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Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons

A complete list of Intel Core i9 (i9-8950HK) portable laptops and full-size notebooks

By Andrei Girbea , updated on June 6, 2018

As of mid 2018 you can buy performance laptops with an Intel Core i9 processor, namely the Core i9-8950HK, part of the Intel Coffee Lake platform.

In this article we’ll tell you what to expect from the mobile Core i9 CPU, how it compares to the mainstream Core i7s available in most multimedia and gaming notebooks these days, and whether (or rather when) this processor is worth your money, considering you’ll have to pay a significant premium for it.

This aside, we’ve also compiled a complete list of the notebooks motorized by Core i9 processors that are available in stores, and we’ll updated it in the months to come with new SKUs as they’re announced.

Of course, it comes to no surprise that most of these computers are hefty full-size desktop replacements, but there are also a few portable options to consider. Just make sure to read proper reviews before taking the plunge on any of those, so you’ll find out if their cooling implementations are actually capable of keeping the i9 at bay. If not, it would make much more sense to just go with the more affordable i7 configurations.

The Core i9-8950HK mobile processor

The i9-8950HK is the top-tier CPU in Intel’s Coffee Lake H line of performance processors for mobile computers. It gets 6 cores, 12 threads, 12 MB of cache memory, a standard frequency of 2.9 GHz and a maximum Turbo Boost frequency of 4.8 GHz (we’ll get to that in a bit), and supports up to 64 GB of DDR4 2666 MHz of dual-channel RAM.

The K at the end of the name means this processor gets an unlocked multiplier and is thus, overclockable, which means that if the cooling implementation allows, it can run at higher than stock speeds.

The table below shows how it compares to the mainstream Coffee Lake i7-8750H, as well as the Kaby Lake i7-7820K that it supposedly succeeds.

i9-8950HK (Ark)i7-8750H (Ark)i7-7820HK (Ark)
Litography14++ nm14++ nm14+ nm
TDP45W45W45W
Cores/Threads6/126/124/8
CPU Base Frequency2.9 GHz2.8 GHz2.9 GHz
Turbo – All Cores3.9 GHz3.5 GHz
Turbo – 1 Core4.8* GHz4.1 GHz3.9 GHz
L3 Cache12 MB9 MB8 MB
Memory
DDR4 – 2666 MhzDDR4 – 2666 MhzDDR4 – 2400 Mhz
Price$583$395$378

Aside for the increased amount of cache compared to the i7s, the i9 also gets Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB), which in Intel’s words “opportunistically and automatically increases clock frequency up to 200 MHz if the processor temperature is low enough and turbo power budget is available”. Hence the 4.8 GHz maximum Turbo Boost (*).

According to Intel’s slides though, the “low enough temperature” is of only 50 C, which means the i9 most likely would only clock to 4.6 GHz sporadically and for very short bursts at the beginning of complex loads, otherwise maxing out at 4.6 GHz. Even so, that’s higher than the 6-core i7-8750H can reach, and as long as the implementation keeps temperatures and throttling at bay, we can expect the i9-8950HK to offer a significant boost in performance over the more mainstream option, even without overclocking.

Speaking of performance, Intel advertises the i9-8950HK in comparison to the older i7-7820HK, claiming up to 29% better overall performance, as you can see in the picture below.

I find it far more more interesting how the i9-8950HK fares against the i7-8750H though, but the performance greatly varies base on each SKU, as it’s highly dependent on the cooling implementation.

Still, the table below gives you a ballpark idea of what to expect (the results are based on our tests of the 8750H and these scores of the 8950HK).

i7-8750Hi7-8950HK
3DMark 11 – Physics~10800~14800
3DMark – Fire Strike Physics~14500~18500
Cinebench R15 CPU1087 cb1388 cb
Cinebench R15 CPU – Single Core175 cb203 cb
Geekbench 4.1 64-bit – Single Core5138 pts5464 pts
Geekbench 4.1 64-bit – Multi Core20041 pts24898 pts
x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 – Pass 1205.69 fps233.8 fps
x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 – Pass 266.53 fps86.7 fps

Portable Core i9 laptops

This section includes a list of the portable notebooks that can be configured with a Core i9-8950HK processor. Given the compact footprints and slim profiles of these computers, as well as our experience with some of them in past, I wouldn’t expect to get as much as possible from the i9 on these, so make sure to read reviews in order to figure out if the i9 models are actually worth getting, or you’d better stick to the i7s.

ModelScreenHardwareGraphicsTB3Weight
ASUS Zenbook Pro UX550GD / GE15.6-inch FHD or UHD up to i9-8950HK / max 16 GB RAMGTX 1050/ 1050 TiYes4.15 lbs / 1.85 kg
thin and light, aluminum outer case, available with FHD matte/touch or a wide-gamut UHD matte screen, RAM soldered on the motherboard, 1xM.2 PCIe storage, 71 Wh battery, expect it to be more affordable than the competition
Price: TBA
ASUS Zenbook Pro UX580GE15.6-inch FHD or UHD up to i9-8950HK / max 16 GB RAM1050 TiYes4.4 lbs / 2.00 kg
similar to the UX550, but with a 5.5-inch screen integrated within the trackpad
Price: TBA
Dell XPS 15 957015.6-inch FHD or UHD up to i9-8950HK / max 32 GB RAMGTX 1050 Ti MaxQYes4.0 lbs / 1.8 kg
thin and light, sturdy construction, available with FHD matte or a wide-gamut UHD touch screen, 2x RAM slots, 1xM.2 PCIe storage, 97 Wh battery
Price: $2899 – more details

Full-size Core i9 notebooks

This section includes the full-size Core i9 notebooks.

Expect most of these to be hefty and heavy, with very few exceptions, but at the same time they should squeeze the most out of the hardware inside and allow for tweaking and overclocking. At the same time most of these laptops are extremely noisy with gaming, to the point you’ll need headphones for comfortable use, which is somewhat understandable on the few thinner models, but hard to accept on the chunkier ones.

ModelScreenHardwareGraphicsTB3Weight
Acer Helios 50017.3-inch FHD IPS 144 Hz with GSync up to i9-8950HK / max 64 GB RAMGTX 1070Yes
massive and heavy, FHD GSync 144Hz screen or UHD 4K option, RGB keyboard, 4x RAM slots, 2xM.2 PCIe and 1x 2.5″ storage, 2.1 speakers, 74 Wh battery
Price: from $1999 (available in July 2018)
Alienware 1717.3-inch QHD IPS 120 Hz with GSync up to i9-8950HK / max 64 GB RAMGTX 1080 OCYes9.75 lbs / 4.42 kg
massive and heavy, GSync 120Hz screen with 2560 x 1440 px resolution, RGB Alienware TactX keyboard, 4x RAM slots, 2xM.2 PCIe and 1x 2.5″ storage, 2.1 speakers, 68 or 99 Wh battery
Price: ~$3099 – more details
Aorus X917.3-inch FHD IPS 144 Hz with GSync up to i9-8950HK / max 64 GB RAMGTX 1080Yes8.1 lbs / 3.7 kg
fairly thin and compact for what it is, GSync 144 screen, mechanical RGB keyboard, 4x RAM slots, 2xM.2 PCIe and 1x 2.5″ storage, 2.2 speakers, very noisy fans, 94 Wh battery
Price: ~$3899 – more details
ASUS ROG G703GI17.3-inch FHD IPS 144 Hz with GSync up to i9-8950HK / max 64 GB RAMGTX 1080Yes10.4 lbs / 4.7 kg
massive and heavy, GSync 144 screen, RGB keyboard, 4x RAM slots, 2xM.2 PCIe and 1x 2.5″ storage, 71 Wh battery
Price: ~$3699 – more details
MSI GT75 Titan17.3-inch FHD TN 120 Hz with GSync up to i9-8950HK / max 64 GB RAMGTX 1080Yes10.0 lbs / 4.56 kg
massive and heavy, GSync 120Hz TN screen, mechanical RGB Steelseries keyboard, 4x RAM slots, 2xM.2 PCIe and 1x 2.5″ storage, 2.1 speakers, very noisy fans, 75 Wh battery, requires two power supplies for the i9 model
Price: ~$3299 – more details

That’s about it for now, but we’re constantly updating this list of Core i9 performance laptops, so make sure to check back from time to time for the latest additions. And get in touch in the comments section if you have any questions, or if you spotted a notebook that should be in here and we haven’t yet added.

Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I've been covering mobile computers since the 2000s and you'll mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site.

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