Is the jump from 6 cores in the Intel i7-9750H processor to 8 cores in the i9-9880H worth it in a laptop? Let’s compare and see what the differences in performance are. These are the spec differences between these processors the biggest difference is of course going to be the core count, the i7 has 6 cores 12 threads while the i9 has 8 cores 16 threads. The i9 also has more cache and a higher base and boost clock speed, so basically it should be a bit better in every regard. The question is by how much, and is that worth the extra money.
The laptops I’m testing with are the MSI P65 Creator for the i9-9880H and the Lenovo Y540 for the i7-9750H. I’ve also limited both to a 45 watt TDP in Intel XTU, the stock power limit for each of these CPUs.
Starting off with Cinebench R20, I’ve got the i7 down the bottom and i9 up the top. We can instantly see the i9 is performing better in the multicore test, as expected due to the higher core count, which makes it 32% faster here. For single core though, the i9 only has a 1% higher score.
I’ve also got some older Cinebench R15 results for those that still use it the single core performance was even closer together in this test, and the i9 saw a 25% higher multicore score when compared to the i7.
Handbrake was used to convert a 4K video file to 1080p, then a separate 1080p file to 720p. As another test that benefits from more cores, the i9 had a clear lead here, performing the task 28 to 30% faster than the i7.
Blender is another core heavy workload so as expected the 9880H was completing the task faster here, about 29% faster for the BMW test and 28% faster for the classroom test. We’ll revisit this test later when we look at power draw, clock speed and thermals.
V-Ray is another multicore test that uses the processor to render out a scene there was a 20% higher score from the i9 here, so lower compared to the other multicore tests, but still a nice improvement.
The Corona benchmark also uses the processor to render out a scene and the difference was similar to Vray, where the 8 core i9 was completing the task 24% faster than the 6 core i7.
7-Zip was used to test compression and decompression speeds and the i9 saw the largest performance difference out of all tests here, where it was over 35% faster in this workload when compared against the 9750H.
Veracrypt was used to test AES encryption and decryption speeds and again the results with the i9 were some of the better ones out of all apps tested, with a 33% boost to performance with the i9 for encryption, and a 31% boost for decryption.
Geekbench 4 was only seeing a 3% higher single core score with the i9, but then a much higher 26% jump to the multicore score as those extra cores make more of a difference compared to the single core turbo difference. I’ve used Adobe Premiere to export video at 4K, and the test utilizes quicksync which both systems are able to take advantage of. Again like many other multicore tests the i9 was ahead, however it was much lower with just an 8% lead. I’ve also used the warp stabilizer effect within Adobe Premiere which is a lighter threaded workload comparatively, so there was much less of a difference now with the i9 just completing the task 2% faster.
These are the differences between the Intel i9-9880H and i7-9750H when both are capped to the stock 45 watt power limit. The results are about as expected. The i9 only has a small gain when it comes to single core performance due to the higher single core turbo boost speed, then for all of the other multicore tests, the i9 sees a much higher advantage. The jump from 6 to 8 cores is a 33% increase, and we’re seeing around this much of a boost in some of the tests.
When we look at the total system power draw from the wall while running the Blender benchmark the 9880H was using about 30% more power, though it was also performing around that much faster in this test as well.
When we look at the clock speed differences in this same test there’s not too much difference, however the 8 core chip was lower, presumably due to the same 45 watt power budget being spread out over more cores.
I’ve added the temperature differences because people always ask, however they are hard to fairly compare as I’ve used two different machines with different cooling solutions. The i9 is only one degree warmer here, however the fans in the MSI P65 did get noticeably louder. So yeah not really directly comparable.
Unfortunately there are no gaming results at this time as the laptops I’m testing with have different graphics. This is the only time I’ve ever had a laptop with the 9880H, and it’s been a while since I’ve had an i7 paired with an 80 watt 2070 Max-Q.
No undervolting was done in the previous tests, however as both are 9th gen this is supported, whereas it seems to be locked in a number of newer 10th gen laptops that I’ve tested so far.
Prices are a little hard to compare, mainly because there aren’t a wide selection of 9880H laptops available whereas 9750H machines are much more common. I’ve had a hard time finding the same chassis that’s still for sale today with either option, let me know if you know of any. On the Intel website at least, Intel is selling the i9 for 40% more money to their customers, though I’m sure this will vary so only use it as a rough guide. The percentage difference will be lower if the price difference is similar once you factor in the cost of the whole laptop and not just the processor. If you’re running a CPU heavy workload that can utilize extra cores, I’d probably be happy paying around 20 to 30% more money to get around a similar boost to processing power.
If you’re doing other tasks like gaming though, such an extra amount of money is probably not worth it for most people who are after best value, the i7 would have you covered well there. At the same time, the 4900HS would smoke the 9880H, but unfortunately at this time it’s available in even fewer laptops at the moment, so expect things to change if the option becomes more widely available. Anyway let me know what you thought about the performance differences between the i7-9750H and i9-9880H processors down in the comments, which would you get and why?