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Laptops with Intel’s new ninth-gen chips will arrive in May

Intel announce ninth-gen “Coffee Lake H refresh” CPUs and laptops based on them will be here very soon, too

Laptops are about to get more powerful than ever with the launch of Intel’s latest range of mobile CPUs. The first ninth-generation CPUs, dubbed Coffee Lake H refresh, will be focused on mobile gaming enthusiasts, with all the announced processors sitting at the more powerful end of the mobile computing spectrum.

“Our new 9th-gen platform is designed to delight gamers, creators and performance users,” said Intel’s Fredrik Hamberger, and is designed to “bring desktop-calibre performance,” to laptop gamers.

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Atop a list of six new CPUs sits the new Intel Core i9-9980HK processor, an unlocked eight-core beast of a CPU (with HyperThreading for a total of 16 logical threads) aimed, not at mere gaming laptops but at, as Intel succinctly puts it, “musclebooks”. It runs at a base frequency of 2.4GHz and has a maximum Turbo Boost frequency of 5GHz and you can expect to see it feature in laptops costing £2,800 and more as soon as this week.

And because not everyone’s gaming budget runs this high, it’s joined in the rage by five other ninth-generation processors, including one further Core i9, two Core i7 chips and a pair of Core i5 parts:

  • Intel Core i9-9880H – 2.3GHz (4.8GHz Turbo Boost), 8-core/16-thread
  • Intel Core i7-9850H – 2.6GHz (4.6GHz Turbo Boost), 6-core/12-thread (partially unlocked
  • Intel Core i7-9750H – 2.6GHz (4.5GHz Turbo Boost), 6-core/12-thread
  • Intel Core i5-9400H – 2.5GHz (4.3GHz Turbo Boost), 4-core/8-thread
  • Intel Core i5-9300H – 2.4GHz (4.1GHz Turbo Boost), 4-core/ 8-thread

The new ninth-generation chips are all 45W TDP parts, support Intel’s high-speed Optane memory, up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM and will be the first to support the latest wireless networking standard, Wi-Fi 6. The latter is a new wireless technology that promises faster speeds, lower latency and support for many more simultaneously connected devices than current technologies allow for.

Perhaps surprisingly, given the gaming focus of these new CPUs, Intel hasn’t updated the integrated graphics on the new CPUs. All have the same Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU as the previous generation; instead, the new chips have a fatter pipe for connecting discrete graphics chips, which ought to provide the performance boost mobile gamers crave.

It all looks promising, but the catch with mobile CPU announcements like this is that we often end up waiting months to catch our first glimpse of the chips in real-world laptops. With these new Core i9 machines, you can expect to see laptops become available almost straight away, with announcements from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and MSI promised in the coming weeks.

We’ve already laid hands on the Asus Strix Scar III, a £2,800 gaming laptop with the top-end Core i9-9980HK, although the fact this is a high-end gaming machine suggests we may have to wait a touch longer for laptops with the more humble ninth-generation chips on board.

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