That embarrassing realization when the Core i9-9880H has outperformed every Core i9-9980HK laptop thus far
During the 8th generation Intel Core H-series, some laptops like the Asus ZenBook Pro 15 or Gigabyte Aero 15 had the option between the Core i7-8750H or Core i9-8950HK. The latter, of course, would supposedly be the faster processor. The unfortunate reality is that laptops with the i9-8950HK would only be faster by mere single-digit percentage points over the i7-8750H.
Fast-forward one year and we are seeing a similar picture between the Intel 9th gen Core i9-9880H and Core i9-9980HK. The key benefit of the latter is its unlocked multiplier for potentially faster performance if the overlying laptop cooling solution can maintain the faster clock rates. As of this writing, however, we've yet to come across any laptop that can fully exploit the Core i9-9980HK. Of the five laptops we've tested thus far with the Core i9-9980HK, all of them score lower than the MSI GE75 9SG equipped with the less expensive Core i9-9880H. (buy MSI GE75 9SG now at Amazon)
A single CineBench Multi-Thread run never tells the entire story and so we always repeat the benchmark 30 times or more in an automated loop to unravel any potential throttling behavior. As shown below, the MSI GE75 9SG and its i9-9880H is able to edge out all the Core i9-9980HK laptops at stock settings even after accounting for any throttling behavior. It appears that these i9-9980HK laptops are unable to maintain the very high clock rates commonly associated with unlocked processors.
The single exception is our Schenker/Clevo Core i9-9980HK laptop which, when undervolted, can outperform the aforementioned MSI by 6 to 7 percent. However, when considering the extreme lengths we had to take just to barely squeeze out a win over the i9-9880H, the marginal difference is a bit disappointing.
We should note that our MSI in this example is the fastest laptop in our database with the i9-9880H processor. Other laptops with the i9-9880H like the HP Omen 15 may perform slower than the i9-9980HK. Still, the fact that almost no i9-9980HK laptop thus far can outperform the MSI is a slap in the face to Intel's top-of-the-line mobile Core i9 option. We're still waiting for that one Core i9-9980HK laptop to hopefully break this trend.