The development board, named “Auron” and spotted in the Chromium code repository by hawk-eyed Francois Beaufort, is the first Chrome device to use the 14 nanometer system-on-a-chip design from Intel.
It’s also nice to see the tradition of naming boards after video game characters shows no sign of slowing down!
But why might a Broadwell Chromebook be notable?
Honey, I Shrunk The Processor!
Size matters. At 14nm, Broadwell marks a leap in chip manufacturing for Intel, rather than an overhaul in top-down design. Shrinking the Haswell architecture down into a smaller footprint will, Intel say, ‘significantly’ reduce power consumption without impacting performance.
The benefits of a smaller, less power-hungry processor is thinner, fanless devices.
Broadwell is expected to maintain roughly the same CPU performance as Haswell, maybe even be a little faster, but with lower power consumption and a bump in graphics capabilities of between 20-50% over integrated options currently offered.
The benefits of a smaller, less power-hungry processor should be obvious: thinner, fanless devices.
But before you scream ‘tablet‘ a quick perusal of the available code shows references to a lid, keyboard, trackpad and a touchscreen. USB 3.0, HDMI and DisplayPort ports are also mentioned.
Not all development boards make it out the other side as a device in one piece. As exciting as this device may look and sound on paper be aware that it could change between now and when it hits the shop shelves.