On this week’s episode of The Chrome Cast, we discussed the very good possibility that Chromebooks could soon feature discrete GPUs. Robby uncovered a new device in development that clearly references a dGPU and that led us to throw out some theory about Chrome OS and the ability to utilize external GPUs. Check it out if you have time, we had a blast and we really enjoy making the podcast each week.
Anyway, on to the matter at hand. While we wait for discrete graphics and external GPU options, AMD may be giving us a better option than the UHD 6xx graphics that come standard on Intel’s Core processors used in Chromebooks. We already have AMD Chromebooks but honestly, they were a bit of a letdown when we first got our hands on one. Don’t get me wrong, for a budget device, they’re just fine. When compared to comparable Intel devices, it’s pretty much apples to apples. What we’ve been anxiously awaiting is the more-powerful “Picasso” APUs from AMD to hit the Chrome OS market.
We’ve been tracking three devices that use AMD’s 12nm Ryzen 3000 series APUs that feature Vega 8 graphics and today, we add a fourth to the list. Copied from the ‘Trembyle’ board, ‘Morphius’ has been in development for the better part of two months but the past week has seen a major boost in the attention given to the AMD Chromebook. Based on the config files of ‘Morphius’, we could be looking at a convertible device but the finer details are still a bit scarce at the moment. The exciting part about this device is that it appears that manufacturers and AMD are still committed to Chrome OS despite the lack-luster reception of the first generation of AMD Chromebooks.
Head to head with Intel’s integrated graphics, the Vega 8 graphics in the AMD APUs should produce a significantly better performance experience. That said, these devices aren’t going to have the horsepower to run intensive editing software on Linux but they will likely be a great option for users wanting to use Chromebooks for things like Stadia, online video editors like WeVideo and moderately robust Linux applications. Until we see these in the flesh, it’s anybody’s guess which market these will be aimed at. The previous AMD Chromebooks are probably most suited for the EDU sector but I could see these new Picasso-based devices finding a place in the mid-range consumer market among devices like the HP Chromebook x360 14. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too much longer.
Source: Chromium Repository