AMD earlier announced the Ryzen 5000 C-Series processors, which bring AMD’s Chromebook CPU family up to date with the Zen 3 architecture and 7nm technology. The four new 15W CPUs have up to eight x86 cores and the Radeon RX Vega graphics engine with up to eight GPU cores, which is a first for Chromebooks.
Despite a performance priority for what have typically been low-power Chromebooks, AMD says that its chips give nearly twice the battery life of Intel’s Tiger Lake models.
The 5000 C-Series chips will address a new higher-tier class of Chromebooks with the most high-end features, such as premium screens and designs, while AMD’s existing 3000 C-Series chips will continue to address mainstream and entry-level tiers.
AMD’s initial entry into Chromebook-specific CPUs was in 2020 with the Ryzen and Athlon 3000 C-Series processors, which used the first-generation Zen architecture and a 14nm technology, thus the move to Zen 3 and 7nm signifies a significant improvement in terms of performance, power consumption, and efficiency.
AMD’s 15W Ryzen 5000 C-Series is a rebranded copy of the company’s existing Ryzen 5000 U-series
The Chromebook-optimized variations and their U-series siblings have small clock rate variances, with 100 MHz higher CPU boost frequencies swapped for a 100 to 200 MHz reduction in peak GPU clock rates. The Ryzen 3 5125C, on the other hand, is an outlier, as there doesn’t appear to be a dual-core quad-thread counterpart in the existing Ryzen 5000 U-series portfolio.
Naturally, the increase to eight cores will significantly enhance performance in threaded operations, while the IPC gains in Zen 3 will give it a leg up over AMD’s Ryzen and Athlon 3000 C-Series CPUs in single-threaded tasks. The Radeon RX Vega graphics engine also boasts the same 7nm optimizations as the laptop processors, so it will give significant performance improvements over the 3000C’s older 14nm Vega.
AMD claims that the Ryzen 7 5825C outperforms its own Ryzen 7 3700C in the web browser Webxrt 3 benchmark, which is indicative of single-threaded performance trends. In the Geekbench 5 multi-threaded test, AMD claims a 107 percent gain, although this benchmark isn’t predictive of performance in real-world multi-threaded workloads, so take it with a grain of salt. Finally, considering that most Chromebook games will be played in the browser, AMD claims an 85 percent boost in the web browser-based Motion Mark benchmark.
Safe boot, AMD secure processor, and compatibility for Google’s TPM management are among the security features included in AMD’s Ryzen 5000 C-Series.
The 14-inch clamshell HP Elite C645 G2, which goes on sale today, is an example of the higher-end options allowed by AMD’s new CPUs, while the Acer Chromebook Spin 514, which was also introduced today, is a premium 14-inch 2-in-1 convertible. Both are equipped with AMD’s flagship Ryzen 7 5825C processor.
As the worst of the lockdowns fade in most regions, Chromebook sales have dropped by 69 percent year over year (according to IDC), but AMD’s decision to enable a higher-tier Chromebook could be profitable moving forward — extracting more margin from what has traditionally been a low-margin segment makes plenty of business sense.
Over the next year, these higher-end CPUs will be required to compete with Intel’s x86 Alder Lake-N chips, as well as Qualcomm and Mediatek’s Arm competitors.