Acer has a new Chromebook to show at CES, and this addition to the company's 15-inch line has something all-new under the hood — an AMD APU.

The new Chromebook 315 will be the first Chromebook to use AMD's newest A-series of mobile chips, which are designed to use less power while still delivering the performance you expect to see from a premium laptop. Coupled with Acer's good looks and quality materials, premium features like a backlit keyboard and up to 8GB of memory, and a very friendly operating system in Chrome OS. This is a product to get excited about.

AMD power

Acer makes Chromebooks that look good and feel solid. The company has long dominated the larger 15-inch Chromebook market because of well-built models that have a great display and a palatable price tag. But AMD brings something all-new and potentially groundbreaking to the table when it comes to Chromebooks.

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The Chromebook 315 will come in two flavors; one without a touch display and an AMD A4-9120C APU, and a fully touch-enabled model with an AMD A6-9220C APU. The term APU stands for Advanced Processing Unit and is a brand-specific marketing term for a chip that includes a central processing unit and a graphics processing unit on a single die. Unlike other chips we see that include a CPU with integrated GPU, like Intel's models, AMD's APUs also offer what's known as Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA).

HSA is a set of specifications that allow the CPU and a GPU to reside on the same bus and share memory and a task queue. That equates to more streamlined processing, faster computations, and less power used — exactly what you want to see in a device that is powered by a battery. Which is why the SoC (System on a Chip) inside your phone works exactly the same way.

You're already familiar with an APU, even if you didn't know it. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One both use a custom APU in order to get quality graphics and relatively fast compute time from a very inexpensive chip. And if you happen to have spent any time with the ill-fated SteamBox you know an AMD APU can get the job done when and where it counts.

The specs of the touch-enabled Chromebox 315-2HT:

Category Spec
Operating system Chrome OS
Display 15.6-inch Acer CineCrystal LED-backlit TFT LCD
1920x1080 resolution
170 degrees viewing angle
APU 7th Generation AMD A-Series dual-core A6-9220C
1.8GHz with Turbo Core Technology up to 2.7GHz
1MB L2 cache
AMD Radeon R5 Graphics
H.265 4K decode, H264 1080p60 encode
OpenCL 2.0
OpenGL 4.4
Microsoft DirectX 12
Memory 4GB or 8GB dual-channel DDR4 SDRAM
Storage 32GB or 64GB
Connectivity 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Dual-channel 2.4GHz and 5GHz support
Bluetooth 4.2
Security Discrete H1 TPM for Chromebooks
Camera 720p video recording with HDR
88-degree wide angle lens
includes support for Android Runtime for Chrome
Audio HD-audio support
Two upwards firing stereo speakers
built-in microphone
3.5 combo jack
Keyboard 74/75/78 key Acer FineTip backlit keyboard
(key count varies by language support)
Trackpad Fully clickable with gesture support
Ports 2 USB 3.0 ports
microSD card reader
2 USB Type C 3.1 ports
DisplayPort over USB-C
Battery 54Wh (4670mAh)
USB PD charging plus DC input port (20 volt)
Dimensions 14.98 x 10.09 x 0.79 inches
Weight 3.97 lbs

Acer intends to bring the Chromebook 315 worldwide, with an expected February release in North America starting at $279. Models for EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Asia) are expected in April starting at €349. Should the AMD APU prove to be as capable with Chrome as it is for other operating systems, this might be the start of something very big.

See at Acer

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