The Acer Chromebook R13 will feature a MediaTek chip.

Acer Chromebook R13 Will Use a MediaTek Chipset – Not Intel

A new chipset is in the works for Acer’s new Chromebook R13.

Guess what chipset it uses? By chipset, I mean processor.

It’s not ARM.

It’s not Intel.

It’s MediaTek. Specifically, the MT8173.

Haven’t heard of them? Neither have I. After doing some research, the only information I could find is that they’re used in smartphones- but don’t dominate any market in particular.

So…why use a new chip manufacturer when ARM or Intel-based Chromebooks have been working just fine since Chromebooks’ inception? Sources say it’s because of the Play store update on Chromebooks.

MediaTek may be worthwhile for Android Chromebook update

In fact, I’ve read that with the Play store’s arrival on Chromebooks, it’s not only just going to change a chipset, but rather Chromebooks themselves. Newer Chromebooks are reportedly going to be more adapt for Android apps, along with offering the current Chrome web store, and the functionality and speed of the Chromebook. Newer Chromebook models will just be more “Andriod app friendly.”

Of these Chromebooks, the Acer R series will utilize the MediaTek chipset. Specifically, the 13.3 inch Acer R13. I’ve scoured the web and there isn’t much information previewing the Acer R13, nor much about the MediaTek chipset. However, it’s been said that this will be first ever Chromebook to use the MediaTek chip rather than ARM or Intel.

Acer Chromebook R13 preview: specs and price

A concept of the Acer 13 Chromebook's body. This is the R13 Windows 10 version.
A concept of the Acer Chromebook R13’s body. This is the R13 Windows 10 version, and offers a flip style scree.

The Acer R13 itself will offer a full HD display with 13.3 inches of screen space. It’ll probably have a flip style touchscreen, similar to the R11. The chipset will be the MT8173 2.0Ghz quad-core processor, and will offer your standard 4GB of RAM and an optional of 16 or 32GB SSD. As for WiFi connectivity, it’ll be your standard 802.11AC WiFI. I’m not sure if it’ll have the 16/32GB SSD options to be precise, it may just include one or the other.

Given Acer’s way of making Chromebooks, and based on the other specs, it’s likely to have both options available.

The MediaTek MT8173 is reported to be a mid-range chipset from the company MediaTek. It’s not their high-end chip, nor is it their low-end chip either. But why the change to MediaTek from Intel?

Why MediaTek versus Intel on the Acer Chromebook R13?

Is it really more adapted to run Android apps on Chromebooks? More than the giant Intel? Or is it just more efficient because perhaps Intel-based chips have more than enough power that is underutilized and demand a higher price? Or is it just cheaper to use MediaTek? Given that this Chromebook will run about $450, it’s a moderate price. It’s definitely more expensive than the average Chromebook, and it’s most likely not the chipset. It’s probably the body style. Flip style and convertible Chromebooks run at a higher price than their traditional counterparts.

MediaTek chipsets are already in use in certain smartphones, however, even then it’s hard to find much information about the chips.

Here’s a video comparing performance of MediaTek vs. Snapdragon chipsets in smartpones to give you a more detailed look at the company and their chips:

Other things I’d like to know is how the MediaTek chip compares to Intel processors. Will it really be more efficient and adept at running Android apps? Should Intel already be best suited for pretty much any situation- Andriod app or not? Will MediaTek be a cheaper solution? Will MediaTek be able to run Minecraft? Will it have a coprocessor like Intel HD graphics? Or will Acer just rely on the motherboard’s integrated graphics? How does it compare with Intel in efficiency, performance, and compatibility? Will it bring MediaTek out of the woodwork? Or will it doom them? Why MediaTek? Why why why?

Given that the MediaTek chip is practically unheard of in the Chromebook market, or any market besides smartphones, and the high price of the Acer R13, this move by Acer is a risky one indeed.

About Andy Z.

Andy is a casual-hardcore Chrome OS fan and contributes to the site regularly. He likes computers, tech, sports cars, videogames, and of course, Chromebooks. Thinker. Introvert. Geek. You can find him on Twitter (@platytech), or send him an email (platy@platypusplatypus.com).

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