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Drink up. Intel’s Whiskey Lake 8th-gen CPUs are coming to Chromebooks

Intel’s new-generation of U-series processors are making their way to Chromebooks in the near future, bringing native support for gigabit Wi-Fi and the option of LTE cellular data connectivity. As a result, Chrome OS devices that are configured with the new chips will be more connected than ever before. Thanks to low power requirements they could help extend the battery life of the lean notebooks as well.

Intel debuted its Whiskey Lake CPUs at the end of August, highlighting their improved connectivity, as well as the smart-assistant benefits of their companion Y-Series processors. It’s the U-Series though, with its wireless networking capabilities, that has been spotted in the Chromium repository, as per Chrome Unboxed.

The first Chromebook to sport the new CPUs is code-named “Sarien” and is said to be in the early stages of development, so it isn’t expected for some time. However, we can speculate about the kind of hardware it will contain. Although Chromebooks are typically leaner devices than their Windows counterparts, Google’s Pixelbook proved an exception there and the U-Series does have a couple of decently powerful options. Alongside the dual-core i3-8145U which turbos up to 3.9GHz, there is also the option of a quad-core i5-8265U which supports hyperthreading for up to eight simultaneous threads.

If Sarien proves to be a high-end Chromebook, the developers could always fit it with a Core i7-8565U. That chip sports four cores and eight threads, and can be clocked up to 4.6GHz — though that seems a little unlikely for a Chromebook as the chip is expensive at more than $400. Its thermal design power requirements can reach 25w, too, which isn’t ideal for a small-form-factor laptop.

Chrome Unboxed expects we won’t see the new, Whiskey Lake-powered Chromebook until the second quarter of 2019 at the earliest, but it does highlight how encouraging this is. Chromebooks are being made with brand-new hardware and that’s promising for anyone considering one for their next laptop upgrade. They can enjoy the benefits of the latest and greatest and still use the lean Chrome OS platform.

If you can’t wait and just want a great Chromebook right now, check out our breakdown of the best Chromebooks of 2018.

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Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
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