Having a powerful CPU is one thing, but calibrating it with other core hardware units is quite another. In other words, when it comes to choosing the best-performing laptop, it’s not just the core i9 CPU that you want to look for, but also the other core components (RAM, GPU, SSD) that it has been paired with. In this list of the 10 best i9 laptops of 2021, we have handpicked high-end laptops that combine core i9 CPU with other equally high-performing components. We’re sure that you’ll not find yourself short of options for hardware configurations that best support the exhilarating computing performance that core i9 CPUs are capable of delivering.
The highest computing performances are reserved for desktops – this notion may have been true in the past but has now become obsolete. The latest laptops, with the inclusion of the latest hardware for improved performance, have started to come on par with desktops, if not on total parity. So, there’s no more trade-off between mobility and performance when it comes to choosing a powerful laptop that you can rely on for work and entertainment.
The availability of core i9 processors in laptops which was made a couple of years back exclusively means one thing – the multi-threaded and power-efficient processing future for laptops certainly holds up strong. Similar to other hardware components such as RAM, GPU, and wireless chipsets, the latest CPU version, the better it is. Core i5 surpasses core i3, core i7 outperforms core i5, and now the core i9 CPUs take the lead in the multi-threaded processing, overclocking performance, and power efficiency departments. Call it the evolution chain if you will, but that’s just the way the electronics industry (and many other high-demand industries) work.
Review of Best i9 Laptops of 2021
Dell XPS 15 9570 – the almost perfect Dell i9 laptop
The XPS lineup of Dell has been gaining good traction in the multi-threaded performance territory. And why wouldn’t they? After all, the models in the lineup pack top of the line hardware configuration that can help you effortlessly crunch numbers as well as get the most out of your entertainment spree. Dell XPS 15 9570 is one of the high-end models in the lineup that gets its computing power from an 8th generation Intel core i9-8950HK processor. As the CPU has 6 cores, it is based on a 12 threaded architecture which makes extensive multitasking a breeze.
Apart from the best-in-class CPU, Dell XPS 15 easily comes as one of the best i9 laptop choices with its NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti graphics processor that benefits from 4GB of dedicated DDR5 RAM. Together with the CPU, the laptop’s GPU works great in seamlessly supporting high-end games, high-resolution video rendering, high-quality image editing, and other processing-intensive tasks. In the memory department, Dell XPS 15 9570 leaves many high-end competitors behind with its whopping 32GB DDR4 RAM that is based on a 2×16 GB architecture. Further augmenting the fast performance of the RAM is the laptop’s 1TB of SSD storage.
Equally amazing is the 15.6 inch 4K ultra HD display of this laptop. The ultra-thin bezels design of the display helps create an immersive viewing experience in the 15.6-inch footprint. Dell hasn’t made any compromises on the laptop’s connectivity department as well. A combination of Bluetooth 4.0 and 1535 802.11 AC 2×2 Wi-Fi chipset helps you benefit from ultra-fast wireless connectivity. Whether it’s work or entertainment binge, the fast data transfer speed of the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chipset improves your overall experience with the laptop.
- Ultra-fast and smooth performance
- Premium look and feel
- Can heat a bit at times
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 15.6 inch – unleash your creativity
Asus has always stood out from the crowd with its indomitable spirit of defying the convention. This approach that the brand takes can be seen in their laptops that include performance and features previously seemed unfeasible. Like many of the brand’s high-end models, the ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 combines range-topping hardware configuration with utilitarian features. Like the Dell XPS 15, this model is well-suited as one of the best i9 laptops for different types of usages such as video editing, FX work, 3D animation, programming, photography, and gaming
The high-performance capability of Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 lies in its beefy Intel i9-9980HK CPU that has 8 cores and 16 threads. The CPU has the capability to deliver up to 5.0 GHz of overclocking computing power. Together with the 32 GB DDR4 RAM, the CPU can efficiently handle intensive multitasking such as running 2 different computing-intensive programs while viewing them at 2 separate external displays. And for high-end graphics requirements, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU fills in the gap. With the one 1 TB SSD storage of the laptop, you do not fall short when it comes to storing all your work and entertainment essentials while having the benefit of quickly accessing them through fast-read capability.
An innovative display design further adds to the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581’s status as one of the value-for-money Asus i9 laptops. The laptop houses not just one but two displays. The primary 15.6 inches 4K ultra HD display is paired with a secondary display which Asus calls it a ScreenPad. You can use the ScreenPad to extend the content that you are viewing on the primary screen or use it as a dedicated screen to view/use another content/program. For external connectivity, this laptop includes two USB 3.0 Gen 2 ports, one Thunderbolt USB Type C port, one HDMI port, and one audio jack.
- High-performance hardware configuration
- Innovative design and premium build
- Weight is a bit heavy
New Apple MacBook Pro – the very best of a MacBook
MacBook Pros have a cult following for the uncharted computing performance they offer. However, the 2018 and early 2019 MacBook Pros received quite a number of criticism due to throttling and keyboard issues. But Apple didn’t just sit unresponsively, the brand listened to the feedback and made all the necessary corrections in the new MacBook Pro 16 inch. This new model is perfected in almost every area which makes it the quintessential MacBook Pro.
Compared to some of the high-end i9 laptops, the new MacBook Pro is in a league of its own in the core i9 territory. The 9th generation Intel 8 core i9-9880H processor of this laptop can deliver a peak performance of up to 4.8 GHz. With the support for Intel Hyper-Threading, the processor can execute up to 16 threads simultaneously. As a result, the CPU can help you execute various computing-intensive tasks such as compiling and testing codes, running virtual machines, and rendering 4K video at breakneck speeds. This model achieves a new level of consistency in its performance, thanks to its improved thermal management which is ensured by a redesigned thermal architecture that includes improved fans and larger impellers.
But it’s not just a CPU that does all the work; a 16 GB DDR4 RAM and AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU work in conjunction to deliver unfailing performance. In the storage department, this Apple MacBook Pro model sports a 1 TB SSD storage with ultra-fast read and write capabilities. Compared to its predecessor, this model has a dedicated physical escape key at the TouchBar bay. And as it is with every MacBook, this model has a premium look and feel which is matched by none.
- Improved performance
- Improved thermal management
- Improved keyboard
- Not the best battery backup
MSI GS75 Stealth-480 17.3″ – built to perform flawlessly
MSI GS75 Stealth-480 is one of the few laptops to make the most out of the exhilarating performance of the i9 processor in the gaming territory. This has largely got to do with the hardware configuration that it carries in its 17.3 inches footprint. Both the core computing units and additional features of this laptop work great in augmenting the performance of the processor.
To start with the specifications rundown of this laptop, it gets its power from a 9th generation Intel i9-9880h 6 core processor that has an overclocking performance of up to 4.8 GHz. Together with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX2070 GPU, the CPU can efficiently run even the most high-end graphics demanding games. Also, the gaming-grade performance of the laptop helps you complete all your work-related tasks in a jiffy. This laptop bears the MacBook Pro-like characteristic in the thermal management department. Its thermal management system that comprises 3 fans, 4 exhausts, and 7 pipes does the cooling duties to help maintain consistency in performance, especially when the CPU and GPU go overdrive. If you are someone who prefers to run various programs when working, the 32 GB DDR4 RAM of this laptop will not let you down.
Like some of the highly-recommended i9 laptops of 2021, MSI GS75 Stealth-480 excels in the storage department with its 1 TB SSD storage. The laptop’s 17.3 inch full HD display with 144 Hz of refresh rate testifies the performance that its best-in-class hardware configuration delivers. The ample size of the display helps you avoid visual clutters which, otherwise, can be the case with smaller-sized displays. Also, MSI GS75 Stealth-480 is one of the few high-end i9 laptops to feature expandability at its best. The laptop includes not just one but three M.2 SSD slots to help you expand SSD storage capacity should you need it down the road.
- Gaming-grade performance
- Sleek body design
- Weight is heavy
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 – there’s no stopping to your productivity
Lenovo ThinkPads are synonymous with the serious performance for work; their aesthetics alone make them come off as work-centric computers. Living up to the reputation that ThinkPads have gained over the years and taking it a notch higher is the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2. Being one of the few Lenovo i9 laptops to be based on an 8 core architecture, this model does a great job in taking the ThinkPad eminence higher in the multi-threaded processing territory. With the support for Intel TurboBoost, the CPU is able to crank up to 4.50 GHz of overclocking computing power.
The addition of a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 4 GB DDR5 GPU and 32GB DDR4 RAM helps this laptop efficiently take on graphics-intensive requirements as well as intensive multitasking. To classify Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 as just any other laptop with i9 processor would do injustice to it. This is because the laptop surpasses many high-end models in terms of reliability in performance. The myriad connectivity options also add to the work-centric essence of the laptop. Ports in this model include two USB 3.1 Type A ports, two Thunderbolt 3 Type C ports, one mini ethernet port, one HDMI port, one SD card reader, one smart card reader, and one headphone jack. Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 802.11AX (2 x 2) & Bluetooth 5.0 handle the wireless connectivity duties.
Lenovo has capitalized one the fast read and write capabilities of the model’s PLCe SSD with 1 TB of storage capacity. Whether you want to store all your codes and scripts, datasets, virtual machines, raw and rendered videos, and games, the storage capacity of this laptop will not let you down. Accessibility in this laptop is on par with that of other ThinkPad models with the classic ThinkPad keyboard and trackpad. The efficient 1080×1920 megapixel 15.6 inches display of this laptop doesn’t take a toll on its battery which has a standby backup of 14 hours. The battery life lasts up to 4.5 hours to 5 hours during medium to high-intensity usage.
- Work-focused performance
- Excellent connectivity options
- Not the best aesthetics
HP Zbook 15 G5 – fine-tuned mobile workstation performance
What ThinkPad is to Lenovo is what Zbook is to HP. The Zbook lineup, just like Lenovo’s ThinkPads, features hardware configuration that is calibrated and fine-tuned to help working professionals take on even the most computing-intensive requirements. Right from the internal to additional features, HP Zbook 15 oozes work-centric performance through and through. Its professional-looking aesthetics alone suffice for positioning it among other premium-range Intel core i9 notebooks for work.
As you would already guess, one of the biggest highlights of this laptop is its 8th generation Intel i9–8950HK CPU. The 6 core architecture of the CPU gives it an indomitable computing power to seamlessly handle extensive multi-threaded tasks such as 4K video rendering, multiple model simulations, datasets extraction, and running multiple virtual machines on several external displays. A trio of 32 GB DDR4 RAM, NVIDIA Quadro Pro P2000, and 512 GB of SSD storage backs up the CPU in making the HP Zbook 15 a beast of an i9 laptop. The utility aspect is at its best in this laptop, thanks to the well-paired trackpoint-enabled full-sized keyboard and trackpad.
It’s safe to say that the HP Zbook is future-proof as it includes extra RAM and storage slots. With little to no tools required, you can upgrade the laptop should you have more memory and storage requirements in the near or distant future. Wired connectivity options in this laptop include two Thunderbolt 3 Type C ports, three USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI port, one ethernet port, one microSD port, one smart card reader, and one headphone jack. Completing the well-laid out chassis of the laptop is its 15.6 inch full HD display.
- Fast and reliable performance
- Premium body design and build
- Weight is on the heavier side
HP Omen 15 – gaming performance just got serious
Serious gamers know that fast and consistent performance can be best achieved the best with top of the line hardware configuration. While many HP laptops with i9 processor, like the HP 15 G5, are focused on creative professionals and general-purpose use, some, like the Omen 15, are gaining traction in the gaming community. A $300 bump from the base model of HP Omen 15 and you’ll have yourself beefed-up hardware configuration ready to take on any high-end professional-grade games.
The laptop uses a 9th generation Intel i9-9880H CPU which can simultaneously handle several multi-threaded programs with its 8 cores and 2.3 GHz of base processing. If required, the CPU can boost its processing speed up to 4.80 GHz. When combined with the NVIDIA RTX 2080 (Max-Q) 8 GB DDR6 GPU, the CPU’s computing performance can meet most professional-level gaming requirements. The capability of the GPU to process high-resolution graphics at uncharted speeds is testified by the laptop’s 15.6 inches 4K ultra HD display that has a modern thin bezels design.
HP omen 15 does not lack in the memory department as well. The laptop features an unmistakable combo of 32 GB DDR4 RAM and 1 TB SATA SSD storage that elevates your multitasking and quick access experience. Connectivity options in this model are on par with that of other premium laptops. Port options in this model include three USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, one USB 3.1 Type C Gen 1 port, one mini display port, one HDMI port, one SD card reader, and one headphone/microphone combo jack. Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 ac provide wireless connectivity options in HP Omen 15.
- Fast performance
- High-quality build
- Can heat a bit at times
Asus ROG Strix Scar III (2019) – amplified gaming performance
Like HP, Asus has played a fair game in lending the flagship computing power of core i9 processors to both productivity and gaming laptops. While the ZenBook Pro Duo performs exceedingly well in the productivity/creativity department, the ROG Strix Scar III is matched by no Asus i9 laptops in the gaming realm. That may seem a bold statement, but its well-ripped hardware configuration does all the talking.
An Intel i9-9880H CPU with 8 cores powers this laptop with 2.3 GHz of base computing performance. The CPU can deliver up to 4.5 GHz of overclocking computer performance to let you play even the most intensive, high end games without breaking a sweat. Further elevating your gaming experience is the laptop’s NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8 GB DDR6 GPU. Also, a 32 GB DDR4 RAM makes enjoying multitasking sprees without interruption a possibility. The laptop’s 1 TB SSD storage suffices for storing and having quick access to all your gaming, work, and entertainment essentials.
The fascination in Asus ROG Strix Scar III lies not just in its internals but also in the exteriors. The 15.6 inches full HD display of this laptop makes your gameplay more immersive and enjoyable with a stunning 240 Hz of refresh rate. Also, the thin bezels design of the display makes this model one of the coolest-looking gaming laptops available today. Asus ROG Strix Scar III also leads the gaming laptop back with a rock solid selection of ports, including three USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C port, one HDMI port, 1 Gigabit LAN port, and one headphone/mic jack.
- Professional-grade gaming performance
- High-quality build
- Weight is a bit heavy
 Gigabyte AORUS 15G YB-9US2430MP – a strong contender in the gaming territory
Gaming laptops from Gigabyte have their own stand in the high-level gaming realm. The brand’s high-end gaming laptops have been a strong contender in the gaming realm over the years. The AORUS 15G is no different from its siblings, the only factor that separates this model from its siblings is its best-in-class processor, the 10th generation Intel i9-10980HK CPU. The 8 core of the laptop’s CPU helps you steer clear from issues such as lags and overheating that traditionally occur when working on multi-threaded applications.
Gigabyte AORUS 15G separates itself from the rest with its capability to use its CPU to the full potential. Yes, we are talking about a peak computing performance of 5.3 GHz. A powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX2080 Super Max Q 8 GB DDR6 GPU works wonders in complementing the CPU’s performance. The GPU is calibrated to significantly improve gaming experience with the support for Nvidia Optimus technology. Also, this laptop gets attention in the memory department with its 32 GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD storage.
It goes without saying that Gigabyte AORUS 15G has one of the most modern-looking displays in the high-range gaming laptops territory. The laptop’s 15.6 inches full HD display has thin bezels design that doesn’t fail to create an immersive viewing experience. Pro gamers know that accessibility and expandability are two core factors that determine a good gaming experience. The laptop checks both boxes with its organic full-sized keyboard layout and an array of porting options, including three USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, one Thunderbolt 3 Type C port, one mini display port, one HDMI port, one SD card reader, one ethernet port, and headphone/mic jack.
- Fast and smooth performance
- Premium look and feel
- Can heat a bit at times
Alienware 17 R5 – i9-8950HK the quintessential i9 gaming laptop
It’s absolutely fair to say that specialties in terms of hardware configurations and performance options do exist in the laptop realm. Just like the way ThinkPads are designed to cater to work/business-related requirements, Alienware laptops from Dell are centered around high-level gaming performance. Alienware laptops do not meet all the requisites of a modern laptop, such as sleek body, lightweight design, uber-chic looks, etc, but they sure do excel in the territory that is solely designed for, and that is serious gaming.
Alienware 17 R5 holds true to this. Its behemoth gaming performance lies in its Intel i9-8950HK CPU that can easily take on multi-threaded games such as Battlefield 1 and Forza Horizon with its 6 core architecture and 5.0 GHz of overclocking power. Further augmenting the gaming performance of the CPU is the laptop’s NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8 GB DDR5 overclocked GPU. A 32 GB DDR4 RAM, 256 GB SSD storage, and 1 TB HDD storage join the CPU and GPU ally to further elevate your seamless gaming experience.
Thermal management in this laptop is one of the best. Equally amazing is the myriad connectivity options which is provided by Bluetooth 4.1, Killer 1435 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi, two USB 3 ports, one Thunderbolt 3 port, one mini display port, one HDMI port, one ethernet port, one dedicated Alienware Graphics amplifier port, and headphone/mic jack. Lastly, its 17.3 quad HD display rounds off the unadulterated gaming performance that the laptop delivers.
- One of the best gaming performances
- High-quality build
- Bulky body design
1) Is i9 better than i7?
Yes, i9 processors are significantly better than i7 processors. With the support of hyper threading, i9 processors with 8 cores are able to simultaneously execute 16 multithreads. Apart from improved multi threaded capabilities, lower heating rate is another area where core i9 processors surpass core i7 ones.
2) How many cores is the i9?
i9 processors come in two variants, 6 cores, and 8 cores. The former variant is able to execute 12 threads simultaneously and the latter can handle 16 threads simultaneous execution.
3) What i9 laptops aren’t cheap?
Just like with any type of electronic device, the costs of hardware parts add up to the overall cost of the product. Similarly, the latest core i9 processors aren’t cheap which compels every laptop manufacturer to set the price in the higher range. Also, it’s important to use other high-end hardware parts such as RAM, GPU, and SSD to complement the full computing power of core i9 processors.
We would like to wrap up this list by saying that it’s best not to hold back if you need to spend an extra $200 or $300 if it means getting your hands on a core i9 laptop that has a top of the line hardware configuration and expandability options. Taking this approach is similar to capitalizing on future-proofing that will help you make the most out of the investment you make for the long-term road ahead.