Your next Chromebook could include a dedicated GPU

Google Pixelbook Go Review open with pixel 4

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  • Chromium OS source code hints at a Chromebook with a dedicated GPU.
  • “Mushu” would mate an AMD Vega-based discrete chip with an Intel 10th Gen Core processor.
  • Speculation suggests it might be a Steam-ready Chromebook meant for gaming.

You probably don’t think of Chromebooks as gaming machines unless you’re a Stadia fan, but that might change before long. Chrome Unboxed has discovered Chromium OS source code hinting at a Chromebook with a dedicated GPU — the first known Google-powered laptop to pack that kind of graphics power.

The Chromebook, codenamed Mushu, would use an AMD Vega 12-based GPU — not the integrated Vega 11 you find in certain processors. Mushu would pair the graphics chip with a 10th Gen Intel Core processor, but it wouldn’t involve one of Intel’s briefly available hybrid CPUs with AMD video.

See also: The best Chromebook games from Google Play

Wccftech spotted the Chromebook GPU on eBay in 2020. At the time, the chip included 1,024 compute cores, 4GB of video memory and native Linux support that would make Chrome OS support relatively easy. The hardware had been in development since 2018.

CU speculated that the machine might be used for gaming. Mushu is a variant on the Hatch board currently being used to test Steam on Chromebooks through Borealis. Between that and Valve’s gaming-friendly Proton compatibility layer, it’s possible that the Chromebook might use its GPU to run Steam games — insofar as it can with the historically limited local storage and memory on Chrome OS devices.

Whether or not the Chromebook is built with Steam in mind, the GPU could alter the landscape for Chrome OS systems. To date, gaming on a Chromebook has typically involved installing Android apps or playing web-only titles that won’t stress the integrated graphics. While no one would mistake this Chromebook for a high-performance gaming PC, it might be quick enough to run titles that just weren’t feasible on Chrome OS computers in the past.

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