Refining a CPU design is one skill Intel has mastered over the past few years. Manufacturing issues forced Intel to deliver five processor generations based on versions of the sixth-generation Skylake core between 2015 and 2020, yet the company was still able to raise clock speeds and core counts sufficiently to remain competitive for the most of that time period.
For its 13th-generation Core CPUs, the first of which are being formally unveiled today, Intel is reverting to this strategy. Although Intel claims to have made certain advancements to the Intel 7 manufacturing process and the CPU design, code-named Raptor Lake, the method for enhancing performance is tried-and-true and simple: increase the number of cores and their clock rates.
The Core i9-13900K, Core i7-13700K, and Core i5-13600K will ship on October 20 along with new Z790 chipsets and motherboards. Intel is releasing three new CPUs today, each with and without integrated graphics (as usual, the variants without GPUs have a “F” at the end). As long as your motherboard manufacturer has given a BIOS update, they will also continue to support both DDR4 and DDR5 memory in all current-generation 600-series motherboards.
Raptor Lake utilises the hybrid architecture that Intel first unveiled in its 12th-generation Alder Lake chips last year, which combines large performance cores (P-cores) to keep games and other performance-sensitive applications running quickly with clusters of smaller efficiency cores (E-cores) to use less power. However, in our testing across laptops and desktops, it is evident that “efficiency” is more about the number of cores that can be squeezed into a given area on a CPU die.
There have also been a few more additions. From 1.25MB to 2MB per P-core and from 2MB to 4MB per E-core cluster, the amount of L2 cache per core has virtually doubled (E-cores always come in clusters of four). The maximum DDR5-4800 RAM that the CPUs can now handle will be increased to DDR5-5600 RAM by the CPUs, while the DDR5-4800 maximum may easily be exceeded using XMP memory kits on 12th-generation motherboards.
Although the warning concerning XMP still applies, DDR4-3200 is still the highest speed officially approved.
The Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs each gain one more E-core cluster, increasing their total number of E-cores from four to eight in terms of core counts and frequencies. The Core i9 gains two more E-core clusters, increasing the number of cores from eight to sixteen. The maximum boost clocks on all E-cores are 400MHz faster than previously. The maximum boost frequency for the Core i9, i7, and i5 has been raised by 600MHz, 400MHz, and 200MHz, respectively, while the P-core count remains constant across the range. All of these K-series chips may be overclocked when paired with Z690 or Z790 motherboards.
The i9-13900single-threaded K’s performance will rise by around 15% as a result of all the modifications, according to Intel, with P-core clock speed improvements accounting for the majority of the gain. The i7 and i5 will have inferior performance compared to the 29 percent AMD achieved throughout the portfolio with its Zen 4 CPUs. But for a rise year over year, it’s really reasonable. The largest benefits are in multi-threaded performance, where the i9-13900K performs 41 percent better than the i9-12900K because to the higher E-core counts, faster clock rates, and extra cache (though, again, that number may be less impressive for the i7 and i5).
Higher power consumption is the price you’ll pay for the additional clock speeds and core counts because the manufacturing process is, at most, only improving moderately. The Core i9-13900maximum K’s power of 253 W is the highest amount of power officially supported by the LGA1700 socket, though it’s possible that some high-end motherboards could allow it to go even higher. Intel is maintaining the base power of these 13th-generation CPUs at 125 W, but the Maximum Turbo Power numbers have increased quite a bit.