It was only a matter of time. With the oncoming arrival of Steam games on Chromebooks, we knew that we’d see at least a few ChromeOS devices show up not just with a gaming aesthetic, but with the internals to back up that look as well. While we felt 100% sure of this future, we’d not had any firm evidence of it up until now, and this latest discovery makes it very clear that a gamer-focused Chromebook is in the works with a dedicated Nvidia GPU.
‘Agah’ – 12th-gen Intel with Nvidia GPU
Say hello to ‘Agah’, a Chromebook in the works with not only Intel’s powerful 12th-gen Alder Lake CPU, but an Nvidia GPU as well. First up, we know ‘Agah’ is based on 12th-gen Intel processors simply because of its ties to ‘Brya’ – the development board for all 12th-gen Intel Chromebooks. Interestingly enough, ‘Agah’ actually got its start as another development board: ‘Draco’. Since that inception, however, the board has been renamed, perhaps due to a change of course for what ‘Draco’ was to become.
That name ‘Draco’ tells us a bit about this upcoming Chromebook, but we’ll circle back to that at the end. First, let’s focus in on the Nvidia portion of this equation. We’ve not seen much reference to Nvidia in Chromebooks up to this point apart from some news that MediaTek and Nvidia working together on a project down the road with the Kompanio 1380 SoC. That was all the way back in April of 2021 and though we’ve now seen the release of the first Kompanio 1380-powered Chromebook (the Acer Spin 513), there’s not been much motion on the Nvidia part of that partnership.
This is the first reference to Nvidia and Intel teaming up, and it isn’t just some random announcement made at a trade show: this is ongoing work happening right now in the Chromium Repositories. Work began on ‘Agah’ in January with hints at changes to the dGPU in March and more GPU work being done in just the past week. With this time frame, there’s a chance we could see ‘Agah’ by the end of the year, but I wouldn’t count on it. I’d imagine this Chromebook’s availability will coincide with the official launch of Steam on Chromebooks (we’re currently in Alpha stages), and we don’t expect that before 2023.
It looks like HP is involved
Finally, circling back to the initial ‘Draco’ name for this board, we can learn a few things about ‘Agah’ from its name before the change. As we uncovered back in December of 2021, there are some pretty heavy ties to HP in the commits for ‘Draco’. From email addresses on commits to battery manufacturers, it looks likely that HP was first behind ‘Draco’ and is likely now in the mix with ‘Agah.’
While we know for sure that ‘Agah’ is packing 12th-gen Intel processors and Nvida’s GPU, the certainty of HP’s involvement isn’t as rock-solid. I’m still leaning that way, however, and it would be pretty amazing for HP to announce an Omen Chromebook at CES 2023 to align with the arrival of Steam on ChromeOS. With this sort of hardware, serious gaming will be possible. With a Chromebook. We’ve already shown how good Steam games made for Windows run on Linux via Valve’s Proton translation layer, so once Steam on Chromebooks is cleaned up a bit, it should be able to fully leverage the hardware we’re seeing in the works for ‘Agah’, and that is an exciting development!