It’s the most wonderful time of the year when product sales are starting to outweigh your fortitude against spending sprees. There’s no shortage of temptations, and among those would be a new gaming laptop. If you’ve seen the sales, you might be wondering what’s the deal with such aggressive price drops, apart from the Holiday Season? Well, that’s because next-gen gaming laptops are on the horizon.
And as with most electronics, the outgoing generation is typically put on sale in order to dissolve the stocks and make room for the incoming generation.
But before you dive into whether you should buy a gaming laptop now or wait for the next-gen models, what exactly are these next-gen models?
13th Gen Intel/Ryzen 7000 and RTX 4000/Radeon RX 7000 Series
For reference, here’s the current outgoing generation of CPUs and GPUs for laptops:
- For Intel – 12th Gen CPUs (i.e. 12400H, 12700H, etc.)
- For AMD Ryzen – Ryzen 6000 series (i.e. Ryzen 9 6900HX)
- For Nvidia – RTX 3000 series (i.e. RTX 3060, RTX 3080, etc.)
- For AMD Radeon – Radeon RX 6000 series (i.e. RX 6600M, RX 6700M, etc.)
Anything from previous generations is already outdated. The specs above will be replaced with these ones in the coming months of next year:
- For Intel – 13th Gen CPUs
- For AMD Ryzen – Ryzen 7000 series
- For Nvidia – RTX 4000 series
- For AMD Radeon – Radeon RX 7000 series
The thing is, these new-generation hardware models appear to be pushing the performance threshold and are aiming for high gains and advantages over their previous-generation counterparts.
What that means is that an RTX 3080 which is a high-end GPU, for example, will only be as powerful as an RTX 4060 (or maybe 4070) which is a mid-range card. Such is the case for hardware generations, though performance leaps like the example above are special and somewhat uncommon.
It’s not clear yet whether that will be the case or not, but if you’re waiting for next-gen hardware anyway, then you might as well wait and see if the performance improvements will be in that ballpark.
That Doesn’t Mean the Outgoing Generation is Obsolete
With all these advancements in technology, one would think that the outgoing generation is becoming inadequate. That’s far from true.
In fact, software advancements seem to have trouble catching up to hardware advancements, meaning games aren’t fully utilizing all the new processing power and possibilities to heavily tax the current hardware.
There are a couple of games that reach this level, such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, but most games simply don’t make most mid-range or high-end GPUs and CPUs break a sweat, figuratively speaking.
The same goes for productivity applications which mostly tax the CPU. CPU advancements have gone rapid these past few years and performance margins are impressively big.
So if you’re not really that concerned too much with getting the current best or with future-proofing, then you’ll be fine with buying a gaming laptop now, even if it has outgoing generations of hardware.
You can even check YouTube benchmarks to see whether RTX 3000-series or RX 6000-series GPUs still perform well for today’s games. And unsurprisingly, they still do. It might even take a while before a new game or software comes along and demands the latest and greatest hardware.
Next-Gen Hardware Does Come with New Features
What you’ll be missing out on if you bite the bullet right now instead of waiting for the next-gen hardware for gaming laptops would be the slew of features.
Nvidia, for example, has made some assertive proprietary features such as DLSS 3.0 and better Ray Tracing performance.
DLSS 3.0 is the more impressive innovation since it practically gives free graphics performance for users of RTX 4000 cards compared to DLSS 2.0. It’s also worth noting that DLSS 3.0 is only available for RTX 4000 while previous generation cards (RTX 3000, 2000) will only be able to utilize DLSS 2.0.
Meanwhile, AMD Radeon also has its own answer to challenge Nvidia’s DLSS 3.0 in the form of FidelityFX Super Resolution. The upcoming RX 7000 series cards also come with a new and improved DisplayPort version in case someone has an 8K monitor.
Of course, all those features on top of the massive performance gains over the outgoing generation add up to the general appeal.
The Wait for Next Gen Might be Long and Expensive
All other factors considered, there is one clear advantage that the outgoing generation has right now. They are available. They are in stock, and they are also on sale (usually).
And right now, there aren’t many next-gen gaming laptops available (if at all). In most cases, the higher-end models for next-gen will be released first, followed by mid-range and budget models several months later. That’s well past half of 2023– a long wait for a lot of people.
If you need a laptop right now, then nothing beats this current and outgoing generation of gaming laptops. There’s also no clear time frame yet for the release of laptops that feature Intel 13th Gen, AMD Ryzen 7000, Nvidia RTX 4000, or AMD Radeon RX 7000; that means you might be waiting indefinitely.
But based on previous release date patterns, it is safe to say that this next generation of gaming laptops might see a 2023 release date– but even that’s a generous assumption.
On the off-chance that they release in 2023 for a full-budget spectrum lineup, then you can bet that they will be more expensive.
Nvidia, for example, has notably marked up the price for its desktop RTX 4000 series GPU. Intel and AMD also marked up the price for their desktop 13th Gen and Ryzen 7000 CPUs. If those price hikes are anything to go by, then the next-gen gaming laptops will also have a price markup compared to their same-tier counterparts in the previous generation.
In such cases, you might be better off going with current-gen sales right now if you want to save money.
But as always, what, when, and why you purchase a gaming laptop is always up to you and your circumstances. There’s no right or wrong choice here. There are only budget and time considerations. And with the current state and progress of computer technology right now, you can’t go wrong with any choice, be it last gen or next gen.