Last year AMD introduced its first chips designed for Chromebooks, and within a few months a handful of PC makers began selling Chrome OS laptops powered by the inexpensive, low-power processors.

Now AMD is taking aim at higher-performance Chromebooks. The company has introduced a new line of Ryzen and Athlon chips for Chromebooks. And unlike last year’s AMD A4 and A6 Chromebook chips, these new processors all use the company’s Zen CPU architecture.

But maybe I shouldn’t call them new chips.

That’s because AMD is basically taking five existing 15-watt U-series processor and rebranding them as Chromebook chips by replacing the U at the end of the name with a C. The company says this will make it easier to find information about a new chip when searching the web, but the “new” Ryzen chips are essentially the same processors AMD launched for Windows laptops at the start of 2019, while the “new” Athlon processors debuted earlier this year.

That said, AMD now has solutions for entry-level, mid-range, and Premium Chromebooks.

The company says its new 15-watt Ryzen Chromebook chips with Zen CPU cores should offer more than a 2X performance boost for web browsing and web apps when compared with the AMD A6-9220C processor that was, until recently, the most powerful AMD chip for Chromebooks.

Accordingto AMD, in addition to bringing a performance boost, the new chips bring support for features including WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 and are generally more suitable for mid-range and premium Chromebooks, including models with larger screen sizes (expect to see 14 and 15.6 nch displays).

AMD isn’t discontinuing its older Chromebook chips. They’re already used in 8 different Chromebooks from companies including Asus, Dell, and HP and AMD says those models will continue to be available. But we should expect to see 6 new models with the “new” chips soon.

Here’s a complete rundown of AMD’s revised line of Chromebook processors:

Cores / ThreadsBase / Boost FreqCacheGPU TDPNodeArchitecture
Ryzen 7 3700C4 / 82.3 GHz / 4GHz6MBRadeon 10 @ 1.4 GHz15W12nmZen+
Ryzen 5 3500C4 / 82.1 GHz / 3.7 GHz6MBRadeon 8 @ 1.2 GHz15W12nmZen+
Ryzen 3 3250C2 / 42.6 GHz / 3.5 GHz5MBRadeon 3 @ 1.2 GHz15W14nmZen
Athlon Gold 3150C2 / 42.4 GHz / 3.3 GHz5MBRadeon 3 @ 1.2 GHz15W14nmZen
Athlon Silver 3050C2 / 22.3 GHz / 3.2 GHz5MBRadeon 2 @ 1.2 GHz15W14nmZen
A6-9220C 2 / 21.8 GHz /2.7 GHz1MBRadeon R5 (3-cores  @720 MHz)6W28nmStoney Ridge
A4-9120C 2 / 21.6 GHz /2.4 GHz1MBRadeon R4 (3 cores @ 600 MHz)6W28nmStoney Ridge

 

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  1. CPUs should not be associated with operating systems or the sellers or promoters of operating systems in this way at all. What options are there for people who want to build their own systems with low-power, x86-compatible processors? It seems as though a budget computer either has to be built based on a mid-tower case or be a low-end computer like a Windows notebook or a Chromebook with limited or no options for (internal) expansion; anything in between?

    1. It’s pretty normal for Intel and AMD to have non-retail parts for large customers. The Xbox and PS4 APUs are not available for sale on the open market. These chromebook APUs appear to follow that too. These are pretty low performing parts, so paying a little more for another part with 2 to 3 times the performance and using it many years is a better value. I would never consider a system with these 4 year old tech parts.

    2. It’s actually quite common for cup makers to say they support x OS and x subsystems (direct X 11, open GL 3.1, etc.) Since they have to invest time developing drivers and working with the OS makers to make sure it works properly. It’s one reason for the fragmentation in android. Google develops the base, then gives it to cup makers to customize, then they give it to phone manufacturers and then they need to have it verified by carriers if it’s for carrier phones, etc. I actually read in an interview or article once that Qualcomm didn’t provide updated OS images for older/lower end chips unless their customers requested it because of the resources it required.

      You can still try to develop it yourself or put whatever OS you want, it’s just not guaranteed to work (one reason you see all those bugs/lacking features when someone retorts they got x OS working on x chip.

      Now remember that chrome guarantee like eight years of updates now. That’s longer than AMD normally shorts retail chips (it’s more in line with some of their industrial solutions).

      You can build your own system if you want using Renoir for example but it would have to be with Chromium OS and you’d have to deal with the bugs yourself because again, no official support. That’s what they mean.