With AMD’s Ryzen 7000 chips firmly on store shelves, now is the time for Intel to do their bit. Team Blue’s 13th-generation chips arrive today, and on paper they represent a massive upgrade over the 12th-generation, despite compatibility with existing Z690 (and new Z790) boards. You get higher clock speeds (up to 5.8 GHz!), more efficiency cores, more L3 cache, and higher power targets – which you’d expect to contribute to a significant increase in gaming and video-creating performance. content.
To find out if these processors live up to the hype, we tested the $589 Core i9 13900K and $319 Core i5 13600K in gaming and content creation benchmarks since last week. Our plan for going in was simple: to find out how much better these 13th-gen models are than their 12th-gen predecessors, and how they measure up to AMD’s new Ryzen 7000 and popular Ryzen 5000 alternatives – including the excellent Ryzen 7 5800X3D.
As with our Ryzen 7000 tests, we chose to check two RAM configurations for each new processor: DDR5-5200, which stands for ‘budget’ DDR5, and DDR5-6000, AMD’s identified sweet spot for price. versus performance. We also did some more in-depth RAM testing on page five, which shows the max gains you can expect if you opt for specialized high-speed RAM over more pedestrian models.
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The 13900K and 13600K represent the upper and lower limits of the original Raptor Lake range – otherwise there’s a $409 Core i7 13700K in the middle and ‘F’ variants that cost $25 less but don’t include integrated graphics. As usual, we expect to see cheaper Core i5 and Core i3 models later, where we could see even better value propositions if the 12th generation is any indication.
Looking at Intel’s specs for the new 13th-generation lineup, two things stand out to me. First, while Intel warned that we could see higher prices, we only see two models that are more expensive than their counterparts – the Core i5 models are $30 more expensive, while the Core i7 and Core i9 parts are the same price. (Real world prices can vary, of course.) Second, the jump in turbo frequencies is incredible – 200 MHz higher for the Core i5, 400 MHz for the Core i7, and 600 MHz for the Core i9. That’s a huge improvement, as these chips are made with the same “Intel 7” process node.
Processor Cores (P/E) Threads P Max Turbo E Max Turbo Smart Cache Cost i9-13900K 24 (8P/16E) 32 5.8GHz 4.3GHz 36MB $589 i9-13900KF 24 (8P/16E) 32 5.8GHz 4.3GHz 36MB $564 i7 -13700K 16 (8P/8E) 24 5.4GHz 4.2GHz 30MB $409 i7-13700KF 16 (8P/8E) 24 5.4GHz 4.2GHz 30MB $384 i5-13600K 14 (6P/8E) 20 5.1GHz 3.9GHz 24MB $319 i5-13600KF 14 (6P/8E) 20 5.1GHz 3.9GHz 24MB $294 i9-12900K 16 (8P/8E) 24 5.2GHz 3.9GHz 30MB $589 i9-12900KF 16 (8P/8E) 24 5.2GHz 3.9GHz 30MB $564 i7-12700K 12 ( 8P/4E) 20 5.0GHz 3.8GHz 25MB $409 i7-12700KF 12 (8P/4E) 20 5.0GHz 3.8GHz 25MB $384 i5-12600K 10 (6P/4E) 16 4.9GHz 3.6GHz 20MB $289 i5 -12600KF 10 (6P/4E) 16 4.9GHz 3.6GHz 20MB $264
At this stage, before we get into the results of the content creation benchmark, it’s probably worth briefly outlining what hardware we’re using in our test system. While we initially planned to test on the same Z690 board we used for our 12th-generation testing, we had boot and XMP issues with the Asus Z690 Maximus Hero board, even with the latest BIOS installed, and swapped to a Gigabyte Z790 Aorus Master instead. This motherboard offers all the features we’re looking for – a power button and boot code indicator on the motherboard itself, a PCIe slot with quick release, robust power delivery, five (!) NVMe slots and of course support for PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 RAM. (We also received an Asus Z790-I Gaming WiFi board that will no doubt be used in later tests, and an MSI board is reportedly coming as well.) We’ll go into more detail about the motherboards we’ve been able to test on. page six.
This new Aorus motherboard is paired with high-end G.Skill’s Trident Z5 Neo DDR5-6000 CL30 RAM, Corsair’s Dominator Platinum DDR5-5200 CL40 for additional testing, and of course Asus’ RTX 3090 ROG Strix OC for the all-important GPU side of things. For storage, we use three PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs for all our games: a 4TB Kingston KC3000, a 1TB PNY XLR8 CS3140, and a 1TB Crucial P5 Plus. Our rig was completed with a 1000W Corsair RM1000x power supply.
Elsewhere, we used an Asus ROG Crosshair 8 Hero for Ryzen 5000 testing, an Asus ROG Maximus Z590 Hero for 11th-gen Intel testing, and an Asus ROG Z690 Maximus Hero for 12th-gen testing; these are all high-end boards for their respective platforms. DDR4 motherboards used G.Skill 3600MT/s CL16 memory, the sweet spot for DDR4.
Before we get into the gaming benchmarks that make up pages two to five, let’s work up an appetite with some quick and dirty content creation benchmarks: a Cinebench R20 3D render and a Handbrake video transcode.
The 13900K is hugely impressive here, completing our H.265 (HEVR) transcode in three minutes and eight seconds – a new record – which equates to an average of 41.2 fps, making the 13900K the first to hit the 1940s while the next-fastest CPU we tested didn’t even crack 30fps. However, it does consume an extra 100W compared to our Z690 system with the 12900K.
Still, I’d say in my book that the increase in power consumption is worth it, as your CPU will use much less power in non-AVX workloads like H.264 encoding or gaming; of course in gaming we expect thread usage to be significantly lower as well. Intel’s claims of a more efficient processor, performance per watt, are certainly confirmed. However, keep in mind that most motherboards run flat by default, so you’ll see higher power consumption from the 13900K and 13600K compared to 12900K and 12600K – something worth changing in the BIOS if you prefer a cooler, quieter system.
CB R20 1T CB R20 MT HB h.264 HB HEVC HEVC Power Consumption Core i9 13900K 873 15570 104.67fps 41.20fps 473W Core i5 13600K 767 9267 62.37fps 26.44fps 254W Core i9 12900K 760 10416 70.82fps 29.6764fps18. 716 6598 44.27fps 19.99fps 223W Core i5 12400F 652 4736 31.77fps 14.70fps 190W Core i9 11900K 588 5902 41.01fps 18.46fps 321W Core i5 11600K 541 4086 99.00fps 13.zen 79.38fps 33.77fps 288W Ryzen 2063 587 fps 236W Ryzen 9 5950X 637 10165 70.28fps 30.14fps 237W Ryzen 7 5800X3D 546 5746 42.71fps 19.10fps 221W Ryzen 7 5800X 596 6118.50 Ryzen 31.75fps 14.43fps 160W
The 13600K also does well, with better single-core speeds than the 12900K and better multi-core results than the 12700K. In fact, it comes pretty close to the 5950X, while consuming about the same amount of power, which is absurd for a Core i5. All things considered, it’s a 40 percent advantage for the 13600K over its last-gen counterpart in terms of both Cinebench and Handbrake — nice.
Now let’s start with the fun stuff – the games. We’ve tested a range of titles, so pick your favorites from the links below or just hit the next page button to continue the journey. Don’t forget that you get a special prize for reading every page of the review..!
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