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Why the most powerful laptops of 2024 might not use Intel’s latest chips

The Dell XPS laptop seen from behind, with the chassis half open.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Intel’s about to add a whole lot of new chips to its list of top processors, and we just got a peek at a few of them out in the wild ahead of time. According to a new leak, upcoming Dell XPS and Alienware laptops will feature some of Intel’s latest Meteor Lake CPUs, including the Core Ultra 7 and Core Ultra 9. However, Intel’s previous-gen Raptor Lake processors are also making a surprising appearance in the lineup, which isn’t a great sign.

Windows Report posted an exclusive leak that shows us a whole range of high-end laptops, which the publication predicts should be announced during CES 2024. This includes ultrathin Dell XPS 13, 14, and 16 laptops, but there are plenty of options for gamers too, including the Alienware m16 R2, x16 R2, and m18 R2. All of these laptops are said to feature Nvidia’s best GPUs from the RTX 40-series.

More laptops are always great, and Dell’s plans for next year are certainly interesting in their own right. But what caught my attention is the way Dell has, reportedly, chosen to utilize Intel’s CPUs. You’d think that a new range of notebooks coming out in 2024 would be all about Meteor Lake, but Dell dips back into the Raptor Lake range for its most impressive Alienware m18 R2 laptop, which is said to feature a 14th-gen HX CPU.

It appears that the rest of the range has moved on to Meteor Lake. We don’t know which chips are going to end up in which laptop, but the Core Ultra is a high-end lineup, so we’ll most likely see the likes of the Core Ultra 9 185H or the Core Ultra 7 equivalent. The Core Ultra 5 is a possibility, but seems less probable due to the fact that these laptops are of the premium kind.

Three new Alienware laptops on a table, in front of a grey background.
Windows Report

The choice might feel odd at first — why would the most powerful laptop in the range get what should, in theory, be last-gen hardware? However, it might have a lot to do with the fact that the Raptor Lake chip could deliver better performance compared to Meteor Lake when given access to sufficient power. There’s no doubt that the Alienware m18 R2 will be one power-hungry beast, spending most of its time plugged in. That explains why Dell might have felt it was fine to skip Meteor Lake.

The question is, how much will these new Intel-powered laptops cost? We’ve seen conflicting leaks in that regard so far. A few MSI laptops spotted on Newegg were surprisingly affordable, delivering an Intel Core Ultra 7 CPU combined with Arc graphics for as little as $1,049. However, pairing the Intel chip with Nvidia graphics is sure to bring the price up, so these Alienware laptops will likely cost a pretty penny. We’ll have to wait for an official announcement from Intel before anything is certain.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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