and MX150.
        Sounds like the old adage: if you can’t beat them, join them.

        1. I agree that these don’t look very attractive. To be fair, however, I wouldn’t say this is comparable to the naming convention cheating that especially nvidia and (I think to a lesser extent) Intel have engaged in. These are not marketed as either Ryzen or Athlon chips, and insofar no one who is actually looking at the specs is led to believe that these chips are something which they are not. Sure, people who only know that AMD produces Ryzen CPUs and automatically assume that these ones are the same might be
          (negatively) surprised, but I think that is just the regular effect of brand names and not a particularly shady practice beyond what is considered fair in a capitalist economy.

        2. True.

          But on the other hand, imagine someone using this after coming from an older Chromebook. They will notice that it is indeed slower and has a smaller battery life. And the obvious variable will be the processor, and hence, they will think AMD only makes bad processors. When it could be the reality that they make the best processors (eg r7-3700X versus 9900k).

          Unlike Intel, which the Atom Z8750 chipset, is not half-decent/bad, and is worth keeping on the market for truly portable or low-end stuff. AMD should just license this chip to another company (eg VIA, or some other Chinese company) and stop selling it under their brand, and make their brand exclusively based on Ryzen.

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