The rumor mill is gradually spooling up with the idea that AMD hardware could soon find its way inside a Chromebook. While we don’t have any solid proof, the evidence is mounting, which could lead to not only better choices for consumers in that budget laptop space but also increased competition for existing manufacturers.
Although it seems like only yesterday that AMD’s Chief Technical Officer Mark Papermaster said Chromebooks were not a good fit for its chips, several interesting mentions of AMD have been spotted in the Chromium repositories over the past five months. First, there was an AMD-Powered board codenamed “Jadeite” and in March another, called “Kahlee,” appeared, according to Liliputing.
While we have not heard much more about that former entry, the latter has made another appearance, this time in the Corebook code review (via Phoronix). That particular machine is said to come with two M.2 storage slots, but more crucially, an AMD Stoney Ridge processor.
Don’t get too excited Ryzen fans, this isn’t a new, top-of-the-line AMD processor but one of its APUs: A combo chip that packs both a CPU and decent graphics chip on the same die. It would be unrealistic to expect a Ryzen CPU to make an appearance in a Chromebook now, not only because of cost but because AMD has only released desktop variants of that design so far.
However, if indeed the door has been opened into the Chromebook space for AMD, we could well see other variants of it in the future. It could be interesting to see how the Chrome OS would perform on AMD hardware and how Intel and ARM may respond to the new competitor in their mobile midst.
While those other two firms have strong presences in the mobile computing game, AMD has a firm stake there too and has typically provided strong graphical support with onboard hardware. It could be that AMD’s entry into the Chromebook market brings greater graphical performance, or at least greater graphical competition in the low-cost, alternative OS laptop game.