We’ve talked about this before, but there was a time not that long ago when Chromebooks were developed and built on SoCs (system on a chip) that were already on the way out for Windows laptops and Macbooks. Over time, Chromebooks started getting closer to launching with the latest chips from Intel, but it took some time. It wasn’t until 10th-gen Intel devices began popping up that we saw some parity between Windows laptops and Chromebooks in terms of release cycles that line up with Intel’s latest chips.
The pattern continued with 11th-gen Tiger Lake chips, seeing Chromebooks begin development with these Intel SoCs way before Intel actually launched the actual chip and we’re now bearing witness to Chromebooks releasing with 11th-gen chips right alongside their Windows counterparts. We’ve already uncovered a few 12th-gen Alder Lake Chromebooks in development and that generation of chips is still under wraps with no laptops currently available with Intel’s latest and greatest inside.
Say hello to Meteor Lake Chromebooks
Just the other day, we stumbled across a commit for a new development board by the name of ‘Rex’ in the Chromium Repositories, and after just a bit of looking, this board will likely be the torch bearer for upcoming Chromebooks that will eventually be based on the newest 14th-gen Intel Meteor Lake processors.
Obviously, the first thing I did when seeing this was look up what exactly Intel Meteor Lake actually is. After all, Intel’s naming schemes are confusing enough and that’s to say nothing about the tech they are beginning to employ in their latest processors. Between the 7nm process, Intel’s tile designs, Foveros 3D packaging, and processing nodes that can be mixed and matched, what Intel is currently doing from a processor standpoint is quite a bit over my head. I’d wager that’s the case for many of you, too.
One part of the Meteor Lake spec sheet that I do understand is execution units (EUs) for the GPU. Though Intel made big strides in the integrated GPU for 11th-gen Tiger Lake Chromebooks, that has only continued to get better. These new Meteor Lake chips will take the max 96 EUs in current Intel GPUs and move the max up to 192 EUs. That’s a massive bump in raw GPU power, so the outcome of that change should mean a much more powerful SoC overall when these chips do come to Chrome OS.
What’s really wild is the fact that Meteor Lake isn’t even due until the first half of 2023, so we won’t see any of these devices this year, at the next CES, or anytime next year, either. Best case, we’d expect to see devices with this chipset inside at CES 2023. And while that is a long way off, it is incredible to see Chromebooks right on the bleeding edge with Windows laptops, getting included in the early stages with Intel’s latest chips. It simply further confirms the fact that Chromebooks are not just a side act of the larger laptop show: they are front and center, now.