Don't buy an Intel gaming laptop unless it has this amazing processor

Illustration of an Intel executive holding up a Core i9-14900HX chip with a fantasy video game scene in the background.
As Intel executives unveiled the Core i9-14900HX CPU at CES in 2024 (inset), the future of video games became much more vivid. (Image credit: Future)

Many of the latest gaming laptops boast this processor, and we highly recommend it for your next device.

As laptop reviewers, we don’t solely test and criticize the products we review but also track industry trends. One such trend relates to a new processor that’s popping up repeatedly, delivering excellent performance metrics.

We’re talking about the Intel Core i9-14900HX.

While our concerns are primarily focused on processing performance, gamers investing in a laptop or PC need to always be conscious of what hardware they choose and what they use it for. Too often, players ignore or undermine the importance of a processor, which will vastly improve their day-to-day use.

A powerful processor inside your PC will make life easier, especially if you plan to use it for video or photo rendering and streaming games, but it can also positively impact framerates.

Sure, you might find little benefit in a deeply powerful processor. Still, considering many of these new laptops offer it as an option without expecting much more from you, we highly recommend investing in them to be future-proof.

The Intel Core i9-14900HX is unbeatable

The Intel Core i9-14900HX is an immensely powerful processor becoming popular in mid-range and high-end gaming laptops. The last four gaming laptops I’ve reviewed have boasted this processor, including the MSI Vector 16 HX A14VHG, Acer Predator Helios Neo 16, Acer Predator Helios 18, and most recently, the Lenovo Legion Pro 5i (Gen 9).

You might think, “Why would I spend a fortune just to get a good processor?” However, you don’t have to spend a fortune. The most affordable laptop in this bunch is the Predator Helios Neo 16, which is $1,499 with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060. The most expensive option is the MSI Vector 16 HX A14VHG for $2,699 with its RTX 4080.

The laptop that hits a perfect middle ground between the two is the Legion Pro 5i, which comes in at $1,694 at Lenovo with an RTX 4070. This is the perfect graphics card for most gamers, hitting an ideal balance between price and performance.

Lenovo Legion Pro 5i

(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Claire Tabari)

Are any of these cheap? Absolutely not, but the culprit isn’t the inclusion of a 14th-generation Intel i9. For the Legion Pro 5i, you can upgrade from i7 to i9 for $70. Sure, you might want to save that money, and if you’re confident you don’t need that extra processing power, then so be it. But don’t pass up the opportunity for significant superior performance.

You will also see gaming laptops built with Intel’s Meteor Lake processors (“Ultra”). While they’ll get the job done more than well enough, 14th-generation processors are significantly more powerful.

For example, the Lenovo Yoga Pro 9i 16 (Gen 9) is built with an Intel Core Ultra 9 185H. On the Geekbench 6.3 overall performance test, its multi-core score of 12,141 is undeniably great, especially compared to our mainstream gaming laptop average of 10,577. However, that’s nothing compared to the Legion Pro 5i’s multi-core score of 17,585.

Even on the HandBrake test, where we convert a video from 4K to 1080p, the Yoga Pro 9i took 3 minutes and 53 seconds to complete the task, which is a bit faster than the category average of 4 minutes and 17 seconds. However, Legion Pro 5i was 47 seconds faster, completing the test in 3 minutes and 6 seconds.

Bottom line 

You should only look at the processor after deciding if a gaming laptop is right for you. There are undeniably more important factors to consider, the most obvious being the graphics card. And if you’re obsessed with high-resolution displays or need a bright, colorful panel to accompany each world you explore in-game, those will be undeniably more important.

However, we highly recommend an Intel Core i9-14900HX gaming laptop, as its inclusion has recently become a huge trend. It guarantees you’re getting processing performance that can withstand the most demanding tasks.

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Claire Tabari
Contributing Writer

Self-described art critic and unabashedly pretentious, Claire finds joy in impassioned ramblings about her closeness to video games. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from Brooklyn College and five years of experience in entertainment journalism. Claire is a stalwart defender of the importance found in subjectivity and spends most days overwhelmed with excitement for the past, present and future of gaming. When she isn't writing or playing Dark Souls, she can be found eating chicken fettuccine alfredo and watching anime.