10 Best Intel Core i9 Gaming Laptops 2020
When Intel Core i9 meets NVIDIA RTX, fireworks follow
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 gaming 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.
- Who Needs an Intel Core i9 Gaming Laptop with RTX?
- What is Core i9 processor? How Fast Is Core i9?
- 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
- Our Picks: 10 Best Intel Core i9 Gaming Laptops 2020
- 1. Acer Predator Helios 700 – i9-9980HK Gaming Laptop
- 2. MSI Raider Intel Core i9-9880H Gaming Laptop
- 3. MSI Stealth Core i9-9880H Gaming Laptop
- 4. Alienware Area-51m – i9-9900K Laptop
- 5. MSI GT76 Titan – i9-9900K 4K Laptop
- 6. Acer Predator Triton 900 – i9-9980HK Laptop
- 7. MSI P75 Creator-469 Productivity Laptop
- 8. ASUS ROG Strix Scar III G531GW-XB96 Core i9 Budget Gaming Laptop
- 9. CUK HP OMEN 15t i9-9880H Gaming Laptop
- 10. Dell XPS 15 7590 – Best 4K Core i9 Laptop
- Bonus: Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 – Best Core i9 Laptop for Creators
- The Long and Short of It
Who Needs an Intel Core i9 Gaming Laptop with RTX?
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.
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 i9-8950HK, the i9-9900K, and the i9-9980HK.
So, how fast is a Core i9 processor? Incredibly fast! The i9-9900 can be turbo-boosted up to 5GHz. Even the i9-8950 can be boosted up to a magnificent 4.8GHz.
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.
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.
Our Picks: 10 Best Intel Core i9 Gaming Laptops 2020
1. Acer Predator Helios 700 – i9-9980HK Gaming Laptop
It is driven by an Intel Core i9-9980HK CPU, 32GB RAM, a 1TB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics (with NVIDIA G-SYNC).
The two Aero Blade 3D fans keep the proceedings cool to provide uninterrupted gaming for long hours.
Notably, the display has a refresh rate of 144Hz and a brightness of 300 nits, guaranteeing an immersive viewing experience. It helps that the sound system employs the Waves MaxxAudio technology; you can be certain of not missing out on any in-game detail.
This is a well-connected laptop, compatible with Killer Double shot Pro Wi-Fi (802. 11ac) and a full assortment of ports. However, it is rather a heavyweight at 14.11lbs and 1.6”.
2. MSI Raider Intel Core i9-9880H Gaming Laptop
1. MSI GE65 Raider-049 – 15 Inch Version
This 15.6″ computer boasts of a 240Hz panel and a (close to) 100% sRGB color gamut.
Consider these features together with an Intel Core i9-9880H CPU, 32GB RAM, a 1TB SSD, and NVIDIA RTX 2070 graphics. What you have is an all-rounder.
MSI has a deep focus not only on performance but also visual grandeur. The FHD display is fitted with an anti-glare panel and offers a wide-angle view. Plus, since the monitor employs a thin-bezel design, your experience is superbly immersive.
Interestingly, MSI has designed a smart cooling mechanism for this laptop. At the bottom, you will find metallic meshing for thermal vents that help dissipate heat quickly. What a Godsend for passionate gamers who do not want to pause for things to cool down!
How is the portability quotient? Well, this laptop weighs about 5.49 lbs. It is fitted with several USB ports as well as display ports that enable you to plug into external displays.
Bonus: You can also enjoy the benefits of Killer Wi-Fi 6 for wireless connectivity. The improvement in consistency and speed while gaming is significant.
2. MSI GE75 Raider-653 – 17 Inch Version
It is a great all-rounder gaming machine that is driven by Intel Core i9-9880H CPU and NVIDIA GeForce RTX2070 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 144Hz and a narrow bezel design (5.7mm or 0.22”) to give you an engaging experience.
The display on this MSI Raider 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 5.8 lbs and is 1.1” 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 60Hz) and build a virtual world right in the comfort of home.
3. MSI Stealth Core i9-9880H Gaming Laptop
1. MSI GS65 Stealth-667 – 15 Inch Version
Power is second nature for the 15.6” MSI GS65 Stealth-667—a veritable gaming machine that brings to you ninth-gen Intel Core i9 processing, 32GB RAM, 1TB of storage space, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX2070 graphics.
The latest-gen CPU delivers tangible performance wins over the previous generation (the claims say 10%), and the positive impact on multitasking is also helpful. With a thin bezel display for immersive gaming (4.9mm or 0.19”, screen-to-body ratio of 82%) and a screen that boasts of a 240Hz refresh rate, this is one machine tailor-made for professional gamers.
MSI ensures that the display and sound (Dynaudio) live up to the level of detail in popular gaming titles.
The refresh rate of 240Hz makes a world of difference by rendering sharp movements with tremendous accuracy.
Your reaction time tends to be better which translates into a significant advantage on the arena. A slight downside is the response time which stands at 8ms.
The screen is also fitted with an anti-glare panel to reduce eye strain. Note that the screen resolution is 1920 x 1080—optimal for multiple content formats.
On the portability front, things are fair. Also the chassis is lightweight at 4.2lbs, the profile is lean at 0.7”.
A Thunderbolt 3 port allows you to stay connected with any peripherals you may need. The glass touchpad is especially glorious with a larger area (35% more) and support for over ten gestures. It complements the keyboard with its per-key backlighting beautifully.
Bonus: The battery backup lasts for over eight hours which is laudable for a gaming laptop as powerful as this.
You can extract quite a bit of unplugged usage from this device, say when you need to head out to an outdoor gaming event. The power adapter is also slimmer than many other models, which adds to the mobility of this laptop.
2. MSI GS75 Stealth-480 – 17 Inch Version
Powered by a ninth-gen Intel Core i9-9880H processor, up to 64GB RAM, a 1TB SSD and NVIDIA GeForce RTX2070 graphics, it offers efficient and long-lasting performance.
Ninth-gen processing makes multitasking easier. Plus, this laptop also comes with a 144Hz display and a thin bezel design (5.2mm or 0.20”, screen-to-body ratio of 85%) that minimizes external interference and lets you dive into the world of virtual reality. Since the response time is terrific at 3ms, you can game on like a pro.
This laptop combines the thrill of RTX graphics with the thunder that comes with a competent processing unit. If you like games that involve plenty of shadows and special effects, you are going to love this.
Add to this the joys of unplugged usage to the tune of eight hours. This kind of battery backup is rather unexpected in gaming machines in this league, but very welcome for anyone who seeks a certain degree of portability.
What about the look and feel? Well, there is quite a lot of gold doing the rounds here. The golden dragon emblem and gold hinges, combined with super-sleek ventilation, make this laptop a stunner. At 5 lbs and 0.8”, it is reasonably lean.
Thanks to the narrow borders and the overall compactness in construction, the computer looks nimbler than you might expect. (MSI claims that this product is 60% smaller than similar 17” gaming laptops!)
The touchpad in this one is almost 35% larger and supports over ten gestures to make your gameplay smooth.
If you are wondering about connectivity, rest assured that the Thunderbolt 3 port offers you all the device support you may need.
4. Alienware Area-51m – i9-9900K Laptop
The processing chamber is equipped with an i9-9900K CPU, 64GB RAM, and up to 2TB storage (SSD), while the visuals receive a tremendous fillip from the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics.
While the FHD display starts off with a refresh rate of 60Hz and an anti-glare panel, you can opt for 144Hz, NVIDIA G-SYNC, and also Tobii eye-tracking for an unmistakable edge on the arena.
This is a sturdily built laptop with an 8.54lbs magnesium chassis that manages to combine dependability with style. The keyboard is also a triumph for passionate gamers, with its per-key backlighting and anti-ghosting.
5. MSI GT76 Titan – i9-9900K 4K Laptop
This Core-i9 gaming laptop, themed on a car-inspired design, has an aerodynamic aluminum cover.
Its entire construction aims to optimize the intake and the exhaust for better performance. The NVIDIA RTX graphics card changes the game for the better, bringing in real-time ray tracing and AI-enhanced graphics (artificial intelligence).
We particularly adore the keyboard with its customizable lighting and support for 16.8 million colors. Note that this computer is a tad bulky at 9.2lbs and a thickness of 1.29”–1.6” (33–42mm).
Bonus: This laptop offers a fantastic refresh rate of 240Hz. You can also choose the UHD screen with a color gamut of 100% AdobeRGB.
6. Acer Predator Triton 900 – i9-9980HK Laptop
The 17.3″ Acer Predator Triton 900 makes that possible, with its Intel Core i9-9980HK processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics, and aero-hinge design.
Inside the processing chamber is up to 32GB RAM and a 1TB SSD—perfect for most modern AAA games. Since the graphics card comes equipped with NVIDIA G-SYNC, your gameplay is free of stuttering and tearing.
The CNC-machined hinges bring in tremendous ease of use by enabling you to mold the computer into a notebook, display, stand, etc. Note that while this laptop weighs 9.92lbs, it retains a reasonable slimness at 0.9”.
7. MSI P75 Creator-469 Productivity Laptop
This 17.3” device runs on a ninth-gen Intel Core i9-9880H CPU, 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD.
It supports NVIDIA GeForce RTX2070 graphics and provides a vivid FHD display with a thin bezel design and a full color gamut of 100% sRGB and 72% NTSC.
And yet, it manages to weigh only around 2.2kg (or 4.85lbs) and have a profile with a thickness of 18.9mm (or 0.74”).
The chassis is built of brushed aluminum which is both lightweight and sturdy—a charming balance perfect for modern-day professionals. It is also acoustic-friendly which helps improve your overall experience.
Since this device comes with ninth-gen i9 processing, you can comfortably use it both for gaming and multimedia content creation.
So, if you need a partner for video editing or 3D design, this might be just right. The borders are incredibly thin at 5.2mm (or 0.2”) which enlarges the available screen real estate without adding to the bulk that you have to carry. MSI calls this one the productivity laptop for a reason!
The cooling mechanism (Cooler Boost Trinity+) is exemplary. Three fans and seven heat pipes dissipate the generated heat effectively and keep the system running at its optimum without interruption.
The ventilation is also specially designed to support better cooling. Clearly, this laptop is invested in upping your productivity levels, and it doesn’t want anything to come in the way.
Note that you can avail of the Thunderbolt 3 port to connect to any devices you might require or obtain multi-screen support. The inbuilt fingerprint access guarantees that you can feel secure even in shared environments.
8. ASUS ROG Strix Scar III G531GW-XB96 Core i9 Budget Gaming Laptop
Laptops such as the ASUS ROG Strix Scar III G531GW-XB96 attempt to add affordability to this dynamic.
Available at under $2500, this 15.6” computer is driven by an i9-9880H processor, 32GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD. It has graphics support of NVIDIA RTX 2070 with as much as 8GB of dedicated memory. But here is the best part: you can enjoy a display with a refresh rate of 240Hz and a response time of 3ms. This is brilliant for even the most intense games.
In other features, you can look forward to good connectivity and device support. The system is compatible with 802.11ac Wi-Fi (with RangeBoost technology) and has several inbuilt USB ports, including a Type-C one.
The gaming keyboard supports per-key RGB backlighting. Note that the overall weight of this computer is 5.7lbs which, although, at the higher end of the spectrum, manages to be reasonably lightweight for such a well-equipped machine.
Bonus: ASUS is currently offering an exclusive gaming bundle with this purchase. There is stuff like an ASUS ROG Gladius II Origin Gaming Mouse up for grabs!
9. CUK HP OMEN 15t i9-9880H Gaming Laptop
Fueled by an Intel i9-9880H processor, 64GB RAM, a 2TB SSD (with 2TB HDD), and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics, this laptop is perfectly capable of supporting the most adrenaline-pumping AAA games or heavy-duty multimedia operations. This stalwart comes with a 4K UHD screen (3840 x 2160) and an IPS panel for comfortable viewing from different positions.
The auditory department of this computer is superior to many peers, thanks to the DTS:X Ultra sound system and HP Audio Boost technology for greater volume and quality of output.
The speakers support Bang & Olufsen audio, which is not only pleasant to hear but also useful for games that employ meticulous sound effects.
Although this is such a high-performance laptop, it manages to be resilient when it comes to protection against over-heating. The cooling mechanism is intuitively designed with three-sided venting and enhanced airflow.
The portability quotient also exceeds expectations; the chassis weighs all of 5.26lbs and is about 0.98” thick. There is little to no scope of complaint with this pick if you need a potent gamer that can also prove its mettle on the run.
10. Dell XPS 15 7590 – Best 4K Core i9 Laptop
For 4K gaming experiences, the Dell XPS 15 7590 is a fantastic choice. It is driven by a powerful Intel Core i9-9980HK processor, up to 64GB RAM, a 2TB SSD, and over 13 hours of battery backup (or over 20 hours on the FHD model).
Spectacular imagery is guaranteed by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card. The display experience is the main draw of this gaming laptop. Indeed, the 4K UHD OLED monitor, with its 100% DCI-P3 color and 400-nits brightness, does not disappoint.
Although the Dell XPS 15 7590 is a high-performer, it manages to be reasonably light and portable at 4.5lbs, 0.45–0.66”, and aluminum chassis. A backlit keyboard, Killer Wi-Fi, and a fingerprint reader provide an additional fillip to the overall mobility of the device.
Bonus: This laptop comes with an innovative webcam with a 4-element lens and temporal noise reduction. It comes in handy when you are video-calling with peers and trying to nail down the best strategy for the arena.
Bonus: Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 – Best Core i9 Laptop for Creators
This Intel Core i9-9980HK 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.
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The Long and Short of It
In 2020, 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 Acer Predator Helios 700 (#1).
For superior battery life, a MSI GS65 Stealth-667 is your best bet (#03). This line-up is also high on mobility, especially the MSI P75 Creator-469 (#7).
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.