Acer AMD Ryzen Chromebook Spin 514

I’d pass on the new AMD Ryzen Chromebook at $549

Earlier this week, I reported that the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 appeared on Acer’s site for purchase. And like clockwork, this ChromeOS laptop with a AMD Ryzen CPU showed up at Best Buy for the same price. It’s new and shiny, so you should get it, right? I’m not so sure. I’d probably pass on this new AMD Ryzen Chromebook at $549.

No, I don’t have a review unit. Nor have I used it. Typically, I try not to pass judgment on devices that I haven’t personally tested. In this case, I’m making an exception though.

Here’s why.

Acer Chromebook Spin 514

Acer announced this device back in May, saying there were four AMD processors in upcoming Chromebooks. These chipsets were said to use AMD’s Zen 3 chip architecture. Out of the four chipsets, the new Acer Chromebook Spin 514 uses base Ryzen chip.

AMD Chromebook processors for 2022

Specifically, it’s the AMD Ryzen 3 5125C. That chip has 2 CPU cores, each capable of running a pair of processing threads, for a total of 4. The maximum clock speed is 3.0 GHz. These CPUs are supplemented by a trio of GPU cores. The 8 GB of included memory is shared between the Radeon graphics and the CPU.

While that may sound good, this is really a slight upgrade from the prior AMD chipsets found in Chromebooks from 2019. Of course, if you never used an AMD Chromebook from then, you haven nothing to compare this model to.

That’s where Geekbench comes in. This benchmarking toolset lets you compare performance test results between two different devices. And in the case of this new AMD Ryzen Chromebook, the results are on par with a 10th gen Intel Core i5 processor, notes Chrome Unboxed.

AMD Ryzen Chromebook benchmarks
Image courtesy of Chrome Unboxed

Armed with that info, from a performance standpoint, I’m wondering why any significant number of buyers would drop $549 on this.

You could pick up an Amazon refurbished Acer Chromebook 713 with 11th gen Intel Core i5 with the same 8 GB of memory and double the storage for $519.00? It was my pick for Chromebook of the year in 2020.

If the refurbished condition scares you, the old Acer Chromebook 713 with Intel Core i5 can still be found for $539, brand new.

Acer Chromebook Spin 713
Acer Chromebook Spin 713

The newest Acer Chromebook Spin 514 just feels like a stop-gap, transition device that’s late to the game. But maybe I’m being too harsh here. Perhaps there’s some aspect of this 2022 device that you couldn’t get in 2020, or those devices were simply too expensive at the time. Let me know what you think.

Me, personally, I’d probably pass on this new AMD Ryzen Chromebook. At least at its full price; a discount of $100 or more changes the equation.

The device isn’t really pushing the needle forward in a meaningful way, at least not on paper, anyway. And it essentially competes with the higher performing Spin 713 from 2021, which can often be found on sale at a similar price.

It’s really the next generation of AMD processors, or one of the more capable ones from this generation, that I expect to really appeal. Maybe some hands on time, or upcoming reviews will change my mind. What do you think?

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11 thoughts on “I’d pass on the new AMD Ryzen Chromebook at $549

    1. I am showing “unavailable nearby” for this guy. Otherwise I would have bought it. On their website only the 10th gen Core i3 models are available. On Amazon it is only available from resellers. Makes me think that stock is running low. Hopefully a refresh is nigh.

      1. Mine shows open box 11-gen i5’s at $299 and $309… which seems like a helluva deal if you don’t mind a couple signs of having been used before being returned.

  1. Beyond your comments and concerns that I agree with, I also noticed there are 3 USB’s, no other ports (pretty common) but not even an expansion slot. I have 2 lower end Acer’s (older) both with expansion and headphone jack, and one with HDMI…weird science…

  2. I really don’t think that it is a stopgap. I believe that these chips were delayed due to the TSMC crunch that delayed some chips by over a year, and even then were only delivered in small numbers. Snapdragon Gen 3 chips, MediaTek 8192 and 8195, AMD Zen 3+ and Zen 4 (which still haven’t launched), the PS5, XBox One X and Steam Deck chips, Intel ARC GPUs etc. They were able to get the Apple and flagship smartphone chips out on time and in large volumes but everything else had to take a back seat.

    The problem is that Acer chose the 5125C for a device that costs $550. Use the 5625C? Great, but I admit you probably either lose a few bucks on margin or need to charge $575-$600. The 5425C? Fine. Put the 5125C in a chunky plastic frame with a 1366×768 screen for $350-$400? Again, great. Instead, the Steam Deck has an APU that I believe to be a hybrid of the 5625C and 5425C (Ryzen 5 cores but 4 of them instead of the 5625C’s 6) – and starts at $399, and that is even with an RDNA 2 GPU and 16 GB RAM. If Acer was trying to hit a price point instead of choosing the cheapest chip they should have chosen a less expensive hardware kit that would have allowed them to use the Ryzen 5, or at least the better Ryzen 3.

  3. the best buy 713’s are not available for purchase at this time….they are on the site but you cant add it to your cart. I had a chat with customer service… rep tells me to check back in the near future 🙁

  4. I am currently using a 4 year old acer spin with a celeron, so am looking for a new chromebook, ideally with a bit more kick, but the emmc frightens me off. There is a better option available from lenovo. I’ve had a number of SD cards fail in phones, tablets and cameras usually within a couple of years, so having a primary drive that is basically an sd card soldered to the board, is a risk I don’t want to take. From personal experience, I think it is probably something between 15%-30% chance of failure in two years. It makes it potentially an expensive option, unless it also comes with a 5 yr warranty that specifically excludes emmc failure from all wear and tear clauses. Should we really be making devices which have be thrown away after a couple of years when we have all these shortages of Lithium and rare earth minerals? Overall it looks a nice machine, but that just makes it worse, as it is exploiting people of limited means by apparently offering that looks like they might get some use out of it, but in fact is an unrepairable, disposable item.

  5. I concur with all you say Kate, and go round’n’round about Chromebooks myself. And I happen to own a few, and have owned a few others no longer in my possession. By luck I’ve had no storage failure, and would stick with ACER or HP. I currently have one each of those and one each of ASUS (never again) and Lenovo (never again).
    BTW, I don’t know if you’ll see this, or if you reply, if I’ll see it. The notifications aren’t reliable here… 🙁

  6. Unless you want to do Steam games – which you can’t on the 512C on this anyway – this is a much better deal for $600 than paying $560 for the Spin 514:

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/acer-chromebook-spin-513-13-5-touch-100-srgb-display-mediatek-kompanio-1380-8gb-lpddr4x-128gb-emmc-chrome-os/6516933.p?skuId=6516933

    From the benchmarks that I have seen, the CPU is JUST good enough for software and IT work. Oh yeah, can someone recommend a good dock for Chromebooks? My current one will only recognize one monitor at a time.

  7. It is even worse than we thought. AMD Ryzen 3 5125C my foot. According to the naming scheme that was just publicized, all x1xxx chips are actually Athlon chips!

    So yeah, Acer is charging $550 for the equivalent of a Pentium Gold device. We should stick with Intel and ARM Chromebooks until AMD gets serious.

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