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.
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.
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:
|Operating system||Chrome OS|
|Display||15.6-inch Acer CineCrystal LED-backlit TFT LCD
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
Microsoft DirectX 12
|Memory||4GB or 8GB dual-channel DDR4 SDRAM|
|Storage||32GB or 64GB|
Dual-channel 2.4GHz and 5GHz support
|Security||Discrete H1 TPM for Chromebooks|
|Camera||720p video recording with HDR
88-degree wide angle lens
includes support for Android Runtime for Chrome
Two upwards firing stereo speakers
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
USB PD charging plus DC input port (20 volt)
|Dimensions||14.98 x 10.09 x 0.79 inches|
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.
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