It has been a little over a year since AMD officially made its debut on Chrome OS hardware. While the low-powered Stoney Ridge A4 and A6 APUs have found their home in EDU and budget devices, we’ve been holding out hope that AMD would bring a more-powerful option to the party. For some time, we have been tracking the development of what appears to be the Picasso family of APUs from AMD. Now, we are getting our first look at benchmarks of those APUs and it looks like our wait will soon be over for a true competitor for the Intel Core devices that dominate the current Chrome OS market.
A recent report from Tom’s Hardware has uncovered Geekbench scores for two variants of the upcoming AMD Chromebook codenamed ‘Zork’. Like the previous AMD devices, it appears that there will be two different APUs in this new lineup and their model numbers end with a “C” which is precisely how AMD branded its last Chromebook-specific chipsets. The two APUs, Ryzen 7 3700C and Ryzen 3 3250C, are quad-core and dual-core respectively. and feature multithreading which splits each core into two virtual cores for improved performance in certain instances.
Based on the unearthed benchmarks, the lesser APU should come in as a good rival for Intel Pentium and even Celeron U devices but I’m most interested in the 4-core Ryzen 7 3700C. A quick search of Geekbench for the recently launched ASUS Chromebook C436 reveals some very interesting numbers when you place them next to the Ryzen APU.
As reported by many a tech site, AMD’s single-core scores are slightly less than the comparable Intel CPU but when you get into multi-core, it’s a completely different story. We’ve had the Core i3 ASUS around the office for a bit now and I can tell you, it’s no chump. The 10th gen Comet lake U-series processor chews through anything and everything I can throw at it. In theory, the AMD should do the very same and it comes with some possible advantages. First, price. Apples to apples, mid-range AMD APUs are generally more cost-effective than comparable Intel CPUs.
Next, you have twice the cores on the AMD which should result in a significant performance boost over the dual-core Intel CPU. Then, you have the graphics. We’re still waiting for a dGPU or external GPU support to find its way to Chrome OS but AMD’s Radeon Vega Mobile Gfx should, based on previous chip comparisons, destroy Intel’s UHD integrated graphics. This packages, if we’re lucky, will open the door to more budget-friendly “flagship” caliber devices when the AMD devices hit the market. The surfaced benchmarks don’t give us any real idea of when we’ll see these Chromebooks but it’s a good indicator that developers are in the final leg of development and testing them for real-world use.