Google testing Chrome OS with Nvidia's Tegra X1 "super chip"

Few devices use Nvidia's Tegra X1 but a Chromebook looks likely based on various references by Google engineers who appear to be integrating Chrome OS with the system on a chip.
Written by Kevin Tofel, Contributor

There's a good chance another Nvidia-powered Chromebook is coming to market. This time, however, it would use the Tegra X1 "super chip" as Nvidia calls it, compared to the older Tegra K1 processor.

Tom's Hardware found references on Wednesday of the X1 being supported by Coreboot, an open-source replacement for proprietary BIOS firmware. Google typically creates code names for system boards for Chrome OS testing; the one with the Tegra X1 reference is dubbed "Smaug."

I did some digging in the Chromium issues tracker -- a place to monitor for Chrome OS developments -- and found nearly a dozen tickets open for the Smaug board, so clearly Google is working on integrating its Chrome OS software with Nvidia's hardware.

Currently, the Tegra X1 is only used in a few devices such as the Nvidia Shield Android TV console.

The chip is far more powerful than the K1 used in Acer's Chromebook 13 that debuted last year mainly because it uses newer Cortex A-57 and A-53 processing cores along with 256 GPU cores. The K1 was created with older A-15 cores, which were more common in smartphones two to three years ago.

There's no guarantee that a company will sell a Chromebook based on the Smaug board with Tegra X1 chip, but the code integration is a pre-requisite. If I had to guess, I'd say Acer is the most likely to offer one as a far more capable follow up to its Chromebook 13 from last year.

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