Best Intel 13th gen laptop 2024: creative & gaming laptops

A look at the best i7 13th gen laptop & i9 13th gen laptop models available for gaming and general use

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Table of Contents

If you’re looking for the best Intel 13th gen laptop models, covering both gaming and general use / creative purposes, then we’ve shortlisted some selections for you below.

This covers some pretty high-end devices in the Raptor Lake laptop series, as well as one or two more affordable picks; including the best 19 and i7 13th gen laptop models, with some i5 13th gen laptop picks to follow. Without further ado let’s get right into it!

Is it worth upgrading to a 13th Gen Intel laptop?

If you have an Intel 12th gen laptop CPU (or indeed roughly equivalent Ryzen 6000 series CPU), then upgrading to an Intel 13th gen laptop for the sake of the processor alone might not be worth it. Intel’s official performance data states that the uplift over 12th gen amounts to a 6%-12% average FPS increase, depending on the SKU in question, which isn’t exactly an earth-shattering performance boost.

However, the reality is that a 13th gen laptop is very likely to come with upgraded specifications in other areas: often including DDR5 RAM support (which admittedly isn’t that big of a deal), but most importantly with a next-gen graphics card. Nvidia 40-series GPUs (including the RTX 4090 laptop graphics card and RTX 4080 laptop graphics card at the high-end) represent a significant upgrade over the 30-series cards at the same SKU level in the heirarchy, which combined with the modest performance improvements of the Intel 13th gen CPUs, adds up to quite a big increase. In most cases then, upgrading to a newer 13th gen Intel laptop is a good idea.

The best i9 13th gen laptop for high-end gaming

ASUS ROG Strix G18 (240Hz, i9-13980HX)

CPU

Intel Core i9-13980HX

GPU

RTX 4080

Memory

64GB DDR5

Storage

2TB SSD

Resolution

2560 x 1600

Refresh rate

240Hz

Pros
  • Very powerful graphics & processor
  • Good value
  • 240Hz 1600p display with good response time
  • Good color gamut & accuracy
Cons
  • Noisy fans under heavy load
  • Plastic build
  • Poor webcam quality

The ASUS ROG Strix G18 is basically the more affordable variant of the similar, but more premium ASUS Strix SCAR 18. It might not quite have the same build quality as that more expensive machine, the webcam may be notably inferior, and the fans may get a bit loud on the max settings, but given what else you get for the money these are worthy trade-offs.

The Core i9-13980HX it comes with is the most powerful Intel processor available, and the Nvidia graphics card options are big hitters – we’d recommend the GeForce RTX 4080 for maximum performance. With this pairing, this laptop will demolish basically anything you throw at it on maximum settings at 1440p resolution. It will even perform pretty well at 4K on max settings in a lot of games, particularly where DLSS 3.0 is supported.

The 1600p 16:10 18″ screen might be a bit big for those looking for something more portable, but it’s very immersive and the 240Hz refresh rate and 5.5ms average grey-to-grey response time are both solid for competitive gaming.

The best i7 13th gen laptop for mid-range gaming

Acer Predator Helios 16 (165Hz 1600p, i7-13700HX)

CPU

Intel Core i7-13700HX

GPU

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050/4060

Memory

16GB DDR5

Storage

512GB / 1TB SSD

Resolution

2560 x 1600

Max Refresh Rate

165Hz

Pros
  • RTX 4060 & i7-13700HX option performs very well
  • Advanced Optimus on a mid-range device
  • G-Sync on a mid-range device
  • Bright, color-accurate display
  • Good battery duration
  • Good array of I/O ports
Cons
  • Screen build quality is not the best
  • Loud fans when under strain
  • Heavy power adapter for a mid-range laptop

The Acer Predator Helios Neo 16 is a great 13th gen gaming laptop if you don’t want to spend a massive amount of money but are looking for something above the classic budget offerings. There are different loadout options available, but we’d heartily recommend the RTX 4060 GPU equipped model with Intel 13th gen i7-13700HX CPU, which hits a lot harder than you’d expect it to, and is definitely capable of playing the most demanding AAA games to a decent standard at the native 1600p resolution, though obviously not on the highest settings. The inclusion of Advanced Optimus (normally a feature you only see on premium laptops) helps with this.

The 16:10 2560 x 1600 display is also of a quality you’d more commonly expect with premium devices, coming with an impressive peak brightness of 500 nits, plus G-Sync. It also boasts a commendable battery life, particularly for a gaming laptop, delivering approximately 7 hours of general use on battery-saving mode. The laptop also provides a comprehensive selection of ports, including Ethernet support.

It’s important to acknowledge some drawbacks of course. The laptop’s build quality could be more robust, especially concerning the bezels. The included power adapter is somewhat hefty, and, as expected in an affordable gaming laptop, the webcam and microphone are pretty mediocre. The most notable drawback is the relatively loud fan noise when the Turbo mode is activated. Fortunately, users have the option to fine-tune settings within the onboard software to strike a suitable balance between in-game performance and noise levels. Nonetheless, these shortcomings are outweighed by its numerous advantages.

The best i7 13th gen laptop for affordable competitive gaming

GIGABYTE AORUS 17H (360Hz 1080p, i7-13700H)

CPU

Intel Core i9-13700H

GPU

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080

Memory

16GB DDR5

Storage

1TB SSD

Resolution

1920 x 1080

Refresh rate

360Hz

Pros
  • Very powerful graphics
  • A very cheap RTX 4080 laptop
  • High 360hz refresh rate
  • Great battery life for such a powerful laptop
Cons
  • Only 1080p resolution
  • Plastic build
  • Limited to 16GB of RAM
  • 720p webcam

The Gigabyte Aorus 17H (2023) is a 17.3-inch laptop with only 1080p resolution, which may put some people off, but for competitive gamers it has a ludicrously fast 360Hz maximum refresh rate and a (claimed) 3ms response time.

The Intel Core i7-13700H CPU when paired with the Nvidia RTX 4080 graphics card can easily play any game at the native resolution on the highest settings for great FPS, and though we’d ideally have liked to have seen an option with more than 16GB of RAM, you can always upgrade this at a later date (plus it has DDR5 support).

Color replication, brightness, and contrast are all respectable though not exactly impressive, and the 720p webcam is pretty poor, but the battery life is great – clocking in at around 7 hours of general usage. Ultimately this is the cheapest RTX 4080 laptop we’ve seen so far, so no matter its drawbacks, it offers great value for money.

The best Intel 13th gen laptop for high-end creative workflows

Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra

CPU

Intel Core i7-13700H / i9-13900H

GPU

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 / RTX 4070

Memory

16GB / 32GB DDR5

Storage

512GB – 1TB

Resolution

2880 x 1800

Refresh Rate

120Hz

Pros
  • 120Hz AMOLED display with fantastic contrast
  • Good color gamut & accuracy
  • Dedicated RTX 40-series GPU options
  • Good I/O port coverage
  • Lightweight
  • Looks great
  • Good build quality
Cons
  • Battery life could be better
  • Not the brightest
  • Expensive

The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra is a Windows laptop that has its sights squarely set on competing with the MacBook Pro. The laptop comes with a 120Hz AMOLED display, which combined with the either Core i7-13700H or i9-13900H CPU, plus Nvidia RTX 4050 or RTX 4070 GPU, means it can play games alongside its main use as a machine for creatives (certainly better than a MacBook can).

The top loadout can demolish pretty much any creative workflow yet despite its power it remains very lightweight (3.9lb/1.8kg) and portable, and it looks great too. Port coverage is great (better than that of a MacBook)

It does lag behind the MacBook in terms of battery life, the speakers (whilst good) don’t match up to the gold standard of the MacBook, and its 400nits peak brightness is okay, though nothing on the Apple device. Still, this is a great high-end laptop for creatives that comes with all the advantages and flexibility of a Windows machine.

The best 2-in-1 Intel 13th gen laptop for creatives

Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro 360

CPU

Intel Core i7-1360P

Graphics

Intel Iris Xe (iGPU)

Memory

8GB / 16GB DDR5

Storage

512GB – 1TB

Resolution

2880 x 1800

Refresh rate

120Hz

Pros
  • 120Hz AMOLED display with fantastic contrast
  • Good color gamut & accuracy
  • Stylus included
  • Good I/O port coverage
  • Light, slim, and portable
  • Looks great
  • Good build quality
Cons
  • Battery life could be better
  • Not the brightest
  • Expensive
  • Some screen wobble

The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 is a 2-in-1 convertible laptop with a touchscreen – this essentially gives in the functionality of a tablet (after you bend the screen back 360 degrees) and a conventional laptop to boot. It comes with Samsung’s patented S-Pen stylus which makes it ideal for creatives who want to draw, plus the very high contrast and wide gamut coverage of the AMOLED screen in the sRGB, Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 spaces facilitates color-based creatives work.

The processor is a 13th gen Intel Core i7-1360P – which is one of the more lower-powered options in the range, which comes with its own integrated graphics, but this is fine for what this laptop is designed for – more power in this area is not needed.

General build quality is very good and the machine looks great, those there’s a bit more screen wobble than we would have liked. They keyboard and sizable trackpad are both solid and the machine is very think and light, maximising portability. Despite its slim dimensions, it still has a great array of ports too.

Although the battery life and screen brightness (400 nits peak) could have been better, and it costs a bit of money, this is still an all-round quality device.

Thermal throttling in 13th gen intel laptops

With the 13th gen series (for both laptop and desktop CPUs), Intel have increased the CPU core multiplier, clock speed, voltage, and other factors, whilst not really doing much to improve thermal efficiency. The net result is more powerful processors but ones that produce more heat, and this is particularly noticeable in laptops that have less room in their chassis for more advanced cooloing solutions. As a result, high end Intel 13th gen gaming laptops like the ones we’ve listed above will show more thermal throttling when playing games on maximum settings – thereby the FPS performance in game and also leading to degradation of the internal components over time. You can get around this by either turning your settings down a bit, or by investing in a laptop cooling pad, or just a laptop stand.

Intel 13th gen laptops vs AMD Ryzen 7000 series laptops

Last year Intel won out the contest for most powerful laptop CPU options over their biggest rivals AMD, this included both i9 and i7 SKUs, however AMD still had the edge when it came to the low-medium end SKUs as well as in their superior onboard graphics (aka iGPUs), and greater power efficiency, meaning better battery life.

Intel 13th gen laptop CPUs have improved power efficiency over the previous gen, so the difference in laptop battery life between Intel and AMD has shrunk, however AMD have now taken the lead for the most powerful laptop CPU in the form of the Ryzen 9 7945HX. Including the aforementioned thermal issues experienced by Intel CPUs, AMD have won out overall this year, though this doesn’t mean Intel 13th gen laptops aren’t worth picking up – they’re still top-notch, powerful CPUs, and if you find a great laptop like any of those listed above then they’re still great buys.

So are Intel 13th gen laptops good?

Although less of an impressive leap than Intel 12th gen was, and not without some drawbacks, Intel 13th gen laptops are still contenders for the best in their various niches. Whilst AMD Ryzen 7000 laptop CPUs might have won out overall, some of the best RTX 4090 laptops, RTX 4080 laptops, and more that we’ve seen released this year have been Intel 13th gen models.

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