If you’ve kept up with Chromebooks over the past few years, you’ve probably noticed how different manufacturers have been testing out different processors for their ultra-portable laptops. Most Chromebooks tend to use Intel’s low-power chips, but we’ve seen some experimentation from other companies, such as Samsung using their own ARM Exynos processors and Asus using Nvidia’s Tegra K1 chips. However, ARM processor usage has been pretty limited up to this point, mostly because ARM processors just haven’t completely matched up to Intel’s offerings in the performance category.
The Asus Chromebook that used the K1 processor fared better than any other ARM-based Chromebook, offering fantastic battery life with very little compromise in terms of performance. It looks like we might see Nvidia’s chips make their way into more Chromebooks in the future, too, if some new software commits from Google are any indicator.
Google’s Chromium team engineers have added support for Nvidia’s high-powered Tegra X1 processor into Coreboot, which is what Google uses instead of the BIOS firmware you’ll typically find on Windows laptops. That hints pretty heavily that someone is working on a Chromebook with an X1 processor, which is even more likely since another commit was added for an X1-board for Chrome OS. This board was codenamed Smaug, and it would mark the first ever 64-bit ARM Chromebook. It’s also a pretty good indicator that someone at Google is a Tolkien fan.
Nvidia’s Tegra X1 is currently used in their Shield devices, and it offers some pretty fantastic performance, especially since it’s using Nvidia’s highly efficient and powerful Maxwell architecture, which is the same architecture that you’ll find in their laptop and desktop graphics cards. Hopefully this translates into a beefy Chromebook with fantastic battery life.
source: Tom’s Hardware