Intel Core i9-13900K and i5-13600K Evaluation

On October twentieth, Intel launched its thirteenth era of Intel Core desktop processors to the world. On the time, delivery delays prevented us from having sufficient time with each chips to render our full ideas. Properly, our elements have are available, the assessments have been run, and we’re able to render our verdict. Are the Intel Core i9-13900K and i5-13600K value upgrading to? Discover out on this assessment.


In the event you’ve learn by means of the primary a part of our assessment in progress, be at liberty to skip to the motherboard and efficiency outcomes sections. 

Raptor Lake Made Actual

The launch of a brand new processor era is all the time an thrilling time crammed with technological developments. Intel’s thirteenth era, often known as Raptor Lake, feels a bit of extra acquainted than most. It bears an in depth resemblance to final era’s Alder Lake and comes extra rapidly at its heels than we’re used to. Lower than a 12 months in the past, I used to be writing the same introduction to the i9-12900K and i5-12600K assessment, and if you happen to’re accustomed to Intel’s method to that era, the i9-13900K and i5-13600K are going to really feel like refreshes slightly than utterly new designs. 

Like these CPUs, Raptor Lake brings again the hybrid structure which makes use of a mixture of Efficiency cores and Environment friendly cores to intelligently break up up duties. The Environment friendly cores, or E-cores, are designed to deal with lower-intensity duties, like background processors, in order that the Efficiency cores, P-cores, can keep centered on higher-intensity duties like gaming or video rendering. It’s a design that labored remarkably effectively final era to enhance and keep constantly excessive efficiency. 

This does current some points in terms of evaluating processors, nonetheless. Whereas older designs allowed for less complicated one-to-one comparisons of X cores and 2X threads per processor, Raptor (and Alder) Lake shakes that up. The Core i9-9900K, for instance, was an 8-core, 16-thread CPU. It’s modern-day analog, the i9-13900K is a 24 core (8P+16E) and 32 threads. The mathematics and explaining how all of this works to a brand new PC builder isn’t practically as simple, however the efficiency is there the place it counts. 

However for all the the architectural design it shares, the Core i9-13900K and Core i5-13600K carry some notable enhancements. Each processors have acquired bumps in core rely and frequency, with the i9 leaping from 16 to 24 cores and the i5 from 10 to 14. The i9-13900K now achieves a lift frequency of 5.8 GHz, up from the 12900K’s 5.1 GHz increase velocity. The i5-13600K is a little more modest at 5.1 GHz, up from final era’s 4.9 GHz. 

Each processor’s have additionally acquired bumps of their shops of L2 and L3 cache. For L3 cache, the 13900K has elevated 6MB and the 13600K is up 4MB, placing them at 36MB and 24MB respectively. L2 cache has been far more dramatically elevated. Every processor’s L2 provide has greater than doubled, coming in at 32MB and 20MB respectively. That’s an enchancment of 10.5MB on the 13600K and 16MB on the 13900K.

PCI Specific lanes are equivalent between twelfth and thirteenth gen. In the event you select to improve to the Z790 platform, which isn’t required, the chipset will even present a further eight PCIe 4.0 lanes, bringing you to a complete of 28 lanes supplied by the chipset (20 x 4.0, 8 x 3.0) and 20 (16 x 5.0, 4 x 4.0) supplied by the CPU.  

These will increase provide measurable outcomes. Based mostly on the specs alone, if the 12900K was near the highest of the efficiency charts, the 13900K ought to scramble even tougher for the primary spot. And, spoiler alert, it completely does.

This added efficiency comes at a price: energy and warmth. Whereas each chips have acquired frequency will increase, they’ve additionally had their energy limits raised. The 13900K has a most turbo energy ranking of 253 watts. That’s a great step up from its largest competitor, the 7950X, which is additionally pretty energy hungry at 230 watts of most socket energy (170W). The 13600K is much less at 181 watts, however that’s nonetheless pretty excessive when you think about that that is “solely” an i5 chip. The bottom energy of every processor is 125 watts, however take into account these a baseline. 

There’s a way right here that Intel is brute forcing their option to the highest of the efficiency charts. It’s nonetheless working on an older 10nm node and might’t but leverage the ability effectivity developments of its upcoming Meteor Lake structure. So we’ve got extra energy and extra frequency. 

It really works — and for gaming, these frequency bumps pay dividends as you’ll see under — however you’ll want a robust CPU cooler to actually hold these chips in examine. The 13900K repeatedly hit 100C in our testing, even with our 360mm Corsair H150i Elite LCD CPU cooler. Its excessive TDP calls for a excessive efficiency liquid cooler. The 13600K offers you extra wiggle room, however these aren’t chips to make use of with a single-tower air coolers. They’ll and can throttle, particularly the 13900K, which is cash wasted on efficiency you’ll by no means see. Plan accordingly.

However, with all of that in thoughts, Intel has a compelling proposition right here. The Core i9-13900K is positioned immediately towards the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X. AMD’s flagship at present retails for $699+. The 13900K runs sizzling, however at solely $589, it’s in a spot the place it actually doesn’t have to be good to be an attractive purchase. 

The Core i5-13600K falls between the Ryzen 7 7700X and Ryzen 5 7600X and manages to really feel like an distinctive selection towards both of them. It has way more cores and threads than the 7600X for less than $20 extra. It nonetheless has extra cores than the 7700X and clock speeds that come shut (inside overclock territory) for $80 much less. Both means, that 13600K is wanting good. 

Intel can be breaking the mould by persevering with assist for the Z690 platform alongside the brand new Z790 chipset. The brand new chipset affords extra PCIe lanes and improved reminiscence assist, but when you have already got a Z690 motherboard, you possibly can slot in one among these new CPUs without having to improve your total PC. Each platforms will even provide continued choices for DDR4 and DDR5 reminiscence, so that you received’t want to instantly leap out and purchase a brand new package. Which means extra potential financial savings, on prime of decrease CPU value.

All in all, whereas the structure is acquainted, Intel has achieved a great job of constructing this an attention-grabbing era all the identical.

The Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z790 Excessive

Since started reviewing processors, we’ve made an effort to construct our check benches on extremely succesful platforms. For a number of generations, we’ve once more collaborated with ASUS Republic of Avid gamers to construct our Intel check bench. This era, we’ll be utilizing the ROG Maximus Z790 Excessive. At $999, it’s an absolute flagship, which implies it has all the options you possibly can anticipate from this era, quite a lot of distinctive excessive factors we’ll speak about subsequent, and glorious efficiency tuning choices. And sure, it appears the a part of a $999 motherboard, full with gratuitous and beautiful quantities of RGB lighting and even a full dot-matrix LED display screen.

Beginning with the fundamentals, the board helps each twelfth Gen and thirteenth Gen Intel Core CPUs, so can stand by itself if you happen to already personal a last-generation CPU and don’t really feel the necessity to improve your processor fairly but. It helps DDR5 reminiscence at speeds as much as 7800 MT/s and as much as three M.2 slots (1x PCIe 5.0, 2x PCIe 4.0). It additionally consists of ASUS’s DIMM.2 expertise, which lets you add two extra PCIe Gen 4 drives in a particular DIMM slot, bringing the whole to 5 high-speed NVMe SSDs. The built-in SSDs are hidden with a big heatsink to assist keep the board’s clear look and dissipate shed warmth.

To drive these high-performance processors, the Maximus Excessive affords wealthy energy supply. It makes use of a 24+1 part energy system. There isn’t a part doubling right here. As an alternative, it makes use of teamed energy phases that enable the board to ship increased burst and peak energy. The VRMs have their very own heavy-duty warmth sinks, as anticipated, however the teamed phases additionally assist mitigate complete warmth era. 

One of many largest causes to go together with a Maximus motherboard is the granular management they provide for overclocking. Having examined motherboards throughout just about each main model, I can say that competing manufacturers are good, however Maximus is the perfect. Between the deep array of BIOS choices for the particularly tech savvy and the easy AI overclocking capabilities, there are alternatives for all types of customers

However let’s be actual right here: it is a high-performance motherboard and is prepared for something you’d care to throw at it, straight right down to liquid nitrogen with its built-in LN2 mode. There are {hardware} buttons for secure boot, adjusting the BLCK frequency, slowing the processor to 8x to assist it boot beneath excessive overclock, and an RSVD change to assist the system boot beneath 120C. ASUS even features a voltage sensor that pairs with its True Volictician software program to supply an oscilloscope to watch GPU or PSU energy. And imagine it or not, there are much more options to actually assist excessive overclockers nail the highest spot on the leaderboards for main benchmarks. 

For connectivity, the board affords a complete of 10 USB ports on its rear facet and as much as 10 further ports from its entrance panel headers. Across the again you’ll discover one Thunderbolt 4 port, one USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port, and eight USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports. It helps WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, in addition to twin ethernet ports that assist 2.5G and 10G respectively.

The board additionally boasts a few of the greatest audio specs I’ve ever seen in a motherboard. This a gaming board that may actually double as a excessive decision DAC/Amp setup for audio lovers. It makes use of an ESS 9218 Quad DAC setup able to 32-bit/384kHz with particular shielding to forestall the standard digital interference widespread to gaming PCs. It’s in a position to provide a powerful -114dB of complete harmonic distortion and push as much as 2 volts RMS of energy, which might drive even many demanding over-ear audiophile headphones. 

I might be remiss to not talk about the appears of the motherboard earlier than transferring on as a result of, effectively, at this value, appears matter. This can be a motherboard designed to be in a glass paneled case and placed on show. To assist that, it affords a customizable ANIME Matrix LED show that may play something from full animations to textual content. A big LED gentle strip traces the proper facet of the board. Under the CPU is a 2-inch full colour OLED show that’s unique to the Excessive. 

There’s a lot to go over with this board that it calls for its personal article. For now, know that this is among the very best motherboards obtainable to do any type of efficiency testing on, and we thank ASUS for partnering with us once more on this assessment and this era’s check bench. 

Intel Core i9-13900K and Core i5-13600K – Benchmark Outcomes

In our authentic assessment in progress, we ran our gaming benchmarks utilizing an MSI Z790 Gaming Carbon WiFi motherboard. Traditionally, our check benches have all the time leveraged ASUS ROG Maximus motherboards. For consistency with testing and future overclocking, we opted to make the most of this platform once more for this era. Be aware that the assessments on this platform have been re-ran.

AMD Take a look at System #1: MSI X670 MEG Ace Motherboard, Corsair H115i RGB Platinum AIO, Corsair DDR5-6000 Vengeance RGB Reminiscence (32GB), Nvidia RTX 3090, Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 SSD 2TB, Corsair HX-1000i Energy Provide, Home windows 11 (absolutely up to date).

AMD Take a look at System #2: Gigabyte X570 AORUS Grasp Motherboard, Corsair H115i RGB Platinum AIO, Corsair Vengeance Professional RGB DDR4-3600 (64GB), Nvidia RTX 3090, Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 SSD 2TB, Corsair HX-1000i Energy Provide, Home windows 11 (absolutely up to date).

Intel Take a look at System #1: ASUS ROG Z790 Maximus Excessive, Corsair iCUE Elite LCD 360mm, Corsair DDR5-6000 Vengeance RGB Reminiscence (32GB), Nvidia RTX 3090, Samsung 970 Professional NVMe 1TB, Corsair HX-1050 1050 Watt Energy Provide, Home windows 11 (absolutely up to date).


Beginning with SuperPi, this check places every CPU’s processing capabilities to the check by asking it to render 32 million models of Pi. The decrease the rating, the higher on this case as a result of it’s a measure of processing time in seconds. Right here, we see the 13900K provide main leads over the 12900K (+16%), in addition to a efficiency lead over the 7950X (+8%), and 7900X (+9%).


The subsequent check appears at compression and decompression speeds. This is a chance for single- and multi-threaded efficiency to shine. Right here the 13900K bests the 7950X in compression however falls considerably behind in decompression. The 13600K, alternatively, falls in between the Ryzen 7 7700X and Ryzen 5 7600X.

Rendering and Encoding

Persevering with our trek by means of our benchmarks, we come to Cinebench R23. This can be a very talked-about benchmark used to evaluate CPU efficiency utilizing a number of rendering passes on pre-defined scenes. The 13900K bests the 7950X in single-core efficiency right here (!!) however falls behind in multi-core efficiency by 13%. The 13600K, alternatively, performs very effectively. Its single-core outcomes place it simply shy of the 7600X however the multi-core efficiency falls between the 7700X and 7900X. 

Transferring on to the X265 encoding benchmark, this check ranks primarily based upon FPS. Right here, the 13900K and 7950X are neck and neck with a slight edge going to the 7950X. The 13600K falls, you guessed it, between the 7600X and 7700X.

Gaming Benchmarks

Breaking this down, the 13900K averaged 4-5% sooner than the 12900K throughout these seven video games, 10% sooner than the Ryzen 9 7950X, and 14% sooner than final era’s 5950X. 

The 13600K, alternatively, averaged 6% sooner than the last-gen 12600K and the Ryzen 5 7600X. It was 6% sooner than the Ryzen 7 7700X and seven% sooner than the 7600X. 

For pure gaming, these numbers undoubtedly level to the 13900K being a brand new chart-topper. It will fluctuate throughout video games, after all, and the opposite elements in your system. However if you happen to’re in search of the perfect, and are in a position to cool it, the 13900K can undoubtedly commerce blows with AMD’s flagship and web some spectacular leads on sure video games. With that stated, these positive aspects a fairly small total in comparison with final era, so if you happen to’re solely in search of gaming developments alone, it’s possible you’ll be secure ready one other era to improve.

Ultimate Ideas 

Having now taken a take a look at the efficiency of those processors extra broadly, it’s spectacular what Intel has achieved. Regardless of being technologically behind AMD, they’ve managed to push these new chips to aggressive ranges which can be much more compelling whenever you issue of their decrease pricing. Sure, the 7950X received the sting in lots of our assessments, however given the lowered value of the 13900K, it doesn’t really feel like a foul deal in any respect. Likewise, I’m additionally impressed by the efficiency of the 13600K in comparison with final era’s 12900K and 12600K.  For each single-core and multi-core efficiency, they’re completely value contemplating.

That assertion comes with a few large caveats, nonetheless. The facility draw on these CPUs is excessive, which additionally means the temperatures are excessive. Even our 360mm radiator had hassle taming the 13900K, so if you happen to’re not already working a excessive efficiency AIO, you want to think about one alongside your buy. In the event you’re additionally working a excessive wattage GPU just like the 4090, this may very well be the acquisition that drives you to needing a brand new PSU. 

In sheer efficiency, these are a stable advice and are doing the work of retaining competitors sizzling. They’ve a few additional issues earlier than pulling the set off, however we’re impressed.

The product described on this article was supplied by the producer for analysis functions.


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