Earlier this year, AMD made a strong entry into the Chrome OS market, starting with affordable models from HP and Acer. Now it seems AMD has their sights set on further competing with Intel by bringing their more powerful Ryzen processors to upcoming Chromebooks.

While affordable devices are still the best way into the Chromebook market, Chrome OS has been slowly becoming more and more capable. It’s now possible to do real development work (including Android app development) from a Chromebook, but this workload demands better hardware.

The next generation of AMD Chromebooks, as spotted by About Chromebooks, is ready to provide. Under the codename “Zork,” AMD is hard at work preparing their latest generation of Ryzen processors, “Picasso” (successor to Raven Ridge), for Chrome OS use.

AMD’s Ryzen laptop processors are directly competitive with processors from Intel, such as the i5-8250U found in the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook and Acer Chromebook Spin 13. And if the trend set by the initial AMD Chromebooks continues, the Ryzen models may actually be somewhat more affordable than comparable Intel Chromebooks.

One of the most exciting aspects of this development is that AMD still has the one-up on Intel in the graphics department. Each Ryzen laptop processor comes equipped with a Radeon Vega GPU, which should be more than enough for some low-end gaming.

While gaming on Chromebooks (outside of Stadia) is for now very limited, Google has been hard at work getting hardware graphics acceleration up and running for its Linux apps support. Having an AMD Radeon graphics chip will surely be a boon to future Chromebooks.

As work is only just beginning for supporting the Ryzen chips, and no OEM partners have been spotted working with Zork yet, we’re not likely to see this next generation of AMD Chromebooks until sometime next year at the earliest.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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