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New Benchmarks Show Acer C740 Is The Chromebook To Beat

acer c740Benchmarks on the new Acer C740 Chromebook suggests it may be the best performing budget consumer Chromebook on the market.

The $259 device, which was announced earlier this year by Acer, features an Intel Celeron 3205U ‘Broadwell’ processor, 2GB RAM and comes with a 16GB SSD in its base configuration.

Despite some early caution on what sort of performance gains might be meted out, performance tests on the first widely available Broadwell Chromebook show a clear performance improvement over Intel’s older Haswell line, which has long been the favoured processor choice for many Chromebook enthusiasts.

Before we dive in I will caution, as always, that benchmarking of various shades only tell half the story. Most Chromebooks are fast and capable machines. Other features, like battery life, build and screen quality, weight, screen size, etc. may also be important considerations for anyone making a purchase too.

Benchmarking Broadwell

Chris Elkendier of Technology Resource Advisors (TRA) ran various benchmarks across eleven Chromebooks. He used a high-speed 50×5 cable line and a Cisco Meraki MR32 access point to ensure that conditions were as stable and reliable for each test as possible. Three separate benchmarks were each run three times on eleven different ‘entry level’ Chromebooks.

In the chart below, which Chris has kindly shared with us, you’ll see the average scores for each benchmark across the various JavaScript tests.

chromebook-benchmarks

All devices are paired with 4GB RAM

At first glance, save for the odd orange spike, everything appears so-so. But pay attention to the legend at the bottom: only the Google Octane score (the orange bars) should be tall. For the other two benchmarks lower scores denote better performance.

Overall the fifth-generation Intel Broadwell performance comes out on top and by some margin, too. The Acer C740 scored 13,675 in the Google Octane score, a low 311 in its SunSpider test and posted the lowest score in Mozilla’s popular Kraken test with a result of 2,288.

The older Intel Haswell CPU still makes a strong showing against Broadwell

The thorough benchmarking shows models like the Acer C720 and HP Chromebook 14 (Intel) perform well, with Intel Haswell chips showing a strong second-place offering versus Broadwell.

Intel’s more recent ‘Bay Trail’ line of Celeron processors, as found powering the ASUS C200, make an overall third place. The Toshiba Chromebook 2 was the best performing Bay Trail model tested.

Devices powered by the Nvidia Tegra K1 processor were shown to offer roughly comparable performance to the Bay Trail models, with the Acer Chromebook 13 taking last and the HP Chromebook 14 (Tegra edition) models taking second-to-last place respectively.

Devices running an Intel Core series processor were not tested (e.g., like the Pixel) and would score higher than Broadwell. Since the majority of consumer and education Chromebooks do use Intel’s Celeron line, the chart is perhaps more useful as a result.

More Broadwell devices are on the way from a raft of OEMs in the coming months, including the 15.6-inch Acer Chromebook, so it will be interesting to see if other stats match up and whether the performance gains seen here are enough to woo new buyers in.

Do you plan on purchasing a Broadwell Chromebook?

Big thanks to Chris E. 

  • Tom Loughlin

    Here’s an unboxing video of the new Acer C740 Broadwell Chromebook: http://voltron00x.com/2015/03/04/acer-c740-first-impressions-and-unboxing/

    • Nice write up, Tom :)

      (Also thanks for the tip too, I just read it.)

      • Tom Loughlin

        To be clear, the write-up is not mine. I just happened to stumble on this web site while doing a google search for the difference between a Crouton and a Chrubuntu installation for an Asus Chromebox I just bought. By a remarkable coincidence, you had just posted this article while I was watching the video, so I dropped the tip and the comment. See http://voltron00x.com/about/ for author information.

        • Oh right-io! Still a nice write up — and I appreciate tip nonetheless! :)

  • pixelstuff

    So it sounds like if Toshiba takes their Chromebook 2 (4GB) and puts the Broadwell 3205u processor in it, they will have an unbeatable winner.

    • vloz

      Yeah but it wont be fanless anymore… :'(

      • Nathan Fletcher

        I would rather have the high performance than the fanless. There is seriously a problem when the second generation of chromebooks has significantly less performance than the first generation.

        • vloz

          “I would rather have the high performance than the fanless. “

          • juanjeremy2012

            BECAUSE AS M3,M5 ETC SHOULD THAT ISNT POSSIBLE, AND IF IT WERE THEY WOULD TRY TO CHARGE $700 FOR IT

        • juanjeremy2012

          ME TO MAN IM SICK OF CPU’S THAT DONT HAVE THE HORSEPOWER TO RENDER BASIC WEB PAGES. WHY NOT I3, 1080P, 6GB, AND PLASTIC CASING FOR AROUND $300, IF THEY CAN DO IT FOR WINDOWS WHY NOT FOR CHROMEOS

    • JimAlaska

      I guess it depends on what you’re doing with it. I got the 4GB version of the Toshiba Chromebook 2 back in January. I got it for office work and it has plenty of horsepower for what I do and the battery life is great compared to my old Samsung 5 550 (it was getting down to about 2 hours due to age). I easily get over 6 hours now. This doesn’t mean I don’t want a Pixel 2 w/ an I7 ;) The Asus wasn’t out yet, the Toshiba was near the top then, and there is always going to be something better out in a couple of weeks anyway.

  • ConCal

    I’d like to see Acer’s new 15.6″ chromebook on the benck. I bet the i3-5005U would make the 3205U look measly.

    • Most versions of the 15.6 could with the 3205U ;)

      But yes, an i-core series processor is going to out perform the lower end. I think this graphic is useful because it doesn’t include the i3 models but the sort of Chromebooks most people buy.

      • schade33

        Aren’t they eventually releasing a C740 4GB with i3 processor? I can’t find out any information on this at all.

        • Rich

          On the press article by Acer, it said they were releasing a C740 with 4GB and i3 processor. But when I go to the page to purchase it, I don’t see C740 with i3, but I do see the 910 with an i3.

          I personally want a C740 with i3, 4 GB RAM, and 1080p IPS with optional touch screen.

          • Matthew Travous

            Same here bro. Drop the touch screen and for $400 with the option to install Linux via Chrubuntu and you’ve got a budget laptop killer.

    • Ask and you shall receive…
      Review: http://goo.gl/vB2CJV

      Thanks go out to: Chris care of Joey

  • Rich

    1080p IPS display
    Broadwell i3, with 4GB+ RAM, 32GB+ SSD, 8 hr+ battery

    That’s pretty much all they need to release already! Fanless is cool tho

    • Zactu

      Yes, I second that. In addition, matt screen option.

    • rheerani

      And back lit keyboard. Maybe with speakers hidden behind it.

      • Rich

        Well if we could dream then
        backlit keyboard, high quality hidden speakers, USB 3.1 ports, USB 3.0 ports, SD card slot, micro SD slot, high quality microphone, 5 MP front webcam, touchscreen, fanless, HDMI port, microUSB port in addition to regular charging port, 4G LTE, light bar like the Pixel, extremely light design, etched glass touchpad, and on and on.

    • Since we are all dreaming up the soon to be inevitable:

      -> Display’s in 11″, 13.3″ & 15.6″ variants

      -> 4GB+ (expandable to 16GB RAM

      -> 32GB+ SSD (Expandable to 256GB SSD – I wanna work at NASA)

      -> 1920×1080 IPS, matte, touch screen

      -> Backlit LED KeyBoard (User select-able colors)

      -> 4 USB3 Ports & 2 HDMI outs & 2 WIDi channels,

      -> “Thunderbolt” Compatible

      -> Bluetooth 5.0 (if/when it exists)

      -> Dual Channel WiFi AC (2.4ghz & 5ghz)

      -> SIM Card / 4G LTE/VoLTE & 3 Years Google Wireless Carrier

      -> Qi Wireless “Turbo” Charging

      -> Two pairs of Google Glass

      -> Carbon Fiber reinforced Titanium Shell

      -> Pre-installed “Activity Light” (c/o Dell)

      -> Free Customizable iPearl mCover (Goodie)

      -> Free 3 Year Extended Soup To Nuts Warranty, w/Free RoundTrip Shipping.

      -> 3×3 Google Drive (Goodie – Free 3TBs for 3-Years/36 months)

      -> 3 Years of free unlimited Google Fiber.

      -> 3 Years Google Unlimited Music

      -> Ballastic Nylon Carrying Case.

      -> Matching AnDroid Smart Phone/Device

      -> FREE SAME DAY GOOGLE EXPRESS SHIPPING INCLUDED

      -> ALL this for only $333.33

      DId I miss anything? Like a -> Google Mind Control Input Thought Helmet device?

      Perhaps this is the Pixel III (Sammy)?

      Some day, and hopefully soon!
      Patiently waiting, wanting, longing for “Precious”

      Thanks for getting my hopes all hot and bothered,
      ATLR

      • Rich

        In the future, kids are going to look at those specs and laugh and say “wow they really used that piece of junk back then?”
        then proceeds to turn on their hologram 1 billion pixel, atomic processor, super mega ultrabook.

        • True so true… And their grandchildren will stare at each other and begin to laugh hysterically pondering how the human race existed for this long, using actual physical hardware VERSUS the infinite wisdom, from the constantly connected, telekinetic-ally navigated, quantum based, HumanNetworked, “WorldWIdeMind”. Ahh, some day!

          • Mi Pen

            And on that era Earth will be no more…it will be renamed Planet Google ™

        • Mi Pen

          And I bet it struggles to run the new future Spartan browser in 1 tab. In windows whatever.

      • Andrew Ryan Reynosa

        I don’t think ChromeOS can even use more than 4GB RAM.

        • Nathan Fletcher

          I sure hope it can because the more ram that it can use the better. For myself, I happen to have close to 30 tabs open on average on c720, and it does really slow the thing down even if there isn’t anything that is being done on the tabs (and thus that they are just being cached on the ssd)

        • toddh

          I put 6gb in my old c710. I know people put up to 16gb in those, and I think ChromeOS uses it.

      • liamdools

        I think 12 inch 1920×1200 would be a better fit, 16:9 and 11 or 13 inches is too cheap.

      • Xdadevet

        Actually I would be satisfied if the Toshiba Chromebook 2 had a Intel 3205U processor. It is thoroughly frustrating that there isn’t a single Chromebook with a decent display and good (at the very least decent) performance, let alone in a compact (13.3″) and light (2.9lb) package. What is the point of a Chromebook if it can’t even scroll a pdf or load a webpage or play a movie properly or if it can it is fuzzy and washed out with low contrast/colour gamut/brightness/viewing angles?

  • dourscot

    Pity that nobody can actually buy the Acer C740 yet.

    • They can’t? Seems like a number of folks have already received their pre-orders.

      • dennis kolumber

        Can’t find a retailer with inventory. I’d like to buy for my son’s 14th bday next week. Any suggestions where?

        • Nathan Fletcher

          Agreed, I can’t find any places to buy the chromebook, but the one that I really have my eye on is the acer chromebook 15, which seems to have the better value for the budget for a college student. I have found out that the screen size of the c720 is just too small to use for long periods of time when you are trying to multitask with multiple windows.

    • Tom Loughlin
  • liamdools

    It’s a shame that the most expensive Chromebook there has the lowest benchmark score. Lenovo’s quality is going downhill, that can’t even be classified as a ThinkPad. What happened to their value?

  • Nathan Fletcher

    Can anyone tell me if the acer chromebook 15 is going to have an option to upgrade it to a full hd ips screen, because I had been hearing rumors about that. If that isn’t the case, does anyone here think that the HP chromebook 14 screen is really that much worse (or better) than the quality of the screen on the acer c720 because if they don’t put an ips screen in, I feel like it is going to be the same quality as the acer c720.

  • maevian

    No 4gb model?

    • BKarno

      There is a 2GB and a 4GB model.

  • Tom Loughlin

    Seems the C740 unboxing link I posted changed. Here is the Youtube link:

    http://youtu.be/qT2j6ivY-Lg.

    Also a full review at http://www.voltron00x.com/?p=649

  • Guest

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  • BKarno

    Ran the benchmark tests on my Pixel “LS”. Octane: 27505 SunSpider: 98.4 Mozilla Kraken: 1188.

    • mjs_28s

      awesome and thanks for posting that.

      I have been search youtube twice per week for Pixel 2 LS benchmarks and there is nothing (as of my typing this).

      • BKarno

        You’re welcome.

  • Dave Lowery

    My chromebook i3 (acer) has an octane score of 16267, so i’m feeling pretty good about that.

  • John Fox

    I bought 200 for my school. We have a screen backligh failure rate of about 2 per day. We are about a month and a half jnto the year and have had to send in 24 of the 200 to be fixed. There is no damage, it just goes dark.

    • zayahv2

      I would suggest the Acer Chromebook with the nvidia tegra k1. I got it for my daughter for school and its a beast. You don’t need an intel chip for a chromebook for school and the tegra has a 13 hour battery life. she charges it around twice a week. 1080 display and a quadcore arm processor. Also since its arm its fanless. No noise and you can cover it up it doesn’t matter.

    • Jay Strumwasser

      we have seen that issue with a bunch of our chromebooks—how can you get them to come out and “fix them”?

      • John Fox

        Jay. We sent in 25 for the exact same problem. Then we started calling. They sent 2 men out to fix the problem. But it is now re-occuring. We are now asking acer to replace that entire batch of 200. Keep at it. What percent are you having problems with.

        • Jay Strumwasser

          I personally have fixed a bunch on my own— we have 100 devices— about 8 have gone back, but I have not been reporting all of them, it costs us time and money to ship them back when I could just replug them in.

          please email me jstrumwasser@challengecharterschools.org if you can so we can continue this conversation.

          Thank you

          • kedwa30

            Why not dab a bit of hot glue to keep the loose connectors in place?

  • Joe Motz

    I’ve got a Acer C720 (C720-3605) with an i3 from 2014 that scored a 14,659 on the Octane benchmark, I’m curious. Was there a reason the C720-3605 wasn’t included in this test?

  • Anna N.

    my macbook pro from 2011 scored better than all of these with all three benchmarking tools. y’all are cavemen struggling to make a fire in stone henge.

    • vbdevpro

      They also cost 1/5th what your MBP cost. Even if you buy your model used right now, it costs twice what these models cost… so… yeah….

  • antonetteclark

    After 5 yrs I decided to abandon my last work and I never felt so good in my life… I started working from my house, over a website I found on-line, several hours each day, and I profit now much more than i did on my last work… Last pay-check i got was for 9 thousand bucks… Amazing thing about it is that now i have more time for my kids… CHILP.IT/728813e

  • vbdevpro

    Dell Chromebook 13 i5 blows all of these away. And your 2011 MacBook pro too.