A recent code review in the Chromium Gerrit all-but confirms that a Chromebook codenamed Kahlee is powered by AMD’s latest generation mobile APU. The code review, titled “drop experimental flag for raven,” mentions Kahlee as the test machine, making this damning evidence that the Chromebook will be powered by a Raven Ridge APU.
Chrome devices have existed for years but AMD has been absent from the field, with most devices harboring Intel or ARM chips on board. Codename Kahlee started development early 2017 and was hailed as the first ever AMD-powered Chromebook. To much disappointment, initial code reviews indicated that it would be based on Stoney Ridge architecture, AMD’s 2016 series of APUs. Since then we’ve seen references in Chromium commits to “stoney” and “raven” simultaneously, muddying the water of what we could expect, but this revelation strongly suggests that Stoney Ridge has been supplanted by Raven Ridge – at least for Kahlee.
The Chromium Source code for Kahlee confusingly still references Stoney Ridge architecture. But based on a recent merge, it looks like the developers started with a Stoney Ridge codebase and built upon that for Raven Ridge support.
We reviewed the desktop-class Raven Ridge APUs earlier this year and found them to perform very competitively – especially in the graphics department. With Android apps and games already on the scene, and a forthcoming ability to run Linux apps in containers, AMD is bringing their strong GPU game to Chrome at just the right moment.
There are three AMD boards in development right now, indicating a confident bet by AMD and its partner OEMs that they will be a success. While there’s no clear indication of release dates, we could see Raven Ridge-powered Chromebooks hit the shelves before the end of the year.