Acer C720 first Chromebook available with Intel Core i3 processor

Acer C720 first Chromebook available with Intel Core i3 processor

Summary: Two different versions of the Chrome-based laptop feature the Core i3-40005U Haswell CPU, with a starting price of $349.99.

TOPICS: Mobility, Intel, Laptops

Google developed Chrome OS as a lightweight operating system that wouldn't require tons of processing power to run apps using its Chromebook laptop platform. As a result, most Chromebooks rely on lower-end CPUs like Intel's Celeron chips or Samsung's Exynos processor.

But the processor arms race has even reached this terrain, as Acer is touting the latest versions of its C720 Chromebook as the first to come with Intel Core i3 fourth-generation (a.k.a. Haswell) processors.

While that's at the low end of the Core CPU family, it should be a boost over Celeron CPUs, even if the Intel exec quoted in Acer's press release mentions that the boost will come in the form of "an extremely responsive experience while surfing multiple tabs of web pages."

Both new Acer Chromebooks feature the dual-core Core i3-40005U running at 1.7GHz. The C720-3871 comes with 2GB of RAM, while the C720-3404 doubles the RAM; each includes 32GB of solid-state storage. Like other Acer Chromebooks, they sport 1,366x768 11.6-inch displays and offer built-in 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi.

As you might expect, the higher-performing processor means higher price tags, as the C720-3871 at $349.99 is $50 more than the previously priciest C720, with the C720-3404 costing $30 more than that at $379.99. That's still a bargain compared to Google's own Chromebook Pixel, the luxury laptop that is the only Chromebook that uses a Core i5 CPU, though it starts at a still-whopping $1,299. The C720-3871 is currently available for pre-order through, though the C720-3404 is still unavailable at the moment.

Do you think the speed boost from a Core i3 processor will make a big difference if you're using a Chromebook? Let us know your thoughts in the Talkback section below.

Topics: Mobility, Intel, Laptops

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  • Huge difference? Doubtful.

    Chromebooks don't need 30,000 volts just to fire up a 1990s OS, like some do; it's a light and efficient OS.

    Will intel bring problems of overheating? Are they forcing a huge engine into a small car? The assumption, of course, is that more = better; that Intel Inside = A Kinda Magic.

    We'll see.
    • Windows8 runs smooth on atom cpu with 2gb ram

      If chrome needs an i3 to deliver a smooth web browsing experience with multiple tabs open, I don't think your claims hold much validity.

      The are windows8 tablets coming out on 1gb ram, 16gb storage and even weaker processors than current atoms.

      Chrome seems to need more power while windows is getting leaner and more efficient.
      • If we've got to the stage that the OS needs this hardware

        The entire chrome and Windows dev teams should resign. Just get up, walk out.

        Even an N270 atom can run windows 8 with 2 GB RAM; it's probably about the minimum, but I've done it. It's api cations that will be using this processor, and I'm hard pressed to think of chrome apps that will need it.

        That said, there's no real reason to lambast this laptop - it provides choice, and if successful may inspire some deva to take advantage of it's abilities.

        As for the OP's comments of a 90's OS, the linux kernel first release is 1991, the NT kernel was 1993. Also bare in mind that the linux OS at it's heart harks back I to the early 80's minix and gnu works on the even earlier bsd work on the 60's unix and it's a pretty redundant point.

        However, my main beef with chrome OS is that I love linux, and for a lightweight OS I can download something that boots to about 170MB ram with and install size of 2gb and run the las test apps, or something like puppy that's 300mb and boots totally into ram. Chrome offers nothing but limitations ontop of greatness
    • it's a light and efficient OS

      While true it is "it's a light and efficient OS"; it achieves this through limiting the users access to the OS. While there isn't anything wrong with that; I find it to be a double standard being applied. Windows RT has been ridiculed and dismissed due to restriction placed on the users ability to install applications on the desktop and and having to use the app store and UI; where ChromeOS also limited the user to a app store also.
    • Well I figured this was coming considering some of the announcements at I/O

      At I/O 2014, Google announced they were working on running Android Apps on Chromebooks. The native Android Apps running on the Chromebooks will take a lot more computing power to run, especially considering that most of them were originally intended and optimized to run on ARM processors as opposed to Intel. Especially at first, it will likely take a bit of CPU power to get it functioning right, and an i3 will probably be a good stepping stone for people who want to be early adopters for Android Apps on Chrome OS.
  • $350 for a harware that runs only a spyware browser? you gotta be kidding..

    Many bloggers are paid to promote 'chrome books'...
    • Grow up

    • Re: $350 for a harware that runs only a spyware browser?….

      Yeah we get the message you don't like ChromeBooks.

      Now run along otherwise you will be late for nursery school.
  • Better processor is better

    But at least for now chromebooks rely a lot on the low price, and this Acer is a bit expensive.
    It's interesting that chromeOS runs without caveats in processors with different architecture.
    • Not that interesting

      It's Chrome the browser on top of the Linux kernel, not exactly much to it.
      Michael Alan Goff
  • Acer C720 first Chromebook available with Intel Core i3 processor….

    Its certainly taken its time to get to an i3.
  • Bay Trail

    Intel's latest Bay Trail processors are very powerful and very good on battery life. When Dell released its Venue 11 series of Windows 8 hybrids, I picked up the Bay Trail version and have been mightily impressed. Based on comments on message boards, however, the Core i3 and Core i5 model owners haven't been nearly as happy. One reason (aside from all sorts of technical glitches) is that performance gains over the Bay Trail models are modest, especially once the CPU starts over heating and throttling.

    The Core i series of CPUs are great desktop processors, and might work well in devices where robust cooling can be implemented and battery life is second to performance considerations, but for a post-PC mobile platform, I think Bay Trail is probably the way to go.
  • Costs vs Benefits

    I'm not sure that the benefits of a more powerful processor would be worth the costs. My daughter's ARM Chromebook runs all day without needing to be plugged in, is extremely light weight and has no problems handling multiple tabs. With an i3 processor either weight or battery life has to be compromised for an increase in performance that isn't really necessary.
  • Acer C720 first Chromebook available with Intel Core i3 processor

    They are still making chromebooks even though its losing them money? Its no wonder why Acer is still in the hole. Throwing a new processor in a chromebook won't make it run any better. Its still limited by the chomeos and lack of apps and pretty much lack of everything else.
  • The Chromebook user experience depends on internet speed

    No amount of processing power will add to a bad broadband connection. No doubt the chip helps with higher def streaming media but any internet bottleneck affects that. 32gb of (fast) local storage doesn't take a user very far these days. Nobody needs a "Chromebook" to get full function out of a Chrome browser, and most people still need a few hundred gb on a fast hard drive. I'd like to see these laptops sporting Android with a bigger HDD.
    • Async

      Chromebook supports async connections. Your web connection means less than you think it does.
  • Haven't seen a Chromebook story in a while

    Is Google still trying to con people into paying to be spied on?
    Sir Name
  • Intel inside

    The main advantage is the Intel chip allows you to install closed-source Intel apps compiled for Linux, combined with crouton, if you so desire. For users who intend to use crouton, that is huge.
  • There are reasons to get a ChromeBook

    The biggest reason to buy a ChromeBook is getting something dirt cheap that does most of what you need. This device is getting a bit pricy for that purpose.

    Personally I would get a HP Omni 10 Windows tablet for the same price and have a touch screen, full OS, etc.
    Rann Xeroxx
  • Not sure what the point of an i3 is ...

    I have the $200 C720, and I've never noticed any slow down in performance. $150 more for a "faster" chip seems pointless. I'd rather have a slightly bigger screen ...