New Laptop for Flight Simulator 11800h vs 11980hk or wait for Alder Lake

I’m considering a new gaming laptop, specifically for flight simulator. This is different from a Desktop, which I will also be considering later.

For laptop, I can get a good deal from my local store on a 11800h with RTX 3080 16GB mobile, and 32GB RAM with no wait, so I’ll be able to pick this up and enjoy right away throughout the holiday season.

Is the 11980hk noticeably better than 11800h with RTX 3080 and 32GB RAM? The 16GB RTX 3080 is ~150W.

Is it OK to get the i7 11800h and enjoy it now, or would the 11980hk be meaningfully better? What about Alder Lake? Desktop chips are right around the corner, but probably at least 6 months+ before available for purchase in laptop form.

My intent is to run the sim in Ultra/maxed all settings, except for live traffic and lens bloom. Want a smooth playable experience in 1440p, as that is the screen the laptop comes with.

I would wait for Alder Lake.


You could wait a couple of months for MSFS on xbox cloud gaming. No need for a premium spec rig then. It remains to be seen if it would work as well but It would save you a lot.

The things early reports say so much yes … it’s such a hard wait because well you’re going to want to be on at least the .b revision of a high end board.

Well that’s why I’m considering a laptop now. My current rig is not really able to play the sim the way I’d like in 1080p. My better half, the “real boss” would balk if purchased a $3k desktop rig now and another desktop in two years. But a laptop now and a desktop in ~2 years is a possibility.

I understand the Alder Lake gaming desktop chips are a huge improvement over Rocket Lake (12900 vs 11900), but what about laptop chips? Do we have any information on those?

Why I’m thinking a laptop now, as it is good to have a portable rig to sim. Plus I’m thinking the gaming desktop capability will expand MUCH FASTER than laptops over the next 2 years, due to the power/cooling limitations of laptops.

If I get a laptop now, or at least by YE2021, that would allow me to play the sim now and be able to wait for what I really want - a proper gaming desktop with b version of “Big Little” a.k.a. Raptor Lake and Lovelace.

So, with a laptop with a current gen 3080 16GB ~150W with 32GB 3200 DDR4 RAM, is the 11980hk that much better than a 11800h? With a laptop RTX 3080, at that point, I think the sim might be GPU limited, so Alder Lake wouldn’t help as much in a laptop given the limitations of laptop 3080. Is that logic sound, or am I missing something?

So is the 11800h a big performance decrease over 11980hk?

Regarding the Desktop/Laptop difference. Yes, you are right to make that distinction and indeed little is known so far about how Alder lake (and possibly DDR5) would get implemented in laptop solutions.

I’m more desktop centric so my timeline would probably be - wait Alder lake + possibly a few months to see what motherboard manufacturers do and aim for a CPU/motherboard/memory upgrade to my desktop some time Q1 or Q2 2022.

However, laptop as an interim solution isn’t such a crazy idea if the price is right and you want to be able to play over “the holidays”

Laptop prices with those specs might droop a little once Alder lake alternatives get launched, but maybe not by that much and that price drop likely won’t hit until the January sales anyway.

Thanks. No doubt the Alder Lake desktop is looking very promising. However, since that is a whole new architecture, I’m concerned with potential growing pains and stability (think frequent CTDs), between brand new architecture, motherboards, and RAM. By the time we’d get to Raptor Lake, the growing pains would be much less - like buying the second model year of a brand new vehicle design, plus Lovelace will be out by then.

No doubt Laptops will also improve, but given the power and cooling limitations I’m thinking the Laptop gaming improvement will be much smaller than Desktops.

From what I understand the current 11th gen laptop chips made a huge gains over 10th gen laptop chips, but the 11th gen desktop chips did little to nothing over 10th gen desktop chips, except for single core performance. Both 11th gen laptop 11800h and 11980hk have 8 “big” cores. Whereas all I can find with the new Alder Lake laptop chips is that they have 6 big cores (less than 11th gen) plus additional little cores. That makes me skeptical for any gaming performance gains, at least on the laptop chips.

I’ve already been waiting over a whole year to be able to enjoy the sim and do not want to wait over a whole year more (life is short, I’m not young, can afford it save for “boss” approval). But if I get a laptop I can at least enjoy now, then I can easily wait until 2023 when the desktop technology matures and maybe even get over the chip shortage.

So is the current 11th gen 11800h good enough for gaming when paired with the 3080 RTX mobile with 16GB RAM at ~150W and 32GB 3200 DDR4 RAM, or will the 11980hk be noticeably better, specifically for MSFS2020?

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Found this article - trying to makes heads and tales about how this translates to MSFS:

Going back to my logic for 11800h vs 11980hk, the 11980hk has up to ~15% more performance in full bore multi-threaded boost performance, but more like ~5-6% in single threaded applications.

Since MSFS2020 is still DX11 that heavily relies on a single core with up to 3 other cores that are less utilized, I’m thinking that the lower utilized additional cores would not be at a limit on the i7 vs the i9, only the main core would be the limit.

Does that logic seem correct for FS2020 that 11980hk would only be ~5-6% better than 11800h in the sim (single core limit and lower utilized additional cores), assuming it was not otherwise limited due to higher thermal throttling in i9 or GPU limited.