Following announcements from Nvidia and Intel today revealing details, respectively, on GeForce RTX Super GPUs and new 10th Generation Core H-Series processors that are coming to mobile, major PC manufacturers have revealed new flagship and mainstream gaming and power laptops that will employ these new-for-2020 components.
This wave of laptops includes some of the biggest names in gaming PCs, such as the Razer Blade family, a bounty of Asus ROG laptops, Acer Predator and Nitro machines, several MSI models, new Lenovo Legion units, and Gigabyte’s Aero and Aorus lines. Though they won’t be the only systems to adopt these new components, they are the first wave, in many cases employing both a new 10th Generation H-Series processor and a GeForce RTX Super GPU together.
Hello, ‘Comet Lake-H’: New H-Series CPUs for Laptops
Before outlining each new laptop, some background to understand why they’re all being refreshed. This morning, Intel pulled the curtain off its newest family of H-Series processors (also known by their code-name, “Comet Lake-H”), ready to bring increased clock speeds and, in many cases, higher core and thread counts to bear in your favorite robust laptops.
The H-Series is traditionally Intel’s high-performance line for laptops, and the chip maker stuck with a refinement of its 14-nanometer (nm) architecture again here. The 10nm process has been adopted in some lower-power 10th Generation U-Series laptop chips introduced last year (the “Ice Lake” family). The Ice Lake processors are a better fit for ultraportables, but Intel found the single-core performance of 14nm the superior option for these laptops.
This new stack runs from Core i5 through Core i7 and up to an overclockable Core i9 CPU, the Core i9-10980HK. The most potent Core i7 version of these processors, the Core i7-10875H, will boast eight cores and 16 threads. This chip, alongside the six-core and 12-thread Core i7-10850H, will be the most common one used in many of these slim gaming laptops. Be sure to read our more detailed coverage of Intel’s new offerings here. The processor giant will be hoping these processors are a hit, as recent pressure from AMD’s latest chips, the fourth-generation Ryzen CPUs dubbed “Renoir,” pose a real threat. We tested our first Renoir-based laptop this week, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, based on a Ryzen 9 CPU, and it looks a formidable competitor to the new H Series.
Better RTX: Nvidia’s Mobile GeForce RTX Super GPUs
In a rare synchronized embargo launch, Nvidia at the same time showed off laptop versions of its GeForce RTX Super graphics cards. On desktop, the GeForce RTX 2070 Super and GeForce RTX 2080 Super delivered superior performance over the base GeForce RTX 2070 and GeForce RTX 2080 GPUs, and they are now poised to do the same on high-end laptops. These will also come with additional features that help boost performance further. Head over to our coverage of the mobile RTX Super announcement for many more details.
Below are the specific laptop announcements from each manufacturer. Where possible, launch dates for each laptop are included, but most dates are tentative due to the obvious uncertainty stemming from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Also note that the listed prices are the starting prices for the base configurations. The component focus here is on the maximum CPU or GPU a laptop is available with, as a sign of its power potential, but prices aren’t listed for every more expensive permutation and configuration. Those will cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more than the base configuration depending on the laptop and components.
Asus: A Whole Host of ROG, and a Special Twin-Screener
First is Asus, since it’s bringing quite a few systems to market. Eight new laptops will be using the 10th Generation Core H processors and GeForce RTX Super graphics—almost all of them using both together. These eight laptops are spread across Asus’ various Republic of Gamers (ROG) product lines, including Zephyrus, Strix, and Scar, all aimed at different power and price tiers.
ROG Zephyrus Duo
First up is the Zephyrus line, Asus’ most premium offering. The Zephyrus S15, S17 and M15 are all being updated for this hardware refresh, and a brand-new product is also entering the fray. That would be the entirely new ROG Zephyrus Duo, an innovative dual-screen laptop that builds on what Asus was developing with its non-gaming Duo line in models like the ZenBook Pro Duo.
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo
Despite the very slim form factor, the Zephyrus Duo manages to fit a 14-inch second display across the top of the keyboard. What’s more, it can tilt forward at a 13-degree angle so you can see it while gaming. This is the largest second screen to be put into a gaming laptop, and it bears a 3,840-by-1,100-pixel native resolution and a 60Hz refresh rate.
We’ve seen plenty of potential use cases with Asus’ other Duo products, but there are plenty of gaming-specific solutions. The ScreenPad Plus, as it’s called, can keep chats open on the second display, or show your map or inventory. It can also hold companion apps open while you play to show off statistics.
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo
The laptop itself is fully powered, and can feature a 300Hz G-Sync or 4K display on the top half. The GPU options max out at a GeForce RTX 2080 Super, while the CPU goes all the way to the top with the 10th Generation Core i9. (With that chip, clock speeds can reach as high as 5.3GHz on a single core.)
The Zephyrus Duo is slated to release this June, starting at $2,999.99.
ROG Zephyrus S15 and S17
As for the rest of these Zephyrus systems, the S15 is the small and slim high-end option, a 0.7-inch thick laptop that will be able to hold up to a i7-10875H CPU, an RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU, a maximum of 32GB of memory, and RAID 0 support for up to two SSDs.
Asus ROG Zephyrus S15
The S17 is, of course, a 17-inch version of this laptop, maxing out at the same components, with a larger screen and a desktop-style keyboard with an LED number pad built into the touchpad. It also offers superior thermals via the larger chassis, and a bottom-facing intake vent that opens when the lid is raised.
Both the S15 and S17 will feature a 300Hz full-HD display, as well as support for Nvidia’s G-Sync technology. Formerly it wasn’t possible to offer both G-Sync and Optimus, but Nvidia’s new technology has made it possible to implement both in one laptop. Here, a GPU switch allows the laptop to change between the integrated GPU and the discrete Nvidia GPU as needed, balancing battery life and performance.
The Zephyrus S15 should start at $2,399.99 and will launch in either late May or June. The S17 will be available starting at $1,999, and Asus is aiming for a May launch.
ROG Zephyrus M15
The M15, pictured below, is the more affordable option relative to the rest of the Zephyrus line, starting at $1,300. It will still offer up to the i7-10875H CPU, as well as the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti up through to the RTX 2070 Super. Display options include both 144Hz and 240Hz full-HD panels, as well as a 4K option. While more cost-friendly to start, those higher-spec configs will max out at $2,999.99. The M15 is also targeting a May release.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M15
ROG Strix G15 and G17
Moving on, the Strix G15 and G17, while less focused on thinness and portability than Zephyrus models, are still reasonably sized systems that will offer similar power. The G15 also offers up to the eight-core Core i7 and the RTX 2070 Super, as well as a 240Hz HD display. It also comes in an extra color option in addition to the standard black: a pink and black “Electro Punk” scheme that includes an RGB bar and a peripheral bundle.
Asus ROG Strix G15
The Strix G17 is very similar, maxing out at the same components but including a larger 140Hz HD display. Both sizes feature easy access by way of special screws on the bottom panel, allowing you to seamlessly modify the RAM and storage. Each size supports RAID 0 with up to three SSDs and can hold up to 32GB of RAM.
The Strix G15 starts at $1,299.99, while the G17 starts at $1,249.99, and both are targeting a June launch.
ROG Strix Scar 15 and Scar 17
Last but not least, we come to the Strix Scar models. These are versions of the Strix laptops aimed specifically at hardcore esports players and competitive multiplayer enthusiasts. As you would expect, a 300Hz HD display is a main feature of both the Scar 15 and Scar 17 to drive that concept home.
Asus ROG Scar 15
The 15-inch version maxes out at the eight-core Core i7 chip and the RTX 2070 Super, while the Scar 17 is one of the most powerful laptops in this stable. It can go all the way up to the Core i9-10980HK and the GeForce RTX 2080 Super at full 150-watt capability. Both of these laptops also include RAID 0 support, as well as Asus’ Keystone technology for transporting settings profiles between so-equipped laptops on a proprietary USB-flash-style drive. The Scar 15 and 17 both start at $2,199.99 and are targeting a May release.
On top of the component upgrades themselves, Asus is using Thermal Grizzly’s liquid-metal thermal compound on all of these ROG gaming laptop’s processors. The company claims that doing this will further boost performance numbers of these new CPUs by lowering temperatures by as much as 10 to 20 degrees C depending on the specific processor and laptop. According to Asus’ internal Cinebench testing, this can boost performance, in some cases, by roughly 10 percent.
Razer: Honing the Blade 15
Next is the Blade 15, consistently one of our favorite gaming laptops. It’s getting some major upgrades beyond the core hardware.
The higher-end model, known as the Blade 15 Advanced Model, will be getting the eight-core Core i7-10875H processor and your choice of RTX 2070 Super or RTX 2080 Super GPU.
Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model
Both are Max-Q versions of the GPUs, meaning they’re tuned down to function inside a slim chassis. Even then, Razer says to expect up to 25 percent increased performance over the non-Super originals. Between the additional cores and threads of the new processor and this graphics upgrade, there should be a significant performance jump coming to this machine.
These major component upgrades will join other additions like the option for a 300Hz display, aimed squarely at competitive multiplayer enthusiasts. It will also be getting a new keyboard (which fixes some physical-layout issues that have long irked users), more storage, and updated connectivity.
Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model
The Base Model is also getting some updates. It will now include the Core i7-10750, a six-core chip. You will also be able to choose an OLED touch display, even in the entry-level Base Model.
The Blade 15 Base Model starts at $1,599, with configurations maxing out at $2,299, while the Advanced Model begins at $2,599 and goes up to $3,299.
Acer: A Nitro Boost, and Unleashing a New Predator
Next up is Acer, which announced two new laptops of its own: the affordable Nitro 5, and the higher-end Predator Triton 500. Both will utilize 10th Generation CPUs and GeForce RTX Super GPUs, but let’s break down how they differ.
As the entry-level option, the new Nitro 5 will start at just $749.99. It can contain components as (relatively) modest as a 10th Generation Core i5 CPU and a GeForce GTX 1650, but it still maxes out at Core i7 chips and a GeForce RTX 2060 (a non-Super GPU).
Acer Nitro 5
You can outfit the Nitro 5 with up to two M.2 SSDs and a 1TB hard drive, plus up to 32GB of RAM (user-upgradable, as well). The 15.6-inch screen is a full-HD IPS panel, and 120Hz and 144Hz options are available.
Predator Triton 500
The Triton 500, one of our favorite high-end gaming laptops of the last couple of years, comes packing the heat. It can include up to the top-end 10th Generation Core i7 processors, as well as the GeForce RTX 2070 Super or the RTX 2080 (both in Max-Q trim). Though powerful, the Triton 500 still measures just 0.7 inch thick and weighs just 4.6 pounds.
Acer Predator Triton 500
In addition to those core components, the Triton 500 features a 300Hz display with Nvidia G-Sync, up to 32GB of memory, and as much as 2TB of SSD storage in RAID 0. Additionally, its so-called “Vortex Flow” fan design and “Coolboost” fan-speed technology promise to enhance airflow for better performance, while reducing noise.
The Triton 500 will start at $2,199.99. Both it and the Nitro 5 are slated for a May release.
Lenovo: I Am (Still) Legion
Lenovo, meanwhile, is refreshing several versions of its Legion gaming lineup. The Legion 5i is the entry-level option bearing Intel and Nvidia’s latest parts, while the Legion 7i will be the performance-first alternative. The 5i and 7i names are succeeding the existing Legion Y540 and Legion Y740 product names for simplicity.
Lenovo Legion 5i
The component details on these machines are currently slightly lighter than on the others, but we know the essentials. The Legion 5i will offer up to a GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, while the Legion 7i will max out at the GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q. Both will go up to the newest 10th Gen Core i7 chips.
Lenovo Legion 7i
Additionally, each Legion laptop will offer Nvidia Advanced Optimus for improved battery and performance efficiency. Like the Asus machines, they will be able to offer this while still featuring support for G-Sync adaptive sync.
The Lenovo Legion 5i will start at $999, while the 7i will begin at $1,199.
Gigabyte: Aero and Aorus Get a Boost
Joining the proceedings are new Aero and Aorus laptops from Gigabyte. Aero laptops are coming in four flavors across two screen sizes.
Aero 15, Aero 15 OLED, Aero 17, and Aero 17 HDR
The Aero laptops are capable of gaming, but they are aimed more squarely at content creators. The HDR and OLED versions of each, in particular, are aimed at creatives with their 4K-resolution screens that support HDR400. The non-4K models, meanwhile, offer 144Hz refresh rates for gaming.
Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED
We have no configuration specifics at this time, but the Aero line will support GeForce RTX 20-Series Super GPUs, as well as 10th Generation Core i7 and Core i9 processors. The Aero 15 will start at $1,599, while the Aero 15 OLED starts at $1,899. The Aero 17 has a starting price of $1,699, while the Aero 17 HDR will start at $2,299.
Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR
Aorus 5, Aorus 7, Aorus 15G, Aorus 17G, Aorus 17X
Gigabyte’s Aorus laptops, on the other hand, go all-in on gaming. The Aorus 5 and 7 are the more portable, but premium, gaming laptops, while the Aorus 15G, 17G, and 17X are the extreme desktop replacements.
The Aorus 5 and 7 top out at the Core i7 H-Series processors, not ramping up to Core i9 given that they are the slimmer and more budget-minded options. The GPUs in these laptops run from the GeForce GTX 16-Series to the new GeForce RTX Super options, while the laptop includes features like a 144Hz display and up to three storage drives. The Aorus 5 will start at $1,299, while the Aorus 7 begins at $1,399.
The remaining extreme Aorus laptops, on the other hand, don’t hold back. These feature processors up through the stack to 10th Generation Core i9 chips and the GeForce RTX 2080 Super. At the top end, you can outfit these models with the overclockable Core i9-10980HK. All the high-end bells and whistles are present and accounted for, including 240Hz panels and even an Omron mechanical keyboard tucked inside. Though heftier than Gigabyte’s other offerings, the company still says these are the lightest laptops on the market to include mechanical keyboards.
The Aorus 15G, 17G, and 17X will have starting prices of $1,699, $1,799, and $2,399, respectively. Sales of all Gigabyte’s laptops will begin in mid-to-late April, while pre-orders for the Aero laptops are open today.
MSI: Two 66s, and a Special Mini-LED Model
Finally, MSI is launching three different products with fresh Intel and Nvidia internals: the GS66 Stealth, the GE66 Raider, and the Creator 17. The first two are gaming laptops, while the latter is aimed at creative professionals and features a laptop first: a mini-LED display panel.
MSI Creator 17
The gaming laptops will feature up to a Core i9-10980HK, and MSI will pair it and Core i7 offerings with a 300Hz display. This is the first time we can confirm that these laptops will use these new parts, but it is not actually the first time we’re seeing the gaming laptops. We were able to check them out at CES 2020, so check out our video previews below for much more on the GE66 and GS66…
We look forward to checking out most, if not all, of these laptops ourselves once they become available, and putting Intel and Nvidia’s latest components through our test grinder. Check back for much more coverage and full reviews as these systems work their way to our labs.