ARM vs Intel CPU's On Chrome OS

Personally, I’m looking for a new laptop, and was considering picking up a Chromebook. However, this thread can serve as a discussion thread about Chrome OS and the hardware that is available for it.

A few questions to consider before moving on:

  • Should I get a Chromebook with an ARM processor, or an Intel one?

  • Do I really need a Chromebook in the first place?

  • Do you use Chromebooks, and if so, what recommendations do you have?

OK, now that you have those questions in mind, here is the low down on my situation:

I recently had a laptop die on me, and I don’t really wanna spend the money on hardware that I won’t ever fully utilize. Hence, the idea of Chromebook has slowly grown on me.

The only thing I’ll use this thing for is probably just browsing the web, Runescape (Mobile version on the Google Play Store), and the occasional productivity stuff (basic word processing, etc)

Something with over 128GB of fast storage would be preferable, but I don’t really think I’ll need much more than that. And battery life over 6 hours would be great, and should be realistic given the power efficiency of these devices. Also, I don’t wanna spend over $400 on a Chromebook. Much more than that, you’re looking at a half decent Windows laptop.


Don’t have many thoughts on chrombook’s per se, but thoughts on ARM vs Intel:
While ARM is a perfectly viable CPU in terms of its raw throughput these days being absolutely comparable to mobile/portable offerings from intel we HAVE NOT reached a point where software has migrated sufficiently for use of an ARM CPU for daily driving not to be a sacrifice…

There was a great rundown of this that matches my experience with Sparc, Alpha and x86 alternatives over the years. PCWorld is the channel - here is the video:

The short version is:

  1. speaking of windows - there is some native arm software out there - office, explorer, edge, chrome - it performs well or better than mobile x86
  2. it can emulate x86 software - great!
  3. performance and battery life of that emulated software is bad…

So, for now, I’d say you are better off with x86 because the “ecosystem” is still hard-wired to it. That may change in the next few years, but… that’s the future, this is now. Your battery cares about the electrons its moving now.

If you only do chromeOS things and there is native arm software for all your things… go for it…

But ARM on Chrome OS should be just fine then, right? I don’t really care about Windows 10 running on ARM. Like you said, software isn’t there yet.

Good thing because if you get a chrome book, thats all you’ll really be doing.


Well, in that case the question is is one I can’t answer in terms of the chrome store… are they providing native ARM binaries for the apps you use or are they relying on emulation?

If they are native, then yes, ARM will be just fine. In the ~3GHz and under world of mobile/portable, Intel has little if any advantage.

Get ARM if you dont care about the best performance and want battery life. Get ARM if you dont really plan on using a bunch of software on it.

If you need it to do literally anything else, just get a normal laptop.

IMO, intel chromebooks are only worth it if you plan on turning around and installing linux on it.

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I can hear @tsk reeeeing form here… lol

It’s basically all I did before. I would occasionally boot up a virtual machine on my old laptop, but not for anything important. Virtual Box on a Chromebook is a meme, and if I was doing anything of substance, it would be on my main rig at home anyway.

What about an older thinkpad x1 carbon?

Which gen?

idk 3rd maybe?




No, my experience has been with chromeboxes.

Most chromebooks come with eMMC unfortunately.

Compare the hardware and not the OS.

@BehindTheTimes The HP is a pretty good buy.

Does memory amount matter? 4gb vs 8gb?

Yes, but slightly less than a windows PC.

Chrome is chrome so…

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Wasnt there an ARM Laptop for 200$ somewhere? I bet that could squeeze where you would like to have such device.

I guess for CLI stuff to a remote server and doing mostly software thingys in the bash (if it runs on arm :man_shrugging:) i guess its ok.

Yeah, the PineBook pro? It’s not out yet, but will be shortly.

EDIT: price is supposed to be $199

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This looks neat, but would involve me having to deal with Linux on a daily basis. Not sure my lazy brain and I will get along with that.

Definitely cheap enough to be considered though.

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Or, you might be able to run chromium os on it, or android or whatever.

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I don’t think Chrome OS is offered as is by Google. There was the Neverware version of Chromium OS, but the free version doesn’t run Android apps, which is a little annoying. Ruins the Chromebook Vision™.

But honestly, Linux checks most of my requirement boxes, except for the fact that I will have to deal with Linux being Linux on new hardware.