Today Acer announced four new models of a new 13.3" Chromebook design featuring Tegra K1. This is a significant launch for NVIDIA, proving there's industry interest in Tegra K1 after the disappointing interest in Tegra 4 and notching NVIDIA their first Chromebook design win.

NVIDIA has two versions of the Tegra K1, one implementing a 4+1 configuration of ARM Cortex A15s, and another implementing two custom designed NVIDIA Denver CPUs. Acer's new Chomebooks feature the former, so we have yet to see Denver CPUs in the wild. Samsung previously shipped a Chromebook featuring Cortex A15s via its Exynos processor and HP used the same SoC in their Chromebook 11. Samsung has since refreshed their ARM Chromebooks a few times, with new models using the "Chromebook 2" branding.

The most significant portion of the Tegra K1 SoC is its 192 CUDA cores. Chromebook relies heavily on web based applications, but with the rise of WebGL there have been some experiments with browser based 3D games. There haven't been any AAA title WebGL games yet, but when they arrive, this Chromebook should be well equipped to handle them; NVIDIA specifically mentions the upcoming Miss Take and Oort Online, as well as WebGL ports of Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5.

NVIDIA claims up to 3X the WebGL performance of competing Chromebooks, with processor performance superior to the Exynos 5800 and Bay Trail Celeron N2830. Unfortunately, no performance comparisons between K1 and the Haswell Celeron 2955U were provided. Since both Haswell and Tegra K1 are available for the Chromebook platform, we'll also have the opportunity to perform CPU and GPU benchmarking to directly compare the processors. We have requested a review sample when Acer makes them available.

Beyond the marquee feature of the Tegra K1 processor, the Acer Chromebook also includes 2x2 MIMO wireless AC, an anti-glare coating, and two models feature a 1080p display. Specifications provided by Acer are listed below; Acer provided the model numbers for the three available for presale, and there is a fourth configuration available through resellers where we do not yet have the model number. Acer states they will begin shipping the first week of September.

Acer Chromebook 13 Models
Model CB5-311-T7NN CB5-311-T9B0 ? CB5-311-T1UU
SoC NVIDIA Tegra K1 (2.1GHz) NVIDIA Tegra K1 (2.1GHz) NVIDIA Tegra K1 (2.1GHz) NVIDIA Tegra K1 (2.1GHz)
Memory 2GB 2GB 4GB 4GB
Storage 16GB SSD 16GB SSD 16GB SSD 32GB SSD
Display 1366x768
Anti Glare
1920x1080
Anti Glare
1366x768
Anti Glare
1920x1080
Anti Glare
Manufacturer Estimated Battery Life 13 hours 11 Hours 13 hours 11 Hours
Battery Size 4-cell 3220mAh 48Wh 4-cell 3220mAh 48Wh 4-cell 3220mAh 48Wh 4-cell 3220mAh 48Wh
Networking 802.11ac
2x2 MIMO
802.11ac
2x2 MIMO
802.11ac
2x2 MIMO
802.11ac
2x2 MIMO
Ports 2x USB 3.0
HDMI
3.5mm Audio
2x USB 3.0
HDMI
3.5mm Audio
2x USB 3.0
HDMI
3.5mm Audio
2x USB 3.0
HDMI
3.5mm Audio
Extras 720p Webcam
Stero Speakers
Microphone
720p Webcam
Stero Speakers
Microphone
720p Webcam
Stero Speakers
Microphone
720p Webcam
Stero Speakers
Microphone
Thickness 0.71 in 0.71 in 0.71 in 0.71 in
Weight 3.31 lbs 3.31 lbs 3.31 lbs 3.31 lbs
Price $279.99 $299.99 $329.99 $379.99

Source: Acer

The higher resolution displays drop battery life a couple hours, which isn't too surprising, but overall battery life of 11-13 hours is still great for a Chromebook. The industrial design of the new Acer Chromebooks is also much better than on the previous models, with clean lines and a white body. The Acer Chromebook is also fanless, thanks to reduced power requirements for NVIDIA's Tegra K1 SoC.

Overall pricing looks good, with the base model matching the price of HP's current Chromebook 11 and the 1080p upgrade taking on the HP Chromebook 14. But the real competition is still going to be with Acer's existing Chromebook C720, which can be found with 32GB storage and 2GB RAM and a Celeron 2955U for just $229. There's also the question of size; the C720 was an 11.6" Chromebook, and while some might prefer a smaller device the 13.3" will likely be preferred by others. Samsung's Chromebook 2 13.3, which has a 1080p display and 16GB of storage and 4GB of ram, likely needs a price drop to compete as it is listed for $399. Either way, with ChromeOS continuing to improve over time, Windows laptops continue to face increasing competition from alternative laptops.

POST A COMMENT

24 Comments

View All Comments

  • systemBuilder - Friday, October 17, 2014 - link

    I agree that the old thinkpads were great, but the new ones all suck with horrible keyboards and scratchpads and for the backlight, for any laptop now, can buy a $3 USB articulating lamp at IKEA that plugs into the USB port and does what a thinklight does now. Thinkpads, RIP. Reply
  • TheJian - Monday, August 11, 2014 - link

    Intel isn't winning ANYTHING in chromebooks. They are giving away 1.15B in chips for 50million in revenue. You are losing 1.1B just to sell these things. Which pretty much means you are PAYING people to use your chip. I don't call that winning anything. Baytrail is a loser, and the 1.1B in mobile losses shows it. They'll hit their 40mil tablet goal all right, but it will cost them BILLIONS in giveaways to do it...LOL. The move to 14nm will change nothing as ARM will hit 20nm even before that. The goal posts move for both sides. The only way Intel will stop arm is to BUY Nvidia and something tells me Microsoft or Google would win first. MS has nokia and makes surface now, so owning the soc is a great idea and they make enough yearly now ($22B) to buy them with pretty much 1yrs worth of income. Google a bit tougher but might be a better fit for NV anyway, as they already want DirectX dead (both sides) and desire to push OpenGL. Google also has devices so again a good fit, not to mention motorola surely gets socs here too. With Intel, though the best fit (imagine a 14nm ARM M1, or GPU shortly and how that would cripple the rest at 20nm), it would be tough due to the company hate between them.

    But again, Intel isn't TAKING design wins. They are BUYING them and accelerating MOBILE LOSSES (up from ~937mil last q loss)...ROFL.
    Reply
  • thesavvymage - Monday, August 11, 2014 - link

    your post has so many illogical business recommendations. Intel knows what they are doing better than YOU know what they are doing. Stop trying to think you know better. There is no big picture synergy to MS or Google buying nvidia. Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2014/05/0...
    JP Morgan agrees. As do many others. I'm sure shareholders agree too. You'd be making 13B+ per year instead of 9.xBil if you dropped mobile. The only way to stop this is to buy Nvidia.
    "“We continue to believe mobile is a money pit for Intel,” says Danely."
    Note his discussion of TI exiting and now reaching new highs in margins etc. You're completely ignoring MONEY, which is what intel is in business to make ;)

    It is illogical to you to save 4.4Billion dollars in losses per YEAR? The losses are accelerating as I noted up from 929mil in Q1, now at 1.1B per quarter.

    http://www.electronicsweekly.com/news/business/int...
    They are already mulling it over themselves...LOL. Though they likely won't say it publicly any time soon. When Investment houses start saying you need to leave, how can you call me ILLOGICAL? You must be ignoring the losses and the news.
    "Intel is said to have lost $2.4 billion on mobile last year and plans to lose more this year as it pays mobile OEMs to use its chips."

    We already know those numbers are blowing up now. PAYING people to use your stuff is a recipe for success to you?...LOL. Whatever.
    "If a Intel is locked out of high-end hand-set manufacturers by its business model, and reduced to competing at the low end with its very high fixed costs, it is going to lose a bundle."

    Yep, can't agree more. Losing a BUNDLE 2 quarters after these remarks.

    http://www.eetindia.co.in/ART_8800698063_1800012_N...
    "The mobile and communications group saw a $3.1 billion operating loss in 2013, with 1Q14 losses hitting $929 million and revenues at $156 million."

    Now those numbers are 1.1B loss on 50mil revenue. You are COMPLETELY going the wrong way, and giving them away even WORSE than the quarter before now. How bad will it be next Quarter? Did you just skip math class or what?

    Both google and MS sell devices. For MS it's nokia/surface (both use socs right?), and google with nexus devices also a don't forget motorola probably still gets some preferential treatment too even if owned by Lenovo now. You've never heard of Vertical Integration? Get everything you can IN HOUSE. IE, Samsung makes 68% of the crap in their mobile devices, and hence they profit TONS vs. competition. Owning the soc would allow both MS/Google to drive the price down further on their products or make more on them not to mention owning datacenter gpus (NV owns top 15 green 500, many top 500 supercomputers also using telsa), and 65% of discrete market, 85%+ workstation market gpus etc. DATACENTER is huge for both of these two. MS will continue to lose tons on mobile until they join the arm/android race. Don't forget they make $5 per lic anyway, might as well JOIN them if you can't BEAT them right? Great logic. MS could start possibly branding their own servers or at the least using their own gpus then in boxes for all their datacenter needs at a reduced price. Clearly you don't get the logic here. You don't see how NVidia fits for both of these two? Google pushing gaming too (androidL+AEP), so why not own the top gpu and just block others or at least bend them to your will. IE, as K1 etc (desktop gpus) take over ARM ecosystem you could force samsung to stop forking if they want to use your chips and do the same to anyone else wanting them (or they just get left behind in gaming each year even worse by M1, V1 etc or whatever they call them). We've seen now S805 doesn't even touch K1 and they aren't in a device yet. S810 won't change this either and S810 is a die shrink, so it will have to deal with NV's shrink too. They will gain nothing. It's clear NV is a soc leader for at least tablets, and will likely start to take some desktops eventually just as chromebooks took 21% of ALL NOTEBOOK sales. 90% of google's store revenue is GAMES. The best gpus don't fit in this situation? ROFL. Really? 80%+ at apple, and 60%+ at amazon's stores.

    Apple could buy them too I guess (CASH even), I just think they are probably working on their own gpu to get rid of Imagination but I could be wrong. They would get cheap gpus, socs, server tech etc then too, since they'd use their own still just better and again block others from using NV tech. How badly would that move hurt Intel sales? They'd be stuck with AMD stuff only then right? Mac sales probably go up with a move like that. Blocking google from using K1 not a bad idea either before they REALLY get gaming going on android with AndroidL+64bit etc, PSU's, heatsink/fans on them in 500w-1000w boxes just like PC's but with a free OS and no Intel premiums. Apple's problems with Android are growing, so wise to take out one of their best parts that will help Google push android into gaming (NV GPUS) for years to come.

    MS might be able to update their console with 20nm M1 or something also, if sales of the x86 one keep sucking wind vs. sony they could release an ARM box that is even more powerful a few years from now. As Android/Arm hits 14nm consoles will look even worse than they do now right? They are already a tough sell, with android having cheaper games and units and as power amps at 20nm and then 14nm not long after these will become nearly impossible to sell to all but hardcore console fans. We know hardcore is less than half of those sales, the last half of their life is bought by casual users as price drops and more games are out. With $60 games, I suspect many in the last half of the years of this generation of consoles will be buying android devices to play $20 or less games that are just as fun and look great.

    You're not making sense. There are many ways NV fits into all 3 companies if only to block each other from using this stuff and further hurt Intel (MS has no love for Intel, they are partners but not friends, and Intel already defected to android so surely they want to stab Intel ASAP). I could go on, but you should get the point. Most importantly I'm not alone saying Intel should exit a terrible business loss. JP Morgan stupid? LOL.
    Reply
  • Morawka - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    i dont think intel has enough money to buy Nvidia. Sure they have a lot of revenue, but they have a shit ton of overhead with Thousands of employee's across the globe, and around 20 factories/laboratories to pay the light bills on. Reply
  • s44 - Monday, August 11, 2014 - link

    "This is the first ARM Chromebook we have seen in a while"

    Just totally wrong. You mention Samsung's original ARM model but not the two refreshed ones released just this summer, one of which, at 4gb/$400/3lb/1080p is the most direct competition for this?

    Way to start off your AT career.
    Reply
  • Stephen Barrett - Monday, August 11, 2014 - link

    no reason to be mean :)

    You're right. I've updated the article in a few places to address this.
    Reply
  • aryonoco - Monday, August 11, 2014 - link

    Hey, AT readers are a tough crowd.

    I thought the article was well done. A very good first piece, Stephen.

    Tegra K1 and ChromeOS. Interesting. You get the feeling that Chromebooks have some real momentum behind them now. All the "analysts" wrote it off when it came out in 2010, but times, they are a-changin...

    You do get the feeling that that amazing GPU is "lost" mostly while running ChromeOS though. Sure, WebGL could always take off, but it hasn't yet, and right now, I'd say single-threaded CPU performance is more important running ChromeOS, and so Haswell still wins.

    But 11 hours battery and fanless is tempting. If that high-end model had an IPS screen, it would be so close to the "perfect" Chromebook. As it is, I fear it's going to be another low-quality TN display like that 1080p one in the new Samsung.
    Reply
  • asoltesz - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    I fully agree about the need for an IPS display in higher-end CBs. That was/is one of the big strengths of the HP Chromebook 11 (it is a pitty that it is mostly crippled by that Exynos 5250).

    A HLP CB11 with a Tegra K1 could be a very strong contender in the 11" crowd. (If the price remains the same)

    That Kepler GPU may get better utilized when Chromebooks start support Android apps (which seems to be on the table now).
    Reply
  • Alexey291 - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    yeah I remember these points (IPS vs SOC) pretty much being the decider when I was buying my HP14 and was really tempted for HP11 (for a better screen)...

    Eventually though the ability to install chrubuntu and steam (for home streaming) kinda won so I got HP14 in the end :)
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now