Now that AMD’s boffo Ryzen 4000 chips and Intel’s 10th-gen Comet Lake H are both out, laptop shoppers have to decide whether to wait for shiny new models to ship, or jump now to find some good deals on the current generation still available.
The biggest surprise was the Ryzen 9 4900HS we reviewed in the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 laptop. We expected the CPU to be fast, but we didn’t know it would handle its acoustics and thermals so well, too. Ryzen 4000 and the ROG Zephyrus G14 have reset what to expect out of a gaming laptop for performance and portability.
Not to be outdone, Intel’s new 10th-gen Comet Lake H also resets what to expect out of gaming and workhorse laptops with a Core i7. That’s because Intel has now introduced 8-core CPUs with Core i7 branding, after previously restricting that high core count to the premium Core i9. It brought enough of an improvement for us to pronounce the 10th-gen Comet Lake H Core i7 the best Core i7 we’ve ever seen.
Should you wait for the new laptops, or find a good deal on existing models? We’ll help you decide by going through the pros and cons for each generation.
Wait: If you want a high-end Ryzen laptop
The biggest problem for those excited to buy a Ryzen 4000 laptop today is there just aren’t that many available, let alone with the hardware you might want.
The first Ryzen 4000 laptop out the gate, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, went from pre-order to sold-out at Best Buy.com seemingly overnight. At $1,450 with a Ryzen 9 and RTX 2060 Max-Q chip, it’s not even high-end, but it was the only game in town. You can still click the link and gaze sadly at the Sold Out button, the same way you look at the empty toilet paper shelf.
Gamers set on a GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q or a 17.3-inch HDR screen pretty much have no choice today but to reach for Intel’s new 10th-gen CPU. While Ryzen 4000 is easily the superior CPU in many tasks, if you can’t get it with the GPU you want, the Thunderbolt 3 you want, or the screen you want, then it doesn’t mean much. To be honest, you’ll be happy with either CPU.
If you’re dead-set on Ryzen 4000 in your laptop with a checklist of features, you should definitely wait. Oddly, we haven’t seen Ryzen 4000 chips announced with Nvidia’s fastest GPUs just yet, but we fully expect them to materialize.
Wait: If you’re a gamer (unless you like good deals)
While AMD and Intel got a lot of the glory this round, the other shout-out should go to Nvidia with its new GeForce RTX Super-series of GPUs, as well as the updated version of Max-Q.
Both RTX Super GPUs and Max-Q labels bring a hefty uptick in performance. Although we’re still waiting to see more implementations…