Acer C720 first Chromebook available with Intel Core i3 processor

Two different versions of the Chrome-based laptop feature the Core i3-40005U Haswell CPU, with a starting price of $349.99.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

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 Amazon.com, 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.

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