AMD appears to be gaining ground in a segment that's predominantly dominated by Intel. A user on Reddit (opens in new tab) recently discovered an AMD listing of a Lenovo Chromebook C330 device that employs one of the chipmaker's Ryzen APUs (opens in new tab). The listing has since been removed.
The Chromebook C330 isn't a new product. Lenovo revealed the convertible 2-in-1 Chromebook back in 2018. However, the laptop was previously available with a puny quad-core (opens in new tab) MediaTek MT8173C SoC (opens in new tab). The new Ryzen-powered model should bring stronger performance in both the processing and graphics departments.
The MT8173C is fabricated on the 28nm process node and binds two Cortex-A72 and two Cortex-A53 cores in a big.LITTLE setup. The version inside the Chromebook C330 tops out at 1.7 GHz.
On the other hand, the Ryzen 5 Pro 3500U (codename Picasso) is on a more recent 12nm process node. The four-core, eight-thread APU is based off AMD's Zen+ microarchitecture. It checks in with a 2.1 GHz base clock and 3.7 GHz boost clock inside a 15W package.
On the graphics end, the MT8173C comes with the PowerVR GX6250 iGPU, which has 64 FP32 ALUs with a maximum clock speed of 700 MHz. The Ryzen 5 Pro 3500U rocks eight Vega Compute Units (CUs) that scale up to 1,200 MHz.
What's perplexing, however, is the Chromebook is apparently using a last-gen APU. AMD has already unleashed the Ryzen 4000-series (opens in new tab) (codename Renoir) chips that not only employs the Zen 2 microarchitecture but also takes advantage of TSMC's 7nm FinFET manufacturing process.
Maybe AMD is trying to offload leftover inventory and offering Picasso at hard-to-ignore prices. In any case, the Ryzen 5 Pro 3500U is still a huge step up from the MT8173C.
AMD listed the Chromebook C330 with 4GB of RAM (opens in new tab) and 32GB of storage. If this AMD model takes after the original version, then we can expect Lenovo to be using LPDDR3-1866 and eMMC, respectively. On the storage end, 32GB isn't a lot to work with -- even on a Chromebook. We can only hope that AMD listed the base model, and there will other models with bigger storage or an option to add an SSD (opens in new tab).
The $303.99 price tag on the now-removed listing would make the AMD-powered Chromebook C330 extremely attractive, especially when the MediaTek model is selling for $299.99. In its defense, the latter does come with 64GB of storage.