Aiming for the more upscale, higher-powered Chromebook user — people buying the class of models currently using Intel Celeron and Core processors, like those needed for remote learning and working from home — AMD is adding new Ryzen and Athlon 3000 C-series Chromebook-specific CPUs to join its existing, entry-priced A series.
Though Chromebooks generally don’t require as much processing power as Windows laptops (or MacBooks), they will if you want them to start driving displays and video playback beyond 1,920 x 1,080, behave better with interactive graphics, run web-based applications for more-than-basic schooling for older students or work or other processing-intensive tasks Chromebooks have traditionally not be asked to do.
By the end of 2020, AMD says we’ll see midrange and premium models from Lenovo, Asus, HP and others incorporating the 3000 C-series CPUs. The company didn’t say what the price ranges would be, but those segments are usually about $500 and up.
The 3000 C series is identical to the 3000 U-series laptop processors launched in 2019, with the 12 and 14nm Zen Plus architecture rather than the more recent 7nm. It’s strictly labeled “C” for marketing purposes, so that there’s no confusion about it being a Chromebook, something AMD is quite forthcoming about. Or, possibly to keep people from using the processor in Chromebooks masquerading as dirt-cheap Windows laptops.
This marks the first time AMD has offered a Ryzen processor — its Intel Core competitor — for Chromebooks, topped by the quad-core Ryzen 7 3700C, with 10-core Radeon Vega internal graphics.