Chromebook Engineer Talks About Chromebook Pixel 2 on Reddit

Screenshot 2015 03 11 14.19.54

As a whole Chromebooks are generally considered budget machines.  Designed specifically to be light, fast and fluid, Google’s ChromeOS is not a one-size-fits-all package as Windows and Mac OS try to be, rather Google focuses on tasks that can be done with Google services like Google Drive, Docs, email and more.  Google changed up the formula a little bit last year though with the introduction of the Chromebook Pixel, a considerably higher priced premium device with an insanely high pixel density screen.  The recently announced Chromebook Pixel LS doesn’t eschew much of the formula of the first, but it does lower the price a bit for the base model and provides some significant design and performance improvements over the original.  One of the engineers on the Pixel LS team took it to Reddit to answer questions users had about the new Chromebook, and he had some pretty interesting answers for those users.

Users immediately started asking about the internals of the new Chromebook Pixel LS, which features a brand new Intel Core i5 or i7-5500U 3.0GHZ dual-core processor and up to 16GB of RAM for the top-end model.  One of the biggest problems users had with the original Pixel is that it would get surprisingly hot on the bottom after prolonged use.  Google is addressing this situation in a number of ways, first by providing a second fan in the unit where the first Pixel only had one.  Secondly the newest Intel chipsets feature the Southbridge built into the same package as the CPU, giving a dedicated fan to a chip that tends to run hot on motherboards.  If you’re a PC enthusiast you’ve no doubt run across Southbridge chips that are impossible to touch after the computer has been on for a while.

Like the original Pixel, the Pixel LS has one EC chip to control typical things like power sequencing, fan control, etc., in addition to having a dedicated Chromium EC for the new USB PD protocol and signal multiplexing.  This allows the unit to use the brand new USB 3.1 Type C ports as a DisplayPort, HDMI and more.  While it’s great for Google to include 4 USB ports unlike some other recently announced premium laptops, it looks like the ability to upgrade any hardware component in the Chromebook is going to be kept to a minimum.  The SSD is confirmed to be non-removable and thus non-upgradeable, meaning whatever internal storage you purchase with your Pixel LS is there to stay.  It’s also not going to be easy to crack open the Pixel LS, although Google didn’t go through quite the length to seal it as the original Pixel faced.

Lastly upgrading the software may or may not be your cup of tea here either depending on how much work you’re willing to do.  Users that want to install their preferred Linux distribution onto the system will find it a bit easier this time around when compared to the original Pixel, but it’s still not a simple task.  While the verified boot and same security requirements are present from the original Pixel, there’s now a write protect switch that can be toggled under the hood if you’re looking to get another OS onboard the Pixel LS.  Windows users will likely find the 32GB a little restricting after installing Microsoft’s larger OS, but it’s always feasible if you try.  Check out the Reddit link below for all the questions and answers.