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Intel 13th-gen Raptor Lake Core i5-13600K and i9-13900K review: Hot but fast

Intel 13th-gen Raptor Lake Core i5-13600K and i9-13900K review: Hot but fast

Intel's latest 13th-gen Raptor Lake processors, the Core i5-13600K and Core i9-13900K, run hot. But they are fast, and pack more performance than AMD's latest Ryzen 7000 Series offerings. The Core i5-13600K is your value for money option at US$319 versus the US$299 Ryzen 5 7600X. Its strong multi-core and single-core performance speak for itself. The Core i9-13900K is even faster than the Ryzen 9 7900X, but you will need a strong cooler to keep temps down. The KF versions without integrated graphics cost US$20 less.

Quick specs

  • Six versions: Intel Core i5, i7, and i9. K and KF, KF have no integrated GPU
  • Core i5-13600K: 6 performance cores and 12 threads, 8 efficiency cores, base 3.5GHz (P), 2.6GHz (E), turbo 5.1GHz (P), 3.9GHz (E), max 181W TDP
  • Core i9-13900K: 8 performance cores and 16 threads, 16 efficiency cores, base 3.0GHz (P), 2.0GHz (E), turbo 5.8GHz (P), 4.3GHz (E), max 253W TDP

Our tests were done with our Aftershock benchmark PC, though we needed to upgrade the cooler to keep up with the Core i9-13900K. Our default 240mm cooler was insufficient, causing thermal throttling to kick in once temps spiked to 100 degrees Celsius. Even with a bigger 360mm cooler, temps hit 100 degrees once we started our benchmarks. As for the Core i5-13600K, our 240mm cooler was just about able to keep it around 90 degrees. In comparison, the Core i5-12600KF ran at just 60ish degrees at full load. Our setup is a smaller Micro-ATX case, which may result in slightly higher temps, too, though I don't think this was the main factor. We also switched to a larger ATX case just to be sure. Temps don't hit as high for gaming, though. Just in case you're wondering.

Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

The test rig's motherboard uses a B660 chipset and not the top-end Z690. We also used DDR4 RAM, while the AMD Ryzen 7000 Series processors were tested with DDR5 on a top-end motherboard. This may account for some differences with games. In the Cinebench R23 rendering benchmark, the i5-13600K scored 22,941, while the i9-13900K delivered 34,992 even while thermal capped. For reference, the previous-gen Intel Core i5-12600KF scored 16,086. In comparison, the Ryzen 5 7600X delivered 14,304, while the Ryzen 9 7900X scored 27,567. For video encoding with Handbrake, the Core i5-13600K did 4min 27s, just 3s faster than the Ryzen 5 7600X. The i9 finished in 3min 20s versus the 3min 46s for the Ryzen 9 7900X. All much faster than the 12600KF's 5min 15s.

Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

In games, the 13th-gen Intel Core i5 outperformed its 12th-gen predecessor, but only for games that utilise the CPU more. Such as Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, which saw a 12% improvement in frame rates. Our other test games, Borderlands 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 only saw minor increases. The Core i9 was faster than the Core i5 by about 12% in Spider-Man. You will see plenty of improvements for productivity and content creation when upgrading to the new 13th-gen Intel Core i5-13600K and Core i9-13900K desktop CPUs from a 12th-gen chip.

And the good news is, you don't need to change motherboards or buy new DDR5 memory, unlike the new AMD Ryzen 7000 Series processors. Well, maybe you'll need to get a bigger cooler. I did not test the middle of the pack — Core i7-13700K — but it should be a sweet spot for those who want a bit more performance over the already great Core i5-13600K. Get from Shopee, Amazon, or Lazada.

See Also
Razer Iskur V2

Note: Review samples provided by Intel. Special thanks to Aftershock PC for help with parts.

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