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How Intel’s 8th-gen CPUs will affect budget gaming laptops

Intel’s 8th-gen “Coffee Lake” mobile CPUs arrived en masse this month, packing more cores and higher performance than ever before. What does that mean for budget gaming laptops?

If you’ve been waiting for the prices of gaming laptops to plunge now that next-gen processors are here, prepare to be a little disappointed. Prices of older laptops generally don’t drop too much when the next big thing shows up.

The reasons vary, but in general, PC vendors typically manage inventories fairly tightly to avoid being left with a lot full of Oldsmobiles when the new models come in. That’s not always the case though, and sometimes you’ll find some nice deals if you know where—and when—to look.

Discounts on older hardware isn’t the only way Intel’s 8th-gen CPUs will affect budget gaming laptops though. Beyond straightforward discounts, it’s also worth keeping in mind that with the 8th-generation of Intel processors, you’re essentially getting yesteryear’s Core i7 performance in today’s Core i5 chips—and at Core i5 prices too.

How to find (rare) discounts on older gaming laptops

Let’s start by examining whether gaming laptops with older 7th-gen processors will get deep discounts.

We looked at Camelcamelcamel.com’s historical data for Amazon’s fourth best-selling gaming laptop, the superb Acer Predator Helios 300. This 15.6-inch laptop features a quad-core Core i7-7700HQ, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 6GB GeForce GTX 1060. It’s a well-rounded laptop with a great price—you can basically get it all day at or around $1,049.

The release of Intel’s 8th-gen CPUs pretty much mean this laptop is now old news and that’s why you can get it at a heavy discount, right? Nope. The average price of the Acer Predator Helios 300 since May of 2017 has hovered between $1,000 and $1,050 for the past year. It’s still a stellar laptop for the money.

acer helios camelcamelcamel.com

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is the No. 4 best seller on Amazon.com and hasn’t moved much despite new CPUs arriving.

Acer hasn’t announced a successor to the Helios 300 yet, though. Vendors typically lower prices just before a direct replacement model comes out. 

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