Have you ever used a Chromebook with an AMD processor? I have, but I’m in the minority there – most Chrome-powered laptops are powered by Intel CPUs.
In fact, if you take a look at our list of the best Chromebooks, you won’t see a single AMD chip to be found; the processors are all either Intel or Qualcomm, and if you go hunting for a super-budget Chromebook, you’ll likely find some MediaTek models out there. But that could all be about to change…
According to a tweet from known hardware leaker @OreXda, AMD has signed on with Samsung to use the Seoul-based tech giant’s foundries for manufacturing 4nm processors – though the leaker says nothing about what these new mystery chips could be used for.
AMD signed to use Samsung Foundry 4nm pic.twitter.com/FuWFJLpvjYMay 1, 2023
However, we can draw some conclusions here. We already know that the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s biggest manufacturer of processor semiconductors, is practically at capacity for its hotly in-demand 4nm process. Reports have suggested that Samsung has been pumping up its own 4nm production and expanding its facility in Texas.
With that in mind, it looks like AMD might be looking to Samsung to ensure there aren’t delays in putting out its new chips – such as the exciting new ‘Phoenix’ APUs, or the Z1-series chips that will power the gaming handhelds of the future like the upcoming Asus ROG Ally. But there’s one area I’m most excited about – and as you’ve probably already guessed, it’s Chromebook processors.
All Chromed up
All the way back in 2021, Samsung’s plans indicated that it was potentially gearing up to start producing new 4nm chips for Chromebooks. It was unclear exactly who was going to be making those orders, but AMD’s name was bandied about at the time – and now it looks like that could indeed be the case.
I’ve got to say, I’m intrigued. AMD has been doing impressive stuff with its APUs in recent months – not least the Z1 Extreme chip, which should be able to offer pretty incredible performance.
Sure, that processor is earmarked for PC gaming handhelds, but surely that level of performance can be adapted for next-gen Chromebooks? A big problem with the Chromebooks of today is that they’re frequently dependent on lower-powered SoCs that don’t have the grunt to properly compete with the best Windows laptops.
I love Chrome OS. It’s great! Windows is cool and everything, but sometimes I really do enjoy the straightforward simplicity of Google’s signature operating system. But opting for a Chromebook can mean limiting your capabilities when it comes to the work you do – but with powerful new chips from AMD, that could become a thing of the past.
It makes sense. After all, Samsung already has its own Chromebooks. If AMD can partner up with Samsung to deliver a bulk of new processors for the Chrome laptops of the future, Intel could be in trouble – though Team Blue hasn’t been sitting on its haunches. Intel’s next-gen chips will apparently bring incredible laptop performance to the playing field, so I really do hope AMD has something impressive up its sleeve.