Question Are i9s in Gaming Laptops worth it? Upgrade Advice


Mar 29, 2022
Hi. I have recently been looking at new PCs with i9 11th gen and 12th gen however for the price (avg £1500+ excluding RAM upgrade abt £100) are they really worth it or should I dip to a i7 12th gen considering the performance i9s bring generates a ton of heat and the amount of cooling available on a laptop due to its slim size eventually would be limited. Of course a company would've designed the case for this however even with my current laptop it still thermal throttles in games (even with the fans at max rpm). I'm considering upgrading from an i7 8th gen (which has more recently started to feel sluggish) to an i9 12th gen however would it be worth the upgrade considering what I've experienced with my current laptop thermals? With some newer titles I have confirmed through task manager and HWinfo that it was my CPU getting stressed not my GPU (RTX 2070MQ).
(Do Note I Do Prefer Going With Intel and Nvidia than AMD)


For just gaming, probably not worth it.

Choosing a gaming laptop based on cooling is the way to go, not necessarily the components. Doesn't matter if the i9 can boost for 14 seconds if it spends the rest of the time throttled while you game. Plenty of times they have shown the same components in different systems with huge differences in performance. Or the previous generation being faster for the same reason. Do not assume they increased the cooling for larger components, they often don't. Only one tooling for manufacturing a chassis cooling solution is typical.

You should look at reviews of the products you are looking at.
Reactions: Nighthawk117
In my view no in most cases they are a waste of money. The difference between an i9 and an i7 for laptop CPU's is clock speed, they are otherwise the same thing. If you were comparing the i7 11800H to the i9 11980HK at the base speeds then the i9 is worth it assuming it's paired with adequate cooling. If your comparing an i7 11800H to a i9 11900H then the difference is around 8-10%. What you find though is some laptops and I think this has been true with the Dell XPS 15 (an otherwise very good laptop), the thermals are so constrained that the benefit of the i9 is basically nothing in sustained loads but your paying a premium to get it.

If it were me I'd probably look at the i7 12700H. As @Eximo rightly points out though, a lot depends on the laptops your comparing as they can vary quite widely in cooling and power delivery. You may find that one laptop with the 12700H is faster than another with the 12900H. I've seen instances where the same ultrabook with the 11h gen i5 performs better than it's 12th gen replacement simply because the cooling system can't cope so it heavily thermal throttles with the newer chip.

Have a look at reviews, is excellent for technical reviews like this:
Just punch your model into the search on that page. If it's a popular model they will have likely reviewed it.

Also screen quality, chassis quality, keyboard and trackpad are all important things as well to consider.