Intel started a campaign throwing shade at Apple earlier this year to drum up some hype for the upcoming 11th-gen laptop CPUs, but none of the chips were ready at that time. Now they’ve been released, and Intel is hoping that you’ll want the tried-and-tested Intel name instead of the new, upstart M1 chips of the new Macs.
The flagship is the Core i9-11980HK, which Intel says is “the world’s best gaming laptop processor.” Yes, Intel is back on their “best for gaming” schtick. The flagship chip might be unlocked for overclocking, but we all know overclocking is dependent on cooling that chip and that’s always hard to do in a laptop form factor.
The biggest change this gen? PCIe Gen 4.0, which promises faster connections for your GPU and storage. Not all of the PCIe lanes are 4.0 though, you get 20 from the CPU and then up to 24 of the older, PCIe 3.0 lanes from the chipset. That’s probably enough on a laptop though, with the inherent limits on expandability.
Oh, and these are on the 10nm process, yes the one that Intel has been promoting for what seems like forever. They come in various configurations up to 8 cores and 16 threads, and support new connectivity options like WiFi 6E, and Thunderbolt 4.
New chips mean new laptops
While everyone from HP to Acer has announced new laptops using the new 11th-gen Intel CPUs, we’re going to go through and mention our favorites instead of the full list.
MSI has their Creator 17, which uses a Mini LED display, and can be configured with up to an Intel i9 CPU and Nvidia’s RTX3080 GPU. That might be the most powerful machine on offer, but the new Sword laptops are our favorite. MSI has gone with a white/blue design here instead of the traditional black/red of gamer-orientated laptops, and it’s a stunner. They’re also mid-price, starting at $1,099 with an Intel i7 and the Nvidia RTX 3060.
Razer is updating its Blade 15 range with the 11th-gen CPUs, with the flagship spec coming with a Core i9-11900H, Nvidia RTX 3080 with up to 16GB of video memory on the $3,399 top option. That also gets you a 4K, 60Hz OLED touchscreen.
Gigabyte also has an OLED model, the Aero 15 OLED, which can be specced with an Intel i9-11980HK and an Nvidia RTX 3080. That starts at $1,799 but expect to pay much more for the specced-out version.
It’s an exciting time to be a fan of powerful laptops and we’ll definitely be paying attention to Intel’s latest offerings to see how it stacks up to Apple’s new M1 chip.
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