Whenever new processors arrive, the narrative is always about what they’ll do for PCs or Macs. Rarely do we consider the impact on Chromebooks, which are becoming increasingly popular and capable. Reacting to the growth of Google’s desktop platform, chipmaker AMD announced today a series of powerful Ryzen 5000 C-series processors made exclusively for Chromebooks.
We’ve seen a handful of Chromebooks over the years running on A4 and A6-powered chips (and eventually Ryzen 3000), but they were woefully underpowered compared to their Intel counterparts. That, it should be stressed, was before AMD’s recent resurgence, which placed itself alongside, not behind, Team Blue. AMD saw massive gains with Zen 2 mobile architecture in 2019 and subsequently released Zen 3-based laptop processors at the start of last year.
Now Chromebooks get to enjoy the excellent performance of these latest engines. Signaling AMD’s renewed foray into the premium Chrome OS market, these Ryzen 5000 C-series processors match the ones released in AMD’s Barcelo: Zen 3 APU refresh earlier this year—not the latest Ryzen 6000-series processors. Before I break down each model, keep in mind that the 7-nanometer chips come with a 15W base power, making them equivalent to Intel’s U-series processors for ultra-slim systems.
The first eight-core, x86 CPU for Chromebooks arrives in the Ryzen 7 5825C with a max boost of 2.5GHz, 16 threads, and 20MB of L2/L3 cache. Dropping down a rung to the Ryzen 5 5625C gets you a 6-core, 12-thread chip with a max boost of up to 4.3GHz and 19MB of cache. On the low end are the Ryzen 3 5425C (4 cores/8 threads) and Ryzen 3 5125C (2 cores/4 threads), with max boosts of 4.1GHz and 3.0GHz, respectively.
With AMD leapfrogging a generation of chips, these upcoming Ryzen 5000 Chromebooks should deliver significantly faster performance than past models. AMD promises as much, claiming the Ryzen 7 5825C boasts 67% better performance than the Ryzen 7 3700C in the WEBXPRT 3 benchmark. The new chip topped the previous by 107% and 85% on Geekbench 5 and Motion Mark 1.2 (a graphics benchmark), respectively.
AMD wasn’t shy about comparing itself against its main rival, although the benchmarks it shared with us feature 11th Gen chips, not Intel’s latest 12th Gen processors. With that in mind, the Ryzen 7 5825C supposedly topped the Core i7-5825C by narrow margins in the web browsing and graphics benchmark and seemingly scored 25% higher on Geekbench 5. The largest gains, AMD claims, are with efficiency: the AMD-powered system supposedly achieved 94% longer runtimes in a synthetic benchmark.
AMD expects these processors to make their way primarily into premium laptops along with a few higher-end mainstream options. The first few models, the HP Elite C645 G2 and Acer Chromebook Spin 514, have slim designs, large displays, and decent specs—they are also available in “Enterprise” editions for small businesses. With only two Ryzen 5000 Chromebooks arriving at launch, AMD is off to a slow start; however, the tide may shift from blue to red if these systems can prove themselves.