Hard to believe but it has been nearly two years since the first AMD Chromebooks made their debut at CES in Las Vegas. It seems like only yesterday that we were talking about the fact that it was time for AMD to enter the Chromebook space but when they did, it was, unfortunately, underwhelming. Our hope was that AMD would come out swinging with APUs that would go toe-to-toe with the latest Core-i CPUs from Intel. The thought of an AMD APU with its superior onboard graphics was tantalizing and I really expected it to be a turning point for Chrome OS that was just starting to come into its own. Sadly, the A-series chips from AMD were aimed directly at the EDU market and budget-friendly devices that offered little in the way of innovation or specs. As disappointing as it was, the first generation of AMD Chromebooks found their place and created a more competitive market by offering more affordability than their Intel counterparts.
Since that time, we have been steadily tracking a new generation of AMD processors. As they evolved, the AMD “C-Series” APUs have shaped up to be serious alternatives to Intel’s Core CPUs found in the latest Comet Lake Chromebooks. Recent benchmarks for the AMD Ryzen 3700C put up nearly identical scores as that of the 10th Gen Core i7-10510U CPU from Intel. That’s a very impressive jump from the first iteration of AMD Chrome OS devices. While we’ll have to wait for real-world performance tests, we do know that another advantage of AMD’s chips is the price. Compare the retail costs between a Comet Lake Core i-7 and the AMD 3700X and you’ll see a price difference of over $100 in favor of AMD. That should result in competitive performance at a significantly reduced price for buyers. That said, HP has officially announced the first-ever Chromebook built with the Chromebook-specific AMD C-series processors.
HP Pro c645 Chromebook
At first glance, this Chromebook may look familiar to some of you. That’s because it is identical to the recently release HP Pro c640 that is built on the Comet Lake platform. The Pro c645 brings all the premium bits and pieces but replaces Intel with a variety of AMD processors that range from the Athlon Silver 3050C to the Ryzen 3700C. Like the c640, the Pro c645 offers up to 16GB of RAM, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.
HP has opted to sell the new Chromebook as an enterprise and retail device. The only real difference being that the former ships with the Chrome Enterprise Upgrade. Pricing has not been released, yet but the models are slated to be available in December. The HP Pro c645 Chromebook is equipped with an optional fingerprint sensor, backlit keyboard, and a privacy shade for the webcam. These features are aimed squarely at the growing market of enterprise and work from home consumers. Around the outside, you’ll find 2 USB-C, 2 USB-A, a MicroSD slot, an HDMI port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Again, it is literally the exact same chassis as the c640 but powered by AMD. You’ll also get a variety of rugged specs with a spill-resistant keyboard and shock-resistance. Here’s a rundown of all the specs offered by the HP Pro c645 Chromebook and Chromebook Enterprise.
- Chrome OS
- AMD Athlon Silver 3050C, AMD Athlon Gold 3150C, AMD Ryzen 3 3250C, AMD Ryzen 5 3500C, AMD Ryzen 7 3700C
- Integrated AMD Radeon™ graphics
- Up to 16GB RAM
- 32GB/64GB eMMC or 128GB PCIe NVMe storage
- Optional Backlit Keyboard, full-size, spill-resistant
- 14″ Diagonal HD AG (1366 x 768) Narrow Bezel, 14″ Diagonal FHD IPS (1920 x 1080) Narrow Bezel (Optional Touch on HD and FHD)
- Intel 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 with BT 5.0
- Titan C chip, Optional Fingerprint Sensor, Security lock slot, HP Privacy Camera
- HD camera with dual mic, and Google Assistant
- 2 USB SuperSpeed Type-C 5Gbps signaling rate USB Power Delivery, DisplayPort
- 2 SuperSpeed USB Type-A 5Gbps signaling rate
- 1 headphone/microphone combo
- 1 HDMI 1.4
- 1 microSD
- Nano Kensington Security Lock Slot
- Optional Chrome Enterprise Upgrade
We have high hopes for this device and even higher hopes for the new C-series processors from AMD. As soon as we are able, we’ll get one of these in the office and see just how well AMD stands up to Intel’s Comet Lake family. Exciting times for Chrome OS. With Intel’s Tiger Lake looming on the horizon, who knows what the next generation of Chromebooks will be capable of doing. We can’t wait. You can sign up for notifications about the HP Pro c645 Chromebook here.