To a rousing response, Intel recently released its 13th generation of desktop CPUs, which have already demonstrated impressive performance when compared to their AMD 7000-Series counterparts. The company is now bringing its Raptor Lake technology to its mobile processor line-up, with a focus on gaming laptops.
Not surprising, when we have heard nothing but good things about gaming performance across the stack in desktop flavours. There are a couple of processors we have our eye on that will no doubt feature in behemoth gaming laptops over the next few months. The Core i9-13980HX and Core i9-13900HX are predicted to be the go-to CPU for the more avid gamers out there, representing some of the finest architecture in the industry right now.
13th-Gen Raptor Lake: Perfect mobile gaming CPUs
The "12% faster" quote comes direct from Intel's own benchmarks, compared with the Core 19-12950HX and Ryzen 9 6900HX. So, that's not even the flagship chip we're looking at.
From the demanding F122 to low-end favourite, CS:GO, the 13th-Gen bests the 12th-Gen cousin and the AMD powerhouse mobile CPU.
This is not unexpected, but makes for great reading if you're in the market for a new mobile gaming rig in the next few months. There's some savings to be had if you look at the mid-tier 12th-Gen assortment, just because the "new shiny toys" rule always applies; if you want absolute best-in-class performance - the 13th-Gen HX laptops are the ones to beat.
Next-Gen CPU + Next-Gen GPU?
Of course, with the kind of power delivered in the 13th-Gen mobile processors, you would be selling your gaming short by having a GTX model or RTX 30-Series graphics card for the visuals and framerates.
The Acer Nitro 16 (pictured above) boasts the latest 13th Gen Intel Core HX processors and a high 165 Hz refresh rate. Its display options include WUXGA or WQXGA, and it features NVIDIA Advanced Optimus technology for seamless switching between integrated and discrete GPUs without the need for a reboot. The keyboard is equipped with four-zone RGB backlighting and supports a 100% sRGB color gamut. Additionally, the laptop boasts an impressive 84% screen-to-body ratio. The Nitro 17 is a lightweight 17.3-inch laptop that offers several display options, including FHD at 144 Hz or 165 Hz, and QHD at 165 Hz. The laptop features a large touchpad measuring 125 x 81.6mm, and an 81% screen-to-body ratio. The keyboard also includes four-zone RGB backlighting.
Importantly, these new laptops from Acer will also include the RTX 40-Series graphics cards from NVIDIA, to absolutely max out your gaming.
NVIDIA GeForce Mobile RTX 40-Series
The new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 40-Series graphics cards are powered by the ultra-efficient NVIDIA Ada Lovelace architecture, which provides a significant advancement in both performance and AI-enhanced graphics.
Ray Tracing - Gamers can now immerse themselves in lifelike virtual worlds with the help of real-time ray tracing technology, bringing a new level of realism to games.
DLSS 3 - The latest version of DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) technology allows for massive performance boosts, making it possible to enjoy even the most demanding games at high resolutions and frame rates.
Reflex - The Reflex technology gives gamers a competitive edge by significantly reducing system latency, allowing for faster reaction times in games.
The combination of the latest architecture from both vendors spells high framerates, stunning visuals, and immersion like never before on a mobile battlestation. It is important to remember that NVIDIA are also releasing the "budget" versions of the RTX 40-Series, too. So, expect the mobile versions of the RTX 4050 and RTX 4060 to meet the needs at this price bracket.
13th-Gen Raptor Lake "HX" Specifications
Intel Core i9-13980HX
The flagship of the new line-up is the Core i9-13980HX, which boasts a 5.6GHz turbo frequency and 24 cores. This is the first time a laptop CPU has supported a 24-core configuration, and Intel is promoting it as the "world's fastest mobile processor."
This chip is built using the same die as Intel's desktop 13th-Gen processors, and it includes 8 performance cores and 16 efficiency cores. It is designed to be paired with the latest mobile GPUs for high-performance workloads and gaming, and it is packaged in a 55-watt chip.
Intel claims that the Core i9-13980HX offers up to 11% faster single-thread performance and up to 49% faster multitasking performance when compared to the same 12th-Gen chips. Gaming performance is said to be up to 12% faster, but it remains to be seen how this will impact battery life, and if we're seeing the chip taking little sips or chugging like a powerholic.
Intel Core i9-13900HX
The Intel Core i9-13900HX is a powerful mobile processor, and likely to be one of the more popular chips in the Raptor Lake mobile family. Think Intel Core i9-11900K, and what it did for mobile gaming (albeit with a high TDP). The chip was announced in early 2023 and appears to be based on the desktop Core i9-13000K, which is currently running away with benchmark wins left, right and centre on YouTube and beyond. the 13900HX features a total of 24 cores and 32 threads.
The chip is composed of 8x Raptor Cove performance cores (P-cores) that are equipped with HyperThreading with clock speeds between 2.2 GHz (base) and 5.4 GHz (single core boost). The CPU tops out at 4.9 GHz for all cores boost. The chip has 16x Gracemont efficiency cores without HyperThreading, clocking between 1.6 - 3.9 GHz.
The chip's performance is expected to be higher than that of the older Core i9-12900HX because of its increased number of E-cores and higher clock speeds. The CPU is produced using an improved 10nm FinFET process (aka Intel 7), which is responsible for the higher clock speeds. The power consumption is specified at 55W base power, with a maximum of 157 Watt maximum using Turbo. This TDP might be an issue for battery life, but the increased performance of the processor should mean you're getting jobs done faster, anyway.
HX Mobile Processors
Although we're only highlighting these two processors from the Raptor Lake mobile stack, there are other notable processors in the line-up. The Intel Core i5-13500HX, for instance, will be a very good candidate for the mobile "occasional gamer", who has a dual purpose for their laptop, using it for work mostly and the rest for gaming when attached to a power source.
There are several steps up to the flagship CPU, but a great range it is, indeed. Vendors have no shortage of options to cut costs in the mid-tier, and the high-end Core i9-13900HX, Core i9-13950HX and Core i9-13980HX deliver those high core and thread counts hardcore gamers love.
Intel Raptor Lake-HX family:
|Mobile Processor ||Clock Speed ||Cores / Threads ||Cache |
|Intel Core i9-13980HX ||1.6 - 5.6 GHz ||24 / 32 ||36 MB L3 |
|Intel Core i9-13950HX ||1.6 - 5.5 GHz ||24 / 32 ||36 MB L3 |
|Intel Core i9-13900HX ||1.6 - 5.4 GHz ||24 / 32 ||36 MB L3 |
|Intel Core i7-13850HX ||1.5 - 5.3 GHz ||20 / 28 ||30 MB L3 |
|Intel Core i7-13700HX ||1.5 - 5 GHz ||16 / 24 ||30 MB L3 |
|Intel Core i7-13650HX ||1.9 - 4.9 GHz ||14 / 20 ||24 MB L3 |
|Intel Core i5-13600HX ||1.9 - 4.8 GHz ||14 / 20 ||24 MB L3 |
|Intel Core i5-13500HX ||1.8 - 4.7 GHz ||14 / 20 ||24 MB L3 |
|Intel Core i5-13450HX ||1.8 - 4.6 GHz ||10 / 16 ||20 MB L3 |
Is 13th-Gen Raptor Lake worth it for mobile gaming?
Judging by the preliminary benchmarks from Intel and NVIDIA, the mobile gaming laptops of the coming year will be astonishingly fast, with a focus on power efficiency (to some degree), and a step ahead in terms of architecture performance. There's no doubt that with both of these new generations being released at roughly the same time means if you're in the market for a gaming laptop now - you're going to be spoilt for choice.