Google Pixelbook 2 Might Not Improve Much Over Pixel Slate

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Google's Pixelbook Chromebook successor, tentatively the Pixelbook 2, will ship with the same internal hardware to the top Pixel Slate models if newly spotted benchmarks at Geekbench are anything to go by. The benchmarks are for a device dubbed 'Google Atlas' and while that could point to just about any Chromebook, previous hints found in the code repository for the device have indicated it is likely the codename for the next-generation Pixel-branded laptop.

The timing of the test also seems to support the theory, with a device suspected to be Atlas cropping up at the FCC earlier this week and Google's hardware event expected in just a few months — in October.

The specifications that are listed, although benchmarks can be manipulated with relative ease, support the speculations too. The overwhelming majority of Chromebooks ship with components that fall well below the "premium" range but Atlas shows two listings with an Intel Core i5-8200Y processor and an Intel Core i7-8500Y. Those are the same dual-core, four-thread top-level chips found in the more expensive search giant's Pixel Slate Chrome OS tablets — clocked at 3.9GHz and 4.2GHz, respectively, according to the benchmarks.

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One key difference here is that the chips are each backed by 16GB RAM, found in the Intel Core i7 variant of the Pixel Slate but not the Intel Core i5 version.

Big scores and at least some speculation resolved

The scores achieved by the presumed Pixelbook 2 are drastically different from those attained by the Pixel Slate too. The Intel Core i5-8500Y Atlas model managed a multi-core score of 7590 via the benchmark, compared to the score of 5636 seen with the Pixel Slate with the same chip. On the single-core side of things, that same version of Atlas attained a score of 3589.

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Atlas unsurprisingly did even better with an Intel Core i7-8500Y but without the huge difference compared to the Google-built Chrome OS tablet. For the single- and multi-core scores, Google Atlas hit 3786 and 8021, respectively.

Now, previous additions to the Chromium Gerrit had suggested that Googlers were prepping devices for use with AMD's Ryzen-based Picasso chipsets and there was some tenuous speculation that Google might aim its efforts in that direction instead of using Intel chips. The benchmarks here appear to put that to rest entirely since it's not impossible but extremely unlikely that the company will release variants with both and work on AMD's Ryzen chips has slowed in the interim.

This is going to be expensive

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There is a chance Google will continue its tradition of releasing massively powerful hardware such as that seen in the benchmarks alongside comparatively weaker — and more affordable hardware — with its next-generation Pixelbook but one thing is immediately clear from the benchmarks. Even if the 16GB RAM variant shown in the test results isn't the standard i5 version, it's going to lean heavily toward the expensive side of the price bracket.

Google's original Pixelbook starts out at a dollar shy of $1000 and ranges up to just short of $1,650 in terms of price. Previous commits to the Chrome repository have suggested the new model, assuming that's what Atlas is, will bring display improvements, better charging, and more to the table with it. So, although it's undoubtedly going to annoy some that the specs haven't moved forward by much, this will probably start out at an even higher cost all the same.