That awkward moment when a Core i7-8750H laptop can outperform a Core i7-9750H laptop
When we benchmarked our first Whiskey Lake-U Core i7-8565U laptops late last year, we confirmed our suspicion that raw processor performance would be just marginally better than the Kaby Lake-R Core i7-8550U at best or even slower at worst. Now that the mobile Intel 9th gen H-series has arrived, we can test how much of a performance gain it offers over the outgoing Intel 8th gen H-series in a similar manner.
In short, it's the same story all over again. Actual processor performance will depend on the cooling solution and OEM implementation rather than the Intel naming convention.
Our latest two examples are the Alienware m15 and Razer Blade 15 equipped with the Core i7-8750H and Core i7-9750H, respectively. When running CineBench R15, final scores are within just 1 to 4 percent of one another. When running the same CineBench R15 Multi-Thread benchmark in a loop to test for Turbo Boost sustainability, the Alienware with the older CPU is actually better at maintaining faster clock rates and performance for longer as shown by our comparison graph below. Both laptops perform similarly at the start of the test, but throttling is heavier on the Razer. The i7-8750H will outperform the i7-9750H by almost 5 percent after accounting for throttling between these two laptops.
The major asterisk in this comparison is core temperature. While the Alienware stabilizes at 3.4 GHz compared to 3.1 GHz on the Razer, core temperature is much warmer at 99 C. The minor boost in processor performance comes at a major price in terms of running temperatures.
Of course, the Alienware m15 and Razer Blade 15 are just two implementations of the i7-8750H and i7-9750H out of the hundreds in the market. Performance can and will fluctuate across different models, but we certainly don't expect huge gains based on our experience with half a dozen different Core i7-9750H laptops thus far.
If you're in the market for a Core i7-9750H laptop, don't expect major performance advantages over the i7-8750H, if any. Consider the Core i9-9880H instead if multi-thread processor performance is a priority.