The latest Chromebooks powered by AMD’s Ryzen C-series APUs offer up capable alternatives to Intel-powered devices and who doesn’t love options. That said, our initial hands-on with a couple of Ryzen 5 Chromebooks give us the indication that Intel’s Comet Lake CPUs are still the king of the hill when it comes to raw horsepower but that’s okay. If Chromebook manufacturers can offer the same great features and built quality but swap out an Intel for an AMD and it saves consumers a substantial amount of money, it’s a win.
Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re going to see those massive price differences between AMD and Intel-powered devices and a new listing from Best Buy reinforces my theory. We recently took Acer’s new Chromebook Spin 514 for a test drive and though it may be a well-built machine with suitable power, it didn’t wow me any more than devices like the Spin 713 or even the Lenovo Flex 5. The model we tested was the Ryzen 5 with 8GB of RAM and yes, it’s powerful enough for enterprise users but it didn’t perform as well as Intel’s 10th gen Core i5 and that’s a problem because I almost guarantee the 514 we tried is going to be price above the Spin 713.
Anyway, back to the Best Buy listing. This morning, Best Buy added a coming soon listing for the Ryzen 3 Acer Chromebook Spin 514. It comes with a puny 4GB of RAM and a mere 64GB of storage. Now, I know that this is enough for casual users that simply surf the web, check their bank account and watch YouTube but let’s take a look at the price. The model listed on Best Buy at the moment has an MSRP of $479.99. That’s a decent chunk of change less than the Spin 713 but at the same time, there’s a lot of compromise going on here.
First, let’s talk about those processors. Benchmark scores aren’t everything but they do give us a good gauge of what to expect from a device. The Ryzen 3 from AMD is no slouch and it even hangs very close to the 10th gen Core i5 when it comes to single-core scores. Problem is, the AMD has two cores and four threads. The Intel is rocking four cores and eight threads. As a result, the Intel CPU more than doubles multi-core speeds in Geekbench 4 tests.
Next, this particular model on offer at Best Buy only sports 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. Now, we have argued that most users won’t notice any difference between eMMC and the NVMe offered by Acer’s Spin 713. Still, the Spin 713’s storage is faster and it comes with 128GB of it. Just saying. The RAM, however, is a big deal. Premium-ish Chromebooks should have 8GB of RAM. I get that this is likely the middle tier of the low end for this device but remember, it is priced at nearly $500. For that price, you can get a Core i3 Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 with 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and some accessories right now on Amazon.
Aside from that, the Spin 713 has that 3:2 display that’s quite bright and super crispy. The 514 isn’t a bad display but it is 16:9 and it doesn’t have the pop you find on the Spin 713. You will get a backlit keyboard and USI-compatibility with either Chromebook but the AMD-powered 514 is a hard sell in my opinion when you can frequently pick up the Spin 713 or HP x360 14c for as little at $529. Even at the retail price of $629, I’d have to recommend the Spin 713 over this 14″ AMD model from Acer. Hopefully, when the beefier models arrive, they’ll be more in line with the prices we’re seeing from Lenovo’s discounted ThinkPad C13 Yoga. For now, I’m going to have to take a hard pass on the consumer model Acer Chromebook Spin 514. Regardless, the Ryzen 3 version of this Chromebook is slated to launch on March 21 at Best Buy and you can check out the details below.