Chromebooks have the stigma of being low-cost, low-power computers designed to cater to the little needs of offices and schools. That’s despite the existence of some models that rival high-end Windows laptops in specs and even in prices. One computing segment that Chromebooks still don’t sufficiently address is gaming, but that would be changing soon, a minimum of on the hardware side, because of NVIDIA’s efforts to push its RTX technology to Arm processors.
It’s possible to use Chromebooks for gaming, particularly with web apps and a few Android games. The arrival of Google Stadia on some Chromebooks also removes hardware requirements, especially the difference between x86 and ARM CPU architectures. Still, it’s a pretty different matter when a Chromebook is in a position to run games natively, especially titles with heavy graphics needs.
NVIDIA seems to be working towards making that possible by bringing its ray-tracing and machine learning graphics technologies to the ARMS platform. Although there are many Intel-based Chromebooks, ARM still offers one among the simplest combinations of performance and power efficiency.
In a demo it showed off earlier in the week, NVIDIA ran id Software’s Wolfenstein: Youngblood on MediaTek’s new
Kompanion 1200 processor. This demo is impressive because it also utilizes NVIDIA RTX 3060 graphics to feed the graphics-hungry game. The result’s a powerful display of power that you’d only expect from gaming laptops and PCs.
NVIDIA also announced SDKs that bring its latest technologies, including DLSS super sampling, to Linux and Chrome OS. But, of course, hardware is simply one a part of the equation, albeit an equally important one. Google does seem to be collaborating with other partners like Valve to form Chrome OS, a more gaming-worthy platform, a bit like its peers.