Step aside, Samsung, there’s another ARM chip ready to power Chromebooks, and Nvidia(s nada) has it. The chip-maker’s silicon is powering new 13-inch Acer Chromebooks(s goog) with a starting price of $279. The product is almost a double jab at Samsung which, up to now, has supplied most of the processors in ARM-powered Chromebooks: Recent data suggests Acer has taken the overall Chromebook sales crown away from Samsung.
For $279, you’ll get a configuration akin to what Acer’s Intel-powered(s intc) Chromebooks offer today: a 1366 x 768 display, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal flash storage, along with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a trio of USB ports and one HDMI out port. Bump your budget up to $299 and that 720p display is replaced with a 1920 x 1080 panel. For $379, the full HD model gets double the memory and storage: 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage capacity. Choosing a 1080p display will hit your battery life though, dropping it from 13 hours to a tad over 11.
Inside all models, of course, is Nvidia’s fanlessTegra K1 processor, which boasts a 2.3 GHz clock speed and 192 graphics cores. Overkill for a Chromebook? I don’t think so. The ARM-powered Chrome OS devices have generally been a step or two behind competing devices that run on Intel’s Haswell line of chips.
Acer says you can pre-order the new Chromebooks starting today, with delivery some time in September. Depending on how good the Chrome OS performance is on Nvidia’s chip, it sounds as if Acer’s run to lead the Chromebook pack will continue, thanks to a new processor and multiple device options for different budgets and performance levels.