If you’re seeking yourself: “Should we buy a Core i9 laptop?” don’t worry. We can assistance we cut by a hype, innuendo, and specs so we can make a right decision.
Frankly, a name itself is adequate to upset infrequent observers. In desktops, a Core i9 code indicates a processor packs a ton some-more CPU cores (10 to 18) than a other “Core” brands (4 to 8). But today, Core i9 in laptops mostly usually signifies aloft time speeds—not some-more CPU cores. The 6-core, 12-thread Core i9-8950HK laptop chip has a bottom time of 2.9GHz with a boost speed of 4.8GHz, for example. Intel’s new 8th-gen Core i7-8850H laptop chip also packs 6 cores and 12 threads, yet slower speeds during 2.6GHz bottom and 4.3GHz boost.
So a scold question, really, should be “Should we buy a laptop with a 6-core, 8th-gen Intel CPU?” Our central answer: it depends. To find out what it depends on, review on.
The Core i9 laptops we can buy
Only a handful of Core i9 laptops were suggested when Intel announced the Core i9-8950HK. They’re all high-performing beasts, as you’d design from notebooks carrying Intel’s initial 6-core mobile gaming chips, and come with grievous cost tags to match.
- Alienware 17: Core i9, GTX 1080, 16GB RAM, 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD with a 1TB 7200RPM HDD, 1440p 120Hz G-Sync arrangement – $3,699 on Dell.com
- Asus ROG G703: Core i9, GTX 1080, 32GB RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD with a 2TB hybrid drive, 1080p 144Hz G-Sync arrangement – $3,699 on Amazon.com
- Gigabyte Aorus X9: Core i9, GTX 1080, 32GB RAM, 1TB NVMe SSD with a 1TB HDD, 1080p 144Hz G-Sync arrangement – $3,899 on Amazon.com
- MSI G75 Titan: Core i9, GTX 1080, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD with a 1TB HDD – $3,999 on Newegg.com with a 1080p 120Hz G-Sync display, or $4,499 on Newegg.com with a 4K 60Hz display
If we need multi-threaded performance: Yes
If we gaunt tough on your processor, a brief answer is yes! Buy a 6-core laptop.
The longer answer is yes, yet usually if we truly use those CPU threads. If we revise video, describe 3D scenes, or do any charge that’s typically multi-threaded, we will see a outrageous opening boost by going with a 6-core chip over a 4-core chip.
Adding cores will also generally urge opening if we also tend to do a many things simultaneously. And while a immeasurable infancy of games won’t unequivocally use all 6 cores, a additional hardware will be a blessing if we tide to Twitch or Mixer while we game, or if we revise video of your adventures to post on YouTube. Upgrading to a 6-core Core i9 or Core i7 is a inestimable investment for gamers who also emanate content.
If we need single-threaded performance: Maybe
Like we said, a immeasurable infancy of games and applications aren’t heavily multi-threaded. They generally advantage some-more from fewer cores using during aloft time speeds than they would from a six-core chip.
The many opening we can wring out of a laptop will still expected come from a Core i9 laptop. It runs faster than any other 8th-gen mobile processor, and there’s also a new “Thermal Velocity Boost” underline in Core i9 hardware that allows for aloft time speeds when a chip is next 50 degrees Celsius.
But in general, these 8th-gen chips should run during aloft time speeds than their predecessors. The alleviation in single-threaded opening won’t be as far-reaching as it is with multi-threaded yet it’ll still be improved than what was typically accessible before. If we don’t direct rise performance, though, a 6-core Core i7 chips will no doubt cost reduction than Core i9 and still broach excellent results. Heck, a 6-core Core i5-8400H is usually a hair slower than a tip Core i7 chip in tender time speeds, yet it doesn’t have multi-threading.
If we wish Optane Memory: Maybe
Intel’s Optane Memory ($38 on Amazon) is flattering nifty stuff. Designed to urge tough expostulate opening during workloads many people use rather than usually fake benchmarks, a categorical problem was we could usually use it in a complement with a unique tough drive. People wanted to use it in a complement with a handling complement on a normal SSD, and with Optane boosting a delegate tough expostulate packed with bulk files. Well now we can.
Besides zodiacally adding support for Optane Memory on a new 8th-gen chips, Intel also combined a mode that lets we use Optane Memory with delegate drives. This means that on systems that can accommodate mixed tough drives, we can foot to an SSD and use a Optane Memory to cache your large fat tough expostulate where all of your games are installed—exactly what everybody asked for. It’s unequivocally a win-win for those who can’t fit all onto their primary SSD.
Core i9 laptops can take advantage of Optane Memory technology, yet it’s not disdainful to high-end chips. Laptops with reduction absolute Core i5 and Core i7 processors can take advantage of Optane’s caching as well.
If we wish to overclock: Yes
If we intend to overclock your laptop, a usually mobile 8th-gen chip that comes “fully unlocked” is a Core i9-8950HK. Like a desktop counterpart, a Core i9 allows some-more knobs for overclocking a chip properly.
This this time though, Intel is also introducing semi-unlocked or “partial” unbarred CPUs to concede for milder overclocking exploits. The 6-core Core i7-8850H will be partially unbarred and concede adult to a 400MHz overclock or 4 multiplier ratios to be set. Whether your gaming laptop can indeed support those overclocks is adult to a cooling, yet this means we competence be see overclocking on laptops it wasn’t formerly accessible on. Nevertheless, Core i9 is your usually choice if we wish to holder clocks as high as probable with no restrictions.
If we already have a complicated gaming laptop: No
As many as everybody likes to contend a CPU matters in gaming, a law is that a GPU is still king. Yes, a aloft clocked 8th-gen chip will produce some-more frames per second than a predecessors, yet if we have a comparatively new gaming laptop with a quad-core CPU and a Maxwell or Pascal-based GPU, it doesn’t make clarity to rush out to buy a new one “just” for gaming.
If we usually caring about gaming: No
Six-core CPUs make a disproportion in video encoding, 3D digest and a multitude of other applications that hit—but not in gaming. So if we can find a blow-out understanding on a stream 7th-gen gaming laptop with a GeForce GTX 1060, a gaming knowledge is expected to be flattering darned tighten to what you’d get in an 8th-gen Core i9 gaming laptop with a GeForce GTX 1060 inside, solely in a handful of diversion types. So if a cost is right on a 7th-gen “Kaby Lake” gaming laptop, take advantage of it, or save income on a same volume of cores by opting for a Core i7 8th-gen laptop.
If you’re watchful for Nvidia’s new GPUs: Not yet
So if gaming is still mostly about a GPU, you’ll always see a many crash for a sire with a bigger GPU. Nvidia’s GTX 10-series is now 19 months aged and counting. A inheritor is expected—fingers crossed—by a finish of this year. And that means a saddest chairman on a world will be a one who buys a GeForce GTX 1080 laptop a day before a GeForce GTX 2080 (or GTX 1180) laptop is released.
If we wish to lay on your hands and continue to diversion on your GeForce GTX 680M until those new GPUs appear, it’s ideally understandable. Quite reasonable too.
If we wish AMD Ryzen inside: Maybe
Of all of a reasons demonstrated for not shopping a Core i9 gaming laptop, this one is substantially a many unreasonable. While AMD’s Ryzen CPU lineup has proven to be a loyal manly aspirant on a desktop, a association hasn’t pushed out mobile CPUs that contest with Intel’s absolute H-series of chips. Mobile Ryzens APUs are in a opposite joining of performance. Asus expelled a Ryzen gaming laptop ($1,499 on Amazon), yet it used an 8-core Ryzen 7 1700 desktop processor in it.
If you’re truly going to reason your exhale watchful for a some-more absolute gaming laptop with Ryzen inside, we competence be holding it for a prolonged time. But yes, we know, you’ll still do it anyway since we didn’t get a Ryzen tattoo for nothing.