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Best Core i9 laptops 2022

The Dell XPS 17.
(Image credit: Dell)

Folks looking for a laptop with some grit should look no further than models equipped with a Core i9 CPU. These are the most powerful processors that Intel develops, and while they're pretty expensive and consume a lot of power, their unrivaled performance makes them a fantastic option for gamers and professionals that daily drive intensive programs. There are plenty of awesome Core i9-equipped laptops out there, but we think the Dell XPS 15 is the best Core i9 laptop. Between its impressive specs, killer display, premium design, and fair price tag, it's a laptop you're sure to love.

The Dell XPS 15.

(Image credit: Dell)

Dell XPS 15 (9520)

The best Core i9 laptop overall

Specifications

Display: 15-inch FHD+ @ 60Hz (non-touch) / 15-inch 3.5K OLED @ 60Hz (touch) / 15-inch 4K UHD @ 60Hz (touch)
CPU: 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900HK
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
Memory: Up to 64GB of DDR5 @ 4800MHz
Storage: Up to 2TB SSD
Ports: 1x USB-C, 2x Thunderbolt 4

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent specs and performance
+
Incredible display options
+
Premium design
+
Dual Thunderbolt 4
+
Not too expensive

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the strongest GPU
-
No USB-A

For most people in need of a Core i9 device, the Dell XPS 15 will be the best choice. It comes with Intel's latest 12th Gen i9-12900HK CPU, a powerful RTX 3050 Ti graphics card, up to 64GB of the latest and greatest DDR5 RAM, and up to 2TB of speedy SSD storage. The 3050 Ti isn't quite as powerful as the GPUs used in the other devices on this list, but it still delivers great performance for gaming and creative workloads alike, and it's much more affordable to boot. That means the Dell XPS 15 is less taxing on your wallet compared to other Core i9-equipped laptops, which is always a plus.

In terms of design, the Dell XPS 15 is sleek and stylish, and both its keyboard and trackpad are a joy to use. The inclusion of dual Thunderbolt 4 ports alongside a USB-C slot is awesome, and while USB-A would have been nice to have, it would have made the laptop thicker. 

The display is where the Dell XPS 15 shines brightest (literally, but also quality-wise). You get a choice between a FHD+, 3.5K OLED, or 4K UHD panel with up to 500 nits of peak brightness, with the latter two options also offering touch support. The contrast on these panels is excellent, and all three have a stunning color gamut that ensures whatever you're watching, playing, or working on will look incredible.

The Dell XPS 17.

(Image credit: Dell)

Dell XPS 17 (9720)

The best 17-inch Core i9 laptop

Specifications

Display: 17-inch FHD+ @ 60Hz (non-touch) / 17-inch 4K UHD @ 60Hz (touch)
CPU: 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900HK
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
Memory: Up to 64GB of DDR5 @ 4800MHz
Storage: Up to 2TB SSD
Ports: 4x Thunderbolt 4

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful hardware
+
Gorgeous display
+
Fantastic design
+
Quad Thunderbolt 4
+
Not too expensive

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the strongest GPU
-
No USB-A

What if you took everything that makes the Dell XPS 15 great and scale it up to a 17-inch chassis? That's basically what the Dell XPS 17 is, and if you like having a big screen to work with, we strongly recommend choosing it. Like the XPS 15, the XPS 17 comes with a Core i9-12900HK, up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM, and up to 2TB of SSD storage. Thanks to the larger form factor, though, Dell managed to squeeze an RTX 3060 GPU inside. This GPU is a step above the RTX 3050 Ti in the XPS 15, though this also means that the XPS 17 is a bit more expensive than its smaller sister device. It's still not as performant as some of NVIDIA's heavier hitters, but it'll be more than enough for the vast majority of games and programs.

Notably, the Dell XPS 17 features the same incredible design that the XPS 15 does, complete with a comfortable keyboard, reliable trackpad, and top-notch build quality. The laptop also stands out from its 17-inch peers by offering four Thunderbolt 4 ports, which is fantastic. There's no USB-A, but that's hardly a big deal.

Dell always nails it when it comes to displays, and things are no different with the Dell XPS 17. Both the FHD+ and 4K UHD options look incredible thanks to their narrow bezels, 500-nit peak brightness, and deep contrast. Both panels also have a rich and vivid color gamut. 

The Razer Blade 15.

(Image credit: Razer)

Razer Blade 15 (2022)

The best Core i9 gaming laptop

Specifications

Display: 15-inch 4K UHD @ 144Hz
CPU: 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900H
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
Memory: 32GB of DDR5 @ 4800MHz
Storage: 1TB SSD
Ports: 2x USB-C, 3x USB-A, 1x Thunderbolt 4

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional hardware
+
Awesome display
+
Sleek design
+
Versatile port selection
+
RGB aesthetic

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive
-
Keyboard could be better

Razer's Blade 15 is arguably the best gaming laptop available today, and when you check out the specs of the Core i9 version, it's easy to see why. The combo of a 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900K with an RTX 3080 Ti GPU, 32GB of DDR5 4800MHz memory, and 1TB of SSD storage allows the Blade 15 to easily crush any game you throw at it, and it'll do an incredible job with creative applications as well. 

The laptop also comes with an incredible UHD 4K display with a 144Hz refresh rate, a jaw-dropping color gamut, and impressive contrast. It offers gamers the perfect middle ground between stunning visuals and high frame rate, making the panel a great fit whether you're playing high-stakes competitive games or an ambitious title that pushes the boundaries of graphics technology.

The design of the Razer Blade 15 is excellent, too, as its lustrous finish and RGB lighting give it plenty of style. The laptop is built well and has a nice trackpad, and while the travel of the keycaps is a little shallow, the user experience is great overall. You also get a fantastic array of ports, including dual USB-C, a trio of USB-A, and a Thunderbolt 4 slot. 

The Razer Blade 17.

(Image credit: Razer)

Razer Blade 17 (2022)

The best 17-inch Core i9 gaming laptop

Specifications

Display: 17-inch 4K UHD @ 144Hz
CPU: 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900H
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
Memory: 32GB of DDR5 @ 4800MHz
Storage: 1TB SSD (upgradeable to 4TB)
Ports: 1x USB-C, 3x USB-A, 2x Thunderbolt 4

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional hardware
+
Gorgeous display
+
Stylish, well-made design
+
Versatile port selection
+
RGB aesthetic

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive
-
Shallow keyboard travel

Much like how the Dell XPS 17 is essentially a larger Dell XPS 15, the Razer Blade 17 is best described as an upsized Razer Blade 15. It has all of the same top-notch specs, including a Core i9-12900K, an RTX 3080 Ti, 32GB of blazing-fast DDR5 RAM, and a 1TB SSD for game storage. One notable difference, though, is that you can upgrade the Blade 17's SSD with up to a 4TB one of your own. 

The 17-inch 4K UHD 144Hz panel is just as supreme as the Blade 15's, and between its thin bezels, incredible color gamut, and deep contrast, there's a lot for gamers and professionals alike to love. The larger display also makes it easier to spot and appreciate visual details in games, though the bigger form factor does make the Blade 17 a bit less portable than the Blade 15. 

The Blade 17 sports the same design as Razer's smaller laptop, including the sleek surfaces, RGB lighting, and robust build quality. That also means it has the same shallow key travel, but it's hardly a big issue. Notably, the port selection here is stellar, as the inclusion of dual Thunderbolt 4, a trio of USB-A, and a USB-C port ensure you have plenty of options for peripheral connectivity. 

The MSI GS76 Stealth.

(Image credit: MSI)

MSI GS76 Stealth

The best mid-range Core i9 gaming laptop

Specifications

Display: 17-inch FHD @ 360Hz / 17-inch QHD @ 240Hz / 17-inch 4K UHD @ 120Hz
CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i9-11900H
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 / NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 / NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
Memory: Up to 64GB of DDR4 @ 3200MHz
Storage: Up to 2TB SSD
Ports: 1x USB-C, 2x USB-A, 1x Thunderbolt 4

Reasons to buy

+
Wide range of powerful specs
+
Lots of display options 
+
Great design
+
Good port selection
+
More affordable than other options

Reasons to avoid

-
Mediocre speakers
-
Accidental trackpad clicks are frequent
-
Awful webcam

What if you're looking for a Core i9 gaming laptop, but don't need the top-dollar GPUs or latest 12th Gen CPU generation found in Razer's devices? Look no further than the (relatively) affordable 17-inch MSI GS76 Stealth, which pairs the 11th Gen Core i9-11900K with some mid-range GPU offerings like the RTX 3060 and RTX 3070 (you can get it with an RTX 3080, too, but at that point we recommend getting the Razer Blade 15 instead). It also comes with up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM and up to a 2TB SSD storage, guaranteeing that you won't be lacking when it comes to memory and space. 

The GS76 Stealth also comes with a variety of different display options, including a FHD 360Hz screen, a QHD 240Hz one, and a gorgeous 4K UHD 120Hz panel. The former option is excellent for competitive gamers, while the latter is ideal for maximum eye-candy. The QHD panel, meanwhile, is a great balanced option for folks who want high frame rate and sharp visuals. The included 720p webcam above the display is unfortunately very grainy, but you don't need to care about this unless you have plans to do video calls. The device's weak speakers will be more of an issue if you don't use headphones, though they don't sound bad by any means.

As the name of the laptop implies, the GS76 Stealth's design is less flashy than the ones you'll find on many other gaming devices, though it's still great. The build quality is excellent and the keyboard is enjoyable to use, and while the trackpad feels "thin" and too easy to click accidentally, it's a quirk you'll get used to with time. Port-wise, you get dual USB-A, a USB-C slot, and a Thunderbolt 4 port for hooking up accessories.

The ASUS ROG Flow Z13.

(Image credit: ASUS)

ASUS ROG Flow Z13

The best 13-inch Core i9 laptop

Specifications

Display: 13-inch WUXGA (1920x1200) @ 120Hz / 13-inch WQUXGA (3840x2400) @ 60Hz
CPU: 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900H
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
Memory: Up to 16GB DDR5 @ 4800Hz
Storage: 1TB SSD
Ports: 1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, 1x Thunderbolt 4, 1x ROG XG mobile interface

Reasons to buy

+
Great specs
+
Excellent display options
+
Most portable option
+
Convertible design
+
More affordable than larger devices

Reasons to avoid

-
GPU isn't the strongest
-
Optional eGPU adds bulk

It's exceedingly rare to find a Core i9 processor in a 13-inch device, and ASUS has made some big waves by putting one in its new ROG Flow Z13. This little monster comes with a 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900H, an RTX 3050 Ti GPU, up to 16GB of DDR5 memory, and a full 1TB of SSD storage. The 3050 Ti isn't as powerful as some of the other GPUs you'll find in laptops on this list, but for something in the 13-inch category, it's very impressive. Certain bundles available also pair the laptop with an ASUS ROG XG RTX 3080 eGPU that you can use whenever you want to give it a huge power boost, though this does raise the price significantly and makes transporting the device more difficult.

When it comes to the display, you have two options: a WUXGA (1920x1200) panel at 120Hz, or a WQUXGA (3840x2400) one at 60Hz. Both look great thanks to the laptop's excellent color gamut and strong contrast, and the 500-nit brightness is awesome, too. Notably, both screens also support touch.

The design of the Flow Z13 is what ultimately makes it stand out the most, as it's a convertible device that you can fold and use like a tablet. This essentially makes it a beefier version of Microsoft's Surface Pro that costs less than larger Core i9 devices, and while the small screen size won't be a good fit for everyone, it's still a niche worth considering.

If we had to choose ...

Laptops equipped with Core i9 processors are some of the most capable devices on the market, as together with plenty of high-performance RAM and a powerful GPU, these CPUs can handle anything you throw at it. This includes intensive multitasking, professional creative applications, and even today's latest games. Thus, we highly recommend getting a Core i9 laptop if the best Core i7 laptops aren't a good fit for you and you don't mind the extra cost. Of these, our favorite is the Dell XPS 15, as it offers a stellar balance of strong performance, gorgeous display options, a premium design, and price. It's easily one of the best laptops ever made, and we can't recommend it enough.

If you'd prefer something more hardcore that forgoes affordability for maximum horsepower, both the Razer Blade 15 and 17 will be your best options. These are beastly laptops that feature the absolute best laptop hardware available today, and while they are very expensive, you also get what you pay for in spades. 

Finally, don't overlook the MSI GS76 Stealth or the ASUS ROG Flow Z13 if you're looking for something less expensive. Both of these devices are some of the best laptops in their respective niches; the GS76 Stealth is perfect for gamers who want excellent performance for a mid-range cost, while the ROG Flow Z13 is ideal for folks who want the power of a workstation in the chassis of an ultraportable.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.