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That awkward moment when the Core i7-10875H outperforms the more expensive Core i9-10980HK

That awkward moment when the Core i7-10875H outperforms the more expensive Core i9-10980HK (Image source: Gigabyte)
That awkward moment when the Core i7-10875H outperforms the more expensive Core i9-10980HK (Image source: Gigabyte)
If you're investing in the Core i9-10980HK, it may be wise to wait for thicker laptops to become available first since they will more likely have stronger cooling solutions to better exploit the high Turbo Boost clock rates of the 10th gen Core i9 processor.
Allen Ngo, 🇷🇺

Much like what we discovered last year between certain 8th gen Coffee Lake-H Core i7-8750H and Core i9-8950HK laptops, there are some 10th gen Comet Lake-H laptops where the lesser octa-core Core i7-10875H would consistently outperform the supposedly higher-end octa-core Core i9-10980HK.

We recently had the chance to check out both the Gigabyte Aero 15 and Aero 17 each equipped with the Core i7-10875H and the MSI GS66 equipped with the Core i9-10980HK. At first glance, users would rightfully expect the MSI to outperform the Gigabyte laptops in CPU performance. CineBench, however, shows the Aero 17 outscoring the MSI by just a couple of percentage points. Running CineBench R15 Multi-Thread in a loop reveals better performance sustainability on the Gigabyte laptops as well; scores would stabilize at around 1560 points on the Gigabyte systems compared to 1525 points on the MSI after several loops.

An important advantage on the Core i9-10980HK that's not found on the Core i7-10875H is its unlocked multiplier for overclocking potential. Thus, it's possible for the Core i9 CPU to outperform the Core i7 after some tweaking and with the right cooling solution, at least in theory. The issue is that the stock Core i9 in the MSI GS66 already runs very warm at 90 C to 95 C when gaming meaning that there is very little headroom in the first place for any end-user overclocking.

Laptops sporting Intel Comet Lake-H CPUs have only been in the market for a couple of weeks as of this writing meaning we'll have to test a lot more units before diving in to any conclusions. Of the small handful we've seen thus far, however, no laptop has yet to fully exploit the Core i9-10980HK. We suspect that larger laptops like the Asus ROG G703 series or the MSI GT75 will be able to run the Core i9-10980HK at higher clocks for longer periods than on the GS66.

Cinebench R20
CPU (Single Core)
Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XB-8DE51B0SP
Intel Core i7-10875H
511 Points ∼100%
Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR XB
Intel Core i7-10875H
499 Points ∼98%
MSI GS66 Stealth 10SFS
Intel Core i9-10980HK
477 Points ∼93%
Acer Predator Triton 500 PT515-52-70N3
Intel Core i7-10750H
468 Points ∼92%
MSI GP65 10SFK-047US
Intel Core i7-10750H
463 Points ∼91%
CPU (Multi Core)
Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XB-8DE51B0SP
Intel Core i7-10875H
3801 Points ∼100%
MSI GS66 Stealth 10SFS
Intel Core i9-10980HK
3713 Points ∼98%
Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR XB
Intel Core i7-10875H
3431 Points ∼90%
MSI GP65 10SFK-047US
Intel Core i7-10750H
2960 Points ∼78%
Acer Predator Triton 500 PT515-52-70N3
Intel Core i7-10750H
2932 Points ∼77%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XB-8DE51B0SP
Intel Core i7-10875H
213 Points ∼100%
Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR XB
Intel Core i7-10875H
211 Points ∼99%
MSI GS66 Stealth 10SFS
Intel Core i9-10980HK
201 Points ∼94%
Acer Predator Triton 500 PT515-52-70N3
Intel Core i7-10750H
190 Points ∼89%
MSI GP65 10SFK-047US
Intel Core i7-10750H
190 Points ∼89%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XB-8DE51B0SP
Intel Core i7-10875H
1818 (min: 1544.4, max: 1818.6) Points ∼100%
Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR XB
Intel Core i7-10875H
1671 (min: 1548.11, max: 1671.4) Points ∼92%
MSI GS66 Stealth 10SFS
Intel Core i9-10980HK
1635 (min: 1518.31, max: 1635.12) Points ∼90%
MSI GP65 10SFK-047US
Intel Core i7-10750H
1292 (min: 1233.16, max: 1291.57) Points ∼71%
Acer Predator Triton 500 PT515-52-70N3
Intel Core i7-10750H
1288 (min: 1201.27, max: 1287.87) Points ∼71%
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MSI GS66 Stealth 10SFS Intel Core i9-10980HK, Intel Core i9-10980HK: Ø1541 (1518.31-1635.12)
Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XB-8DE51B0SP Intel Core i7-10875H, Intel Core i7-10875H: Ø1573 (1544.4-1818.6)
Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR XB Intel Core i7-10875H, Intel Core i7-10875H: Ø1572 (1548.11-1671.4)
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 05 > That awkward moment when the Core i7-10875H outperforms the more expensive Core i9-10980HK
Allen Ngo, 2020-05-10 (Update: 2020-05-10)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.