New Chromebooks bearing the name "Google Zork" have now appeared with AMD Ryzen chipsets in Geekbench benchmarks. Specifically, one Chrome OS gadget brings the AMD Ryzen 3 3250C while another was tested with the Ryzen 7 3700C.
Now, the AMD Ryzen 7 3700C Chromebook shown at the source bears a somewhat unrealistic score of over 4000 points on the single-core side and over 8000 points on the multi-core side. A closer examination of tests run for Zork shows that the device is comparable to top Intel Chromebooks that have already been released. For instance, it's slightly more powerful than the Intel Core i5- or i7-based Google Pixelbook Go.
The AMD Ryzen 3 3250C chipset spotted in various benchmarks falls just short of that same device's scores.
There are a few other key differences worth noting in the benchmark readouts as well, muddying the waters with regard to any gauge of real-world performance. To begin with, the AMD Ryzen 7 chipset is accompanied by a Radeon Vega Gfx graphics. The more budget-friendly Ryzen 3 chip is utilizing Radeon Graphics. Those are likely different graphics chips, although they could ultimately just be labeled differently.
Both chipsets are running at the present power-efficient, low-temperature standards of Chrome OS with a 15W TDP rating. But the AMD Ryzen 7 3700C is a quad-core eight-thread chip with a base clock of 2.30GHz with 8GB RAM. The AMD Ryzen 3 series chip only delivers 4GB memory but is clocked at a base frequency of 2.6GHz.
This Chromebook could set the stage for a CPU standoff
A Chromebook bearing the Zork codename was actually spotted in the Chromium Gerrit last year in April. Not many details were available at that time. But it was already apparent the gadget would incorporate more powerful AMD hardware than previous AMD-based Chrome OS devices. Since prior Chromebooks built on the company's chips were mostly education-based and comparatively weak, that was already good news for fans of the company.
The newly-spotted benchmark confirms at least some of what was expected too. Namely, this confirms that Zork won't be a Chromebook in the budget-end of the Chrome OS pool. Instead, it's aimed squarely at the most powerful competing offerings. The implications of that are far-reaching.
To date, Intel has led the charge on high-performance Chromebook hardware. Devices running top-tier Qualcomm internals and the upper reaches of what MediaTek has to offer are expected to appear in the future. But AMD has chiefly focused its efforts on the budget end of the pool — centered around its A-series APUs.
With the introduction of the AMD Ryzen 7 3700C and Ryzen 3 3250C CPUs, Chrome OS OEMs are going to change that. In fact, the scores highlighted in these benchmarks show Chromebooks that will drive competition in the top-end. And, although prices will undoubtedly start out high, that should eventually make better Chromebooks more affordable for everyone.
When is this actually going to arrive?
The appearance of a Chromebook in benchmarks should be taken as a good sign with regard to the likeliness that a gadget will actually launch. So, while there are no guarantees, the AMD Ryzen-powered "Google Zork" Chromebooks will almost certainly become a real-world project. That doesn't mean it will launch soon. For example, reports highlighted Google's Pixelbook Go in benchmarks as early as June of 2019. But that gadget didn't officially become known until October of that same year.
A similar trend carries across for most Chromebooks and those aren't always quite so quick to turn from benchmark to real-world product either. It's almost certainly going to be several months, at the earliest, before Zork is a consumer-ready Chrome OS laptop. There's no indication as to which OEM will manufacture these either since every Chromebook passes through benchmarks with the Google branding up until it becomes official.