If there is something a passionate gamer cannot stand, it is a loss of fluidity…a loss of speed, detail, and sustenance. This is why it is sensible to invest in a laptop that understands gaming just like you do—for instance, an Intel Core i9 laptops infused with the latest NVIDIA RTX graphics cards.
You are talking a winsome blend of the high-speed 9th generation i9 processor and the innovative RTX with real-time ray tracing and AI-enhanced graphics (artificial intelligence). If you assume this combination is going to make a stunning difference to your gameplay, you will hit the nail on its head.
Also, if you already have a competent gaming laptop with an i7 (or even an i9) and NVIDIA GTX graphics, does it still make sense for you to leap into the RTX world?
In this comprehensive review, we answer all these questions while presenting you with a carefully handpicked list of purchase options.
- What is Core i9 processor? How Fast Is Core i9?
- Who Needs an Intel Core i9 Laptop?
- Our Picks: Top 10 Best i9 Laptop 2021
- 1. MSI GE76 Raider i9-11980HK Laptop
- 2. MSI GE66 Raider (i9-11980HK + RTX 3080)
- 3. MSI GE76 Dragon TIAMAT i9 Gaming Laptop
- 4. New Alienware x17 R1 Gaming Laptop
- 5. GIGABYTE AERO 15 OLED (11th Gen Intel Core i9)
- 6. Alienware X15 R1 Core i9-11900H Laptop
- 7. ASUS Strix SCAR 15 Powerful i9 Laptop
- 8. MSI GS66 Stealth Lightweight i9 Laptop
- 9. Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 i9 Laptop for Creators
- 10. MSI GS75 Stealth 17-inch i9 Laptop
- 8th Gen Intel Core i9-8950HK vs 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9980HK
- Intel Core i9-9880H vs Intel Core i7-9750H
- Intel Core i9-9880H and Intel Core i9-9980HK Gaming Performance
- What to Hunt for in an Intel i9 Gaming Laptop with RTX
- The Long and Short of It
What is Core i9 processor? How Fast Is Core i9?
One of the CPUs in the Core “i” series, the Core i9 has become a go-to choice for gamers, creative professionals, animators, multimedia enthusiasts, and anyone who desires high-end performance from their computer.
The Core i9 CPU was first introduced in 2017. Since then, its 14nm process technology and Skylake-X microarchitecture have become crowd favorites. Not only does the i9 provide terrific speed and efficiency but it is also a winner on many other fronts, such as graphics (Intel UHD Graphics) and the number of PCI Express Lanes (16).
Currently, it is available in several models, such as the i9-11980HK, the i9-11900H, and the i9-11950H.
So, how fast is a Core i9 processor? Incredibly fast! The i9-11980HK can be turbo-boosted up to 5 GHz. Even the i9-11980HK can be boosted up to a magnificent 4.9GHz. Also, this CPU supports hyper-threading, which makes a mammoth difference to the performance, considering the i9 has eight cores (and hence, 16 threads).
Most of the CPUs in this line-up also have a large cache size (12MB–16MB), and this leads to a further performance upswing. So, let’s just say, it is no wonder that the i9 has started ruling the roost in the laptop marketplace.
Who Needs an Intel Core i9 Laptop?
Me, me! Those involuntary screams aside, let us do some soul-searching. Here are some scenarios that warrant a purchase/upgrade:
- You’re a professional or competitive gamer: Read someone who participates in gaming marathons and competitions, truly understands the difference that a split second can make, and wishes to push the envelope in both performance and graphics.
- You aspire for lifelike imagery: The RTX cards based on Turing architecture bring real-time ray tracing to the table. This means that every source of in-game light will mimic the behavior of light in real life. You can experience shadows, lights, and special effects like you never imagined. The AI-led image enhancement through DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) is also a major triumph.
- You could do with a performance boost: Granted, everyone can, but an Intel i9 with RTX will deliver the extra drive to play AAA games at the highest settings. If you are content with gameplay at low to mid settings (many GTX cards and Intel i5/i7 CPUs deliver a LOT for their price), you might not appreciate the jump.
- You have the (huge) budget: A gaming laptop in this league will set you back by anything between $3000 and $4000 or more. Be warned.
Our Picks: Top 10 Best i9 Laptop 2021
For ardent lovers of gaming, a Core i9 processor is a true-blue delight. Not only does it lend you immense processing power for modern AAA games, but it also increases the ease of multitasking.
Straight up, you can get up to 16 threads and a Turbo frequency of 5GHz. With a Core i9 CPU in your laptop, you can be assured of high speeds and dependable performance, no matter how draining the game. This processor is also loved by creative professionals like animators and filmmakers.
Best i9 Laptop – Recommended Specs
|Processor||11th Generation Intel Core i9-11980HK|
Octa-Core Processor (Up to 5 GHz)
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080|
16GB dedicated GDDR6 VRAM
|Memory||32GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory|
|Storage||1TB PCIe NVMe SSD|
|Display||17.3″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) 360Hz|
|Weight||Under 6 lbs.|
|Battery||Up to 8 Hours|
|Keyboard||4-Zone RGB Backlit Keyboard|
|OS||Windows 10 Home 64-bit|
In light of the steady increase in demand for gaming laptops, many leading tech companies have come up with suitable offerings.
When you purchase a Core i9 device, it is recommended to seek out an immersive display, high-quality sound and excellent connectivity options.
Here, we have consolidated some worthy options in this realm, offering you tremendous ease of gaming along with unparalleled reliability.
1. MSI GE76 Raider i9-11980HK Laptop
If you’re on the lookout for a 17.3” gaming laptop with a 11th gen. CPU and RTX 30 series graphics, then the MSI GE76 Raider is an option worth exploring.
It is a great all-rounder gaming machine that is driven by Intel Core i9-11980HK CPU and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics.
Supporting the processor is RAM up to 64GB and a 1TB SSD for ample, high-speed storage. The display boasts of a refresh rate of 360Hz and a narrow bezel design to give you an engaging experience.
The display on this MSI Raider GE76 benefits from a full color gamut of 100% sRGB and 72% NTSC. The FHD screen is fitted with an IPS-Level panel that makes it convenient to play from different viewing positions.
To its merit, this laptop also makes possible a swift response time of 3ms which gives you a fantastic edge on the battlefield. These specs complement the RTX graphics to a T, creating gaming sessions that unleash the full glory of real-time ray tracing, artificial intelligence (for enhanced imagery), and programmable shading.
We love how this machine employs a GIANT speaker system (Dynaudio) to improve the sound output. Great sound and great gaming go hand in hand, which makes this a totally winsome provision.
The per-key RGB backlit keyboard is also well constructed with translucent key edges; the lighting enhances the overall aura of the game.
A highlight of this laptop is its awe-inspiring aura with diamond cut trims and a dragon spine design—both of which help lend it a premium, powerful look. On the flipside, it weighs 6.39 lbs and is 1.08” thick.
This makes it a brilliant option if you’re looking more at a stationary powerhouse. You can easily plug into multiple displays using the HDMI and the mini display port (up to 4K or 3840 x 2160 at 120Hz) and build a virtual world right in the comfort of home.
2. MSI GE66 Raider (i9-11980HK + RTX 3080)
For the gamers out there looking for the best Core i9 gaming laptop to add to their collection, the MSI GE66 Raider is the perfect choice.
The device is powered by the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics that has further been developed to take your gaming experience up by a notch.
But, the one feature of this device that makes this the best out of the good is the aurora lighting feature that it comes with.
The oblique design gives this a modern and trendy look with the most durable exterior. The device is well equipped with a 15.6” UHD display that helps you play the best game without affecting your vision.
The device is also equipped with 2TB NVMe SSD along with up to 32GB RAM for an effortless gaming experience beyond experience.
3. MSI GE76 Dragon TIAMAT i9 Gaming Laptop
Next up on the list of the best Core i9 laptops is the MSI GE76 Dragon TIAMAT. But, this is not a device like the ones that you come across.
This is everything that you could possibly want and more.
Integrated with the latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics, this device is designed for the gamers who want something trendy and in style. The 11th gen Intel Core i9-11980HK processor is here to blow your mind off (in the best sense possible).
The diamond cut trims in the device further gives it a very classy look and feel that you wouldn’t find with anything else. The 3D Dragon Spine design is here to make you want to buy it without questions.
The 360Hz ultra high refresh rate provides you with the most vibrant display without any complaints. It also lets you multitask up to 3 monitors. And, the dedicated thermal system ensures that you never have to once worry about the cooling system of the device.
4. New Alienware x17 R1 Gaming Laptop
Thinnest Alienware with all the power you expect
When Dell launched the Alienware line-up, the laptops clicked almost instantly—they were super powerful and super ambitious.
With time, Dell has invested in thinning down the Alienware series, and the latest Alienware x17 r1 gaming laptop at 6.65lbs and 0.8” is the thinnest yet.
It boasts of a premium, magnesium-alloy construction and a chassis (the nebula red is especially striking) that is both sturdy and lightweight.
Inside, you get sheer brilliance with an Intel core i9-11980HK, up to 32GB RAM, up to 2TB SSD memory, and, of course, RTX 3080 graphics. The 87WHr battery lasts longer than older models.
Dell employs an innovative cooling system (cryo-tech with dual fans, copper fins, and heat pipes) to keep this laptop functioning undisturbed at the highest settings. It also packages the new Alienware with contemporary features sure to cater to game aficionados—a front-facing camera, Killer Networking, and a command center that allow you to regulate everything from the hardware to the AlienFX lighting.
Note that the display offered on this laptop includes a UHD screen and a 100% sRGB color gamut. However, the refresh rate is somewhat low at 120Hz.
5. GIGABYTE AERO 15 OLED (11th Gen Intel Core i9)
Gorgeous 4K UHD display with thin bezel and Pantone certification
All those who aspire for a gaming laptop that genuinely understands the importance of crystal-clear imagery, brilliant colors, and immersive display say aye!
The GIGABYTE AERO 15 OLED gaming laptop devotes itself unabashedly to visual glory with NVIDIA RTX 3080 graphics, a 4K UHD display, a super-thin bezel, Pantone certification. Both the color accuracy and the spectrum (100% DCI-P3) of this 15.6” laptop exceed the offerings of many contemporaries, lifting your gaming from just enjoyable to downright marvelous.
The AERO 15 is also the world’s first Azure AI notebook—a technology that uses artificial intelligence to fine-tune the CPU and GPU. The kind of silence and efficiency you get in heat management and performance is exemplary.
It is especially gratifying when you factor in the high-power Intel i9 CPU with a promised performance hike of 50%, 32GB RAM, and 512GB+1TB of SSD storage.
Interestingly, the battery life on this machine also lasts for a good ten hours which is splendid by gaming standards.
Along with that spellbinding display and performance, you also get an RGB gaming keyboard with 16.77 million colors, Killer DoubleShot Pro for bandwidth control, Nahimic 3 audio, Thunderbolt-3 ports, and USB 3.1 ports.
With a weight of 4.4lbs and a profile of 0.7”, this laptop is also one of the most portable picks on this list.
6. Alienware X15 R1 Core i9-11900H Laptop
Brilliantly unleashing the full power of the latest 11th gen. Intel Core i9-11900H processor is the 15” Alienware x15 R1 gaming laptop that delivers unparalleled speed and performance with overclocking up to 4.9GHz.
Alongside, it offers a beautiful display with NVIDIA RTX 3080 graphics and a unique Alienware Cryo-Tech technology that never lets things get too heated to play.
The 5 lbs-, 0.6”-height machine at a starting price of $3,399.99 also boasts of battery backup up to 87WHr!
The Alienware x15 has lag-free, immersive gaming running in its veins, thanks to the 11th gen Intel Core i9-11900H processor complemented by 32GB RAM, 2TB SSD, and a secure Windows 10 Pro OS.
The machine is built with battle-ready components: magnesium, copper and anodized aluminum. The innovative hinge-forward design keeps the innards cool.
Dell’s investment towards sustainability and security also includes Alien Autopsy, Alienware Respawn and Dell Support, which facilitate issue-monitoring, automatic backup, and warranty services respectively.
This laptop comes equipped with NVIDIA graphics—RTX 3060, 3070 or RTX 3080. You get a realistic alternate world with zero tearing, lag or stuttering.
Delightfully, the light-and-sound glamour doesn’t end up with the screen. An optimized speaker box enhances the audio for realistic gameplay. The Alienware AlienFX keyboard is beautifully lit, supporting 4-zone RGB/LED AlienFX lighting (16.8 million colors) for more than 170 games.
The computer intelligently links system settings with your gaming library, letting you download customized themes and control settings from a unified user interface (Ace Library Science).
To keep connected to peers and peripherals, this Alienware offers a USB 3.2 Gen 1 (4 ports) with the Thunderbolt port supporting speeds up to 40Gbps. A Killer WiFi 6E provides wireless networking, and there’s also a mini-display port, an HDMI, and a graphics amplifier port.
The laptop follows a desktop-like design, so your cables and ports are hidden at the back, keeping gaming unobstructed.
The bottom-line is evident: The Alienware x15 R1 offers a fantastic Intel Core i9-11900H processor—among the best you can lay your hands on now. But alongside, you also get to enjoy incredible graphics, and a highly connected experience. Simply put: an all-rounder!
7. ASUS Strix SCAR 15 Powerful i9 Laptop
Another beast from ASUS with the latest i9-10980HK processor is the ASUS Strix SCAR 15.
Aside from the fact that this is every gamer’s dream, it also comes in a budget price, ensuring that you never have to compromise on that at all.
The device is also powered by the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER GPU with ROG Boost for an even better experience unlike anything else. The 300Hz refresh rate is here to uplift your overall experience for the better.
Aside from the latest ROG thermal cooling system, the device also supports up to 2TB SSD storage along with 32GB SDRAM for an even better experience unlike anything else that you will come across.
The RGB backlit keyboard along with the 15.6” IPS display makes sure you never have to complain about the money you spent.
8. MSI GS66 Stealth Lightweight i9 Laptop
One of the best things about the MSI GS66 Stealth is that it’s equipped with the latest 10th Gen Core i9 processor to take your overall user experience from minimal to superlative.
Aside from the fact that the device comes with a stunning all-black design, you are not going to get enough of the remaining configurations of the device.
Paired with the latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER graphics processor and a refresh rate of 300Hz, this device is here to take your overall user experience to the next level. If you want smoother gameplay, this device is your friend.
The Cooler Boost Trinity with 0.1mm thin blades that ensure better stability and performance. The 99.9Whr battery further steals the show with long lasting battery life and improved gameplay unlike anything else.
9. Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 i9 Laptop for Creators
The unique “Screenpad Plus” and ergonomic design make the 15.6” Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 a fine choice for gamers and multimedia enthusiasts.
This Intel Core i9-10980HK laptop features a 4K UHD display with a narrow bezel along with a matte touchscreen for improved productivity and multitasking.
Using this screenpad, you can split applications across screens, scroll through video timelines, control tracks while recording, etc., thus opening up a whole world of creative possibilities.
Performance-wise, Asus has equipped this device with 32GB RAM and a 1TB SSD. It also includes NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics.
To its merit, this celestial-blue laptop is high on flexibility and user-friendliness. The chassis weighs a manageable 5.5lbs, while the detachable palm rest and the stylus (included) make it easy to create on the go.
Lift-based construction enhances several performance-related aspects, including typing, heat management, and audio output. You can also enjoy reassuring security, thanks to the facial-recognition sign in via Windows Hello.
10. MSI GS75 Stealth 17-inch i9 Laptop
This device is one of the few that features the amazing 17.3” FHD display for an experience beyond questions.
Pair that with the latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX SUPER GPU and you have signed yourself up for the next level gaming.
The latest core i9 processors further improve the overall gaming performance by 50%, letting you experience the performance like never before.
The Cooler Boost technology of the device further keeps your device’s thermal system in check, ensuring a boost to the performance even further.
The silky smooth touchpad ensures that you glide your fingers over it for the winning shot. The device is also equipped with the all new Dragon Center with exclusive gaming mode 2.0.
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8th Gen Intel Core i9-8950HK vs 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9980HK
If you are wondering which ninth-gen Intel Core processor to zero down upon, these are two candidates you are probably considering. Both CPUs perform excellently, although the i9-9980HK has an edge with its maximum turbo frequency of 5GHz. The i9-8950HK, on the other hand, can go up to 4.8GHz.
The former is also equipped with more cache—16MB—which is significantly more than the latter’s 12MB. If you are an enthusiastic gamer always scouting for improved performance, you will appreciate this.
On the graphics frontier, the i9-8950HK again has an advantage because it supports a maximum dynamic frequency of 1.25GHz (higher than its peer’s 1.2GHz). Even so, note that both CPUs offer the same Intel UHD Graphics 630.
It is worth noting that you’ll find two memory channels in both of these processors. But the memory size is a lot higher in i9-9980HK at 128GB. The older i9-8950HK only brings 64GB to the table.
One area where there is little to choose between these two CPUs is the TDP. Both have a thermal rating of 45W, which mandates a capable cooling mechanism. You will have to look for a computer that has excellent thermals.
Intel Core i9-9880H vs Intel Core i7-9750H
The switch to the ninth-generation of processors has been significant for Intel and gamers who wish to up their game. While the i9-9880H has a lower base frequency (2.3GHz) than the i7-9750H, it can be clocked up to 4.8GHz.
This is a significant increase from the previous high of 4.5GHz. Even more critical is the multi-core, multi-threaded structure of the i9 line. With the i9-9880H, you can expect eight cores and 16 threads.
Compare this to the six cores and 12 threads of the seventh-gen model, and whoa! The upswing in multi-threaded performance during gaming and other multimedia pursuits is quite phenomenal.
The i9-9880H also displays an edge in the cache support, offering 16MB as compared to the 12MB of the i7 model. The number of memory channels, however, remains consistent at two (DDR4).
In terms of graphics support, you can expect an improvement with the i9 CPU, thanks to the maximum dynamic frequency of 1.2GHz (as opposed to 1.15GHz in the i7 processor). This generates extra glamour, not to forget detail, as you play games with a heavy visual focus.
Interestingly, both CPUs continue to have a TDP of 45W. This warrants an effective cooling mechanism to keep things sustainable.
Intel Core i9-9880H and Intel Core i9-9980HK Gaming Performance
Clearly, the i9 is a high-performance range, especially suited for gaming. While i9-9880H performs at 2.3–4.8GHz, the i9-9880HK can run up to a stupendous 5GHz. Thanks to the multi-core structure (as many as eight cores, 16 threads) of the Intel Core i9-9880H and Intel Core i9-9980HK processors, the performance is considerably higher than older models.
Most modern AAA games can run fluidly on laptops fitted with either of these CPUs, depending, of course, on other specifications of the product such as display. Both processors are equipped with 16MB cache which comes in handy during CPU-intensive activities such as multimedia content editing.
How about the graphics support? Well, the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 iGPU succeeds at delivering higher performance due to the increased clock rate.
While the i9-9880H offers a graphics maximum dynamic frequency of 1.2GHz, the i9-9880HK can go up to 1.25GHz. No wonder then that you can expect games to render more smoothly. The difference is likely to be more significant if you play at lower detail.
On the flipside, both these CPUs have a TDP of 45W. This makes them suitable only for laptops with efficient heat dissipation systems.
What to Hunt for in an Intel i9 Gaming Laptop with RTX
Have you decided to take a leap of faith and invest in one of these powerhouses? Here are some essential features you should seek to guarantee a well-rounded, sustainable gaming experience:
- Superior display: Anything short of FHD (full high definition) and a refresh rate of 144Hz is unlikely to do justice to the power-packed combination you are eying. If you have the funds, you can also opt for a 4K UHD resolution to truly push the boundaries.
- Efficient heat dissipation: A gaming laptop with such might is prone to overheating. Look for a model that employs innovative cooling technology like anti-dust or aero-blade to keep the proceedings going on smoothly.
- A gaming-friendly keyboard: RGB backlighting is the bare minimum to enjoy your gaming experiences in entirety. Look for per-key lighting, customization, a comfortable key-travel distance, and a testing standard that can promise 10–20 million keystrokes.
- Portability and battery life: It can be difficult to find a lightweight and thin machine that houses so much power within. But many laptop makers have come up with mobile products that weigh around 5lbs and measure 1–2”. Prioritize this if you intend to lug your laptop along wherever you go. Also, check the unplugged usage, USB support, and internet connectivity so you can collaborate like a pro.
The Long and Short of It
In 2021, many gamers around the globe have a shared dream, and you don’t need to be a dream-catcher to know it.
The dream prominently features a gaming laptop powered by a blazing fast Intel i9 processor and equipped with the unique NVIDIA RTX graphics that promise the moon and deliver it too.
It is a precious dream that involves considerable thought.
If you are eager to get an all-rounder RTX gaming laptop with i9—one that combines all the latest trends in this space—check out the MSI GS66 Stealth.
For superior battery life, a MSI GS75 Stealth is your best bet. This line-up is also high on mobility, especially the ASUS Strix Scar 17.
By later this year, more laptop manufacturers are likely to announce their offerings; you are set to be spoilt for choice.
But whatever you eventually decide, remember that it is going to be an investment that can maneuver your gameplay to uncharted, dazzling waters. Choose well.