Just in case you haven’t caught up on our expanding YouTube content, Robby just mapped out what the next year will look like when it comes to new Chromebook releases and the landslide of CPU options that will be available. At the time of this publication, we are tracking no less than 70 new Chromebook baseboards. Most of which will eventually be fleshed out into real-world, marketable devices. Check out Robby’s video if you’d like to hear more about it.
Upcoming Chrome OS processors
While we get excited about every single new Chromebook that begins development, I am especially interested in seeing how Intel’s 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPUs with their Xe graphics perform on Chrome OS. It’s no secret the OEMs are already working on Tiger Lake Chromebooks. As a matter of fact, we first unearthed the first signs of the 11th Gen CPUs in the Chromium repository more than a year ago. Since that time, we have discovered nearly twenty unique devices being built on the Tiger Lake platform. One of which I strongly believe is an ASUS Chromebook. Again, none of this comes as a surprise. Every major Chromebook maker will likely launch different variations of the next generation chipset on the Chrome OS platform.
What I didn’t expect to see was a Tiger Lake Chromebook in development that was using anything other than the bare minimum from the new Core lineup from Intel. Chromebooks don’t need a ton of CPU power to run well and the current 10th generation Chromebooks are 100% content using CPUs like the entry-level Core i5-10210U. This processor is fanned on most devices and it is plenty powerful but it is just one step about the mobile Y-series models.
For this reason, I was taken aback when we received an email from a reader that pointed to a bug report that contained information about an unreleased Tiger Lake Chromebook that is codenamed ‘Voxel‘. Voxel happens to be one of the nineteen Volteer-based Tiger Lake devices that we are tracking. The bug report has little to do with the actual device but a dump log contained in the thread revealed device-specific information about the Chromebook that the developer was using and it is very telling.
First, we get a look at the exact CPU found in the ‘Voxel’ Chromebook. As you can see from the
cpuinfo file, this Chromebook isn’t just an 11th Gen Tiger Lake, it is using the same Core i7-1165G7 that powers recently released Windows machines such as the $1,500 ASUS ZenBook Flip S UX371.
- vendor_id : GenuineIntel
- cpu family : 6
- model : 140
- model name : 11th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-1165G7 @ 2.80GHz
This, in and of itself, is a pretty big deal because it opens the door to more powerful usage options for Chrome OS. The Xe graphics on these Tiger Lake CPUs are touted to handle heavy tasks such as video editing and even AAA gaming. The latter isn’t a big deal thanks to Stadia and other cloud gaming services. Video editing, however, has always been a hiccup for Chrome OS. There are a handful of web-based video editors that work quite well and are ample for the amateur videographer or startup content creator. For more professional editing, creators must look to Apple, Windows, or Linux and use products like Final Cut or Davinci Resolve. The Xe graphics could very well be capable of running the latter via the Linux container on Chrome OS and that is a huge deal. This would bridge one of the final software gaps that keep many users from fully adopting Chrome OS.
Now, on to the maker of this device. I’m not sure if the submitter of this bug report meant to share this specific information but his email account happens to be that of a Google corporate partner. That partner being Acer. I think that it is very clear that Acer is currently dogfooding its own Tiger Lake Chromebook and this developer has the Core i7 model in his possession. Digging into the debugging log from the bug report, I discovered that this particular device is equipped with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of NVMe storage which is fairly standard for a top-tier flagship Chromebook. I’m going to keep digging through these files to see what else there is to learn about ‘Voxel’ but I think it’s safe to say that Acer has a beast of a Chromebook in the works.
Source: CRBug Tracker via Jason S.