Acer's Latest 15.6" Chromebook Powered By Core i5 (Broadwell-U) Processor

Subject: General Tech | March 26, 2015 - 01:34 AM |
Tagged: core i5, Chromebook, chrome os, broadwell-u, acer

Acer is adding an updated Chromebook to its education-focused C910 lineup. The new Acer C910-54M1 ups the hardware ante by incorporating a Broadwell-U based Intel Core i5 processor which will make this the fastest Chromebook on the market (for what that's worth). 

This new C910 remains aimed at schools and businesses with a sturdy frame, large (for a Chromebook) 15.6" (up to) 1080p display, and eight hours of battery life. Below the display sits an island style keyboard and a large trackpad. Except for the arrow keys, Acer was able to use "regular" sized keys and did not shrink the shift or backspace keys which can be annoying. A webcam and two large upward facing speakers are also present on the C910.

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External I/O includes:

  • 1 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x SD card reader

The port selection is about what one would expect from a Chromebook, but the inclusion of USB 3.0 is welcome for accessing external storage.

Internally, the C910 Chromebook is powered by a dual core (four threads with Hyper-Threading) Broadwell-U Core i5 5200U processor clocked at 2.2GHz base and up to 2.7GHz Turbo Boost with a 15W TDP and 3MB cache. This particular processor includes Intel HD Graphics 5500 clocked at up to 900 MHz. Other hardware includes 4GB DDR3 memory and a 32GB SSD. Wireless hardware includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. 

Acer's new Chromebook is big and powerful, but will the increased hardware provide a noticeably better Chrome OS experience? Intel (naturally) seems to think so with its push to get Core i3 processors into Chromebooks last year. The Broadwell-U Core i5 should be just as fast (maybe even a bit faster with smoother UX and graphics) while sipping power. The alleged eight hours of battery life is impressive as well considering. The downside, because of course there always is one, is pricing. The C910-54M1 will be available in April with a 1080p display for $500. 

At that price point, it is squarely in budget Windows notebook territory as well as high end convertible (e.g. Bay Trail) tablet territory. It will be interesting to see how it ends up doing compared to the other options which each have their own trade offs.

Are you interested in a Chromebook with a Core i5 processor?

Source: Maximum PC

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March 26, 2015 | 08:24 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

As widespread as HDMI is in the everyday world, the lack of a VGA port makes this an unlikely option for any corporate and education environments.

March 26, 2015 | 11:15 AM - Posted by collie

never thought of that but you are 100% right, all cheaper laptops SHOULD have a vga port, 1 hdmi 1 vga should work with 80% of screens built after 2000, add a composite video out and you got almost 100% coverage..... but I wonder how cost effective that would be, I wonder if infact it takes more (manufacturing) resources to add older analog video ports, and I supose it WOULD need to be at least as thick as the port itself.

Good point tho, food for thought.....

March 26, 2015 | 11:24 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Well if this can at least be loaded with a Full Linux distro, and if the hardware is not locked in to just one OS, this could make a very nice Mint based laptop. The price is a little on the high side, but that will come down as the market will dictate. There are plenty of full OS based laptops at the $500 dollar price point. Intel sure has a lot of those U series processors available so expect more and better deals in the future, plus the more hardware out there not specifically designed to run windows the better, and this and other chromebook variants should make fine Full Linux based laptops/netbooks!

March 26, 2015 | 03:00 PM - Posted by collie

It's not hard at all to change the OS on a CHROMEBOOK, at least in the x86 bassed ones. It's a little tricky, and alot easier if there is a SD slot, but it's do-able for sure, HOWEVER 32gb for a full OS laptop is kinda thin, no? I'm starting to think that they all have small storage to try to stop people from re-purposing them, the same way that it seems most ATOM windows laptops are great EXCEPT for just non enough ram.

March 26, 2015 | 03:33 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

32 GB is not small by Linux standards, and with an SD slot, and USB 3.0 port available the possibility some fast external storage negates the only 32 GB issue somewhat for a Full Linux OS on this SKU. The 32GB SSD if it is only connected to a SATA 3 port is only going to have 6Gbs of available bandwidth so it will barely be able to saturate the USB 3.0 port, which is doubtful on a 32GB SDD, the controller bandwidth/channel count is not going to be there unless a PCIe/M.2/etc. type drive is used.

Remember that the chrome OS is mostly cloud based, and most of the services/storage is in the cloud for these types for systems. A Good Mint Linux distro would turn this into a more useful netbook type of system, and not require any cloud presence or internet connectivity for use as much. Hopefully this model will receive some teardown and reparability scores, but at its current price it will not be flying off of the store shelves, but once its price goes down enough, more people will give it a look.

March 26, 2015 | 05:10 PM - Posted by collie

I have limited experience with linux, none with mint, so I'll take your word for it that 32 gb is ok, so I guess that is a pretty good plan. Hard to go wrong for $500.

I do have to say that ChromeOS might not be as bad as you think. I have a cheap Series 3 that is basically just a browser with a keyboard, and it's absolutely awesome at it's job. It turns on like a flashlight, and it does everthing you can do in a browser window, and that's alot these days. HOWEVER it is fucking useless offline. They say it's got alot of good offline apps but that's just not true, you can find more functional apps on your phone. As a walk around the home tool tho it's great. Not nearly enough to be the only system tho, not even on vacation.

March 26, 2015 | 05:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

$500 dollars is too much for this device, regular laptops can be had for $500 with more powerful processors than this SKU. These will be great to pick up on sale in 6mo, or a year, at Microcenter/Etc. Why pay top introductory dollar for this SKU, as when the price begins to drop to around $350-$400 or less is when this device will sale. Intel is competing with a whole shipload of its older laptop devices, in those unsold SKUs that have been coming with windows 8/8.1, and those devices have more powerful Intel i5/i7 quad-cores.

So until those better Intel CPU/SOC based last year's/older models are sold out, any SKU like this chromebook will have to have a much lower price point. Intel is definitely competing with Intel's older more powerful and on sale laptop SKUs, and the supply channels are full of Ivy Bridge, and Haswell based laptop systems, some with windows 8.*, and a few still with windows 7. For sure there will be plenty of systems with 8/8.1 that can be wiped and Linux installed, or even upgraded to windows 8/8.1 Pro and have 7 downgrade options. At least the 8/8.1 hardware can have the UEFI disabled. The retail laptop market is so saturated with SKUs that go back as far as Sandybridge, and for sure that was the last Intel microarchitecture with an appreciable CPU performance gain, I'm looking at Haswell based replacement options, and the business laptops are still getting 7, even though they ship with windows 8/8.1 pro DVDs.

Intel is going to be hamstrung with so many unsold U versions of its i series processors, and chromebooks will be getting even more i series options in an attempt to clear the stocks of the unsold and make room for the new.

March 26, 2015 | 11:12 PM - Posted by collie

I feel ya, but I actualy think that $500 is fair, concidering it's a nice 1080p screen, and the intel graphics are getting pretty nice. if ya search newegg right now you'd see most (not all but most) of the laptops in this price range and size have 1366 x 768 resolution and much lesser gpu power, at least the intel offerings. I agree with you that it's probably just a little too high to fly off the shelves, but with the kit ya get, other than the storage, it's not exactly a rip-off.

March 27, 2015 | 11:57 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Well you can pay all the High Intel price for the underpowered U processor, I'll wait for it to show up on sale in 6mo or a year, I never buy bleeding edge, and there are more and more 1080p based devices showing up on the bargain isle. For about $200 more I can get a quad core i7, and dedicated graphics, and if I go open box there are some great deals on laptops in the $650 range with i7s, discrete GPUs, and 1080p screens. I'll also be looking at chromebooks with the AMD Carrizo APU, the graphics will be much better.

Any New hardware is priced to rip off in my book, so I'll let the fools have the new and shiny, Those SKUs are not going to degrade much at all sitting on the shelves for a year, and being clearance sale priced. I can always spend some of the savings on a good external monitor if I need the higher resolution.

March 27, 2015 | 02:48 PM - Posted by collie

lol, yea, I actualy dont buy anything that isn't clearance or super sale or whatever, for myself anyways, but it's easy to theoretical spend someone elses theoretical money.

March 27, 2015 | 12:22 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No user replaceable battery and SSD on this. Chromebooks are junk.

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