It’s been a crazy month with launches from everyone all packed together. We just finished checking out AMD's new CPUs and Intel announced their new 13th-generation CPUs. Sadly right in the middle of all of that fell my pre-planned vacation. So while everyone else has taken a look at the new CPUs I’m late to the party and had both the Intel i9-13900K and the i5-13600K waiting for me when I got home. I jumped into testing and today I can finally step back and take a look at all of the numbers to see how Intel’s CPUs compare with the last few generations of CPUs from AMD and Intel. Let’s not waste any more time and dive right in!

Product Name: Intel i9-13900K and i5-13600K

Review Sample Provided by: Intel

Written by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Links: Intel i9-13900K and Intel i5-13600K

 

Intel 13th Generation Core Desktop Processors

Last year Intel launched their 12th Generation CPUs which brought significant changes from the new LGA 1700 socket, DDR5 being optional, PCIe 4.0 and 5.0, as well as Intel’s new P and E core design. With all of those changes, it took a little while for things to settle down with the new platform and for pricing and availability to be worked out on things like DDR5. With AMD's new launch they have also moved to DDR5 and PCI 5.0 and I’m excited to see what Intel’s follow-up code named Raptor Lake will improve on things. One of those big changes with Raptor Lake is they have doubled up on the efficient cores. If you didn’t learn about the E and P cores with the last launch the P cores are a traditional design where the core size is larger with a focus on raw speed, especially with single-threaded work. The E or efficiency cores on the other hand are smaller in size with multiple e-cores fitting in the space of one p-core, these are more focused on multi-threaded performance or can be used to offload background tasks to leave the faster p-cores to focus on things like gaming performance.

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Manufacturing of the 13th Gen CPUs is on the same Intel 7 that the 12th Gen CPUs were on. Intel was able to improve core voltage optimization at higher frequencies which allows them to raise clock speeds up to 600 MHz faster in some cases. The new CPUs also have a larger L2 Cache as well. Beyond that, the software side of things has improved in the last year. Intel’s thread director has used machine learning to improve class boundaries and Windows itself has better optimization to the dual-core design with the new Windows 11 22H2 update.

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Now while Intel sent over the i9-13900K and the i5-13600K, they did launch more than just those two CPUs. The 13900K is the flagship but they do have it paired up with an i9-13900KF which is the same CPU but does not come with the integrated graphics which saves you a little more with the 13900K being $589 vs $564 for the i9-13900KF. The i5-13600K has a matching F model without integrated graphics as well which is $25 less. Then there is also an i7 with the i7-13700K and the 13700KF. The 13700K falls in between the 13900K and the 13600K with 24 threads and its 12900K like 8 p-cores and 8 e-cores configuration. The 13700K has the same 253 turbo max power at the 13900K but does have lower clock speeds with the p-core mac at 5.4 GHz and the e-core at 4.2 GHz.

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Because we have the i9-13900K and the i5-13600K both on hand I did want to dive into their specs a little and compare them with the i9-12900K and i5-12600K that we took a look at last year. Putting them next to each other we can see a few of the areas where Intel has changed things up for this generation. The biggest change when I already mentioned is the addition of more E-Cores this time around. The 13600K has 8 E-Cores whereas the i5-12600K had 4, the P-Core count is still at 6 just like before but the additional E-Cores bring the thread count up to 20. The i9-13900K doubled up its E-Core count as well going from 8 on the 12900K to 16 for a total of 32 threads. The P-Core count is still 8 just like before. Both increased their total L2 cache with the 12600K going from 20MB to 24MB and the 13900K going from 30MB to 36MB. Then Intel also bumped clock speeds up with the 13600K now at 5.1 GHz for the max turbo frequency, the E-Core turbo frequency increased from 3.6 GHz to 3.9 as well. But interestingly the base clock speed on the P-Cores was lowered from 3.7 GHz to 3.5 GHz and the E-Core went don’t to 2.6 GHz from 2.8 GHz. The 13900K saw an even bigger jump on the max turbo frequency with it now capable of 5.8 GHz from 5.2 GHz and the E-Core turbo at 4.3 GHz from 3.9 GHz. Its base clocks have also dropped from 3.2 GHz to 3.0 GHz on the P-Core and down to 2.2 GHz from 2.4 GHz on the E-Cores. To handle all of this the base power is still the same on both at 125 watts but the turbo power stock limits have increased to 181 watts on the 13600K and 253 watts on the 13900K. Beyond that, the integrated graphics are still running the same Intel UHD Graphics 770  but both received a small bump in clock speeds there as well. As for pricing, the i5-13600K did increase compared to the $289 MSRP of the 12600K up to $309 but the i9-13900K stayed the same at $589 as the 12900K which puts it in between the new AMD Ryzen 9 7900X at $549 and the Ryzen 9 7950X with its $699 MSRP.  

I5-12600K

I5-13600K

i9-12900K

i9-13900K

Total Cores

10

14

16

24

# of Performance Cores

6

6

8

8

# of Efficient cores

4

8

8

16

Total Threads

16

20

24

32

Max Turbo Frequency

4.9 GHz

5.1 GHz

5.2 GHz

5.8 GHz

Efficient-core Max Turbo Frequency

3.6 GHz

3.9 GHz

3.9 GHz

4.3 GHz

Performance-core Base Frequency

3.7 GHz

3.5 GHz

3.2 GHz

3.0 GHz

Efficient-core Base Frequency

2.8 GHz

2.6 GHz

2.4 GHz

2.2 GHz

Cache

20 MB Intel Smart Cache

24 MB Intel Smart Cache

30 MB Intel Smart Cache

36 MB Intel Smart Cache

Total L2 Cache

9.5 MB

20 MB

14 MB

32 MB

Processor Base Power

125 Watts

125 Watts

125 Watts

125 Watts

Maximum Turbo Power

150 Watts

181 Watts

241 Watts

253 Watts

Processor Graphics

Intel UHD Graphics 770

Intel UHD Graphics 770

Intel UHD Graphics 770

Intel UHD Graphics 770

Graphics Base Frequency

300 MHz

300 MHz

300 MHz

300 MHz

Graphics Max Dynamic Frequency

1.45 GHz

1.5 GHz

1.55 GHz

1.65 GHz

Socket

LGA1700

LGA1700

LGA1700

LGA1700

MSRP

$289

$309

$589

$589

 

For the launch Intel didn’t just send over the two CPUs, they put together a cool set for the press kit like they have done with previous launches. They came in a box with the Intel branding on the front with a metallic finish that has the die image of the CPU on it. When you open the box up there are larger zoomed in die images with panels that cover up two compartments. These cover a compartment that has both CPUs and a second that has an acrylic keepsake that has a card with the die printed on it.  

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For the CPUs, Intel included the new flagship, the i9-13900K as well as the mid-range CPU, the i5-13600K which is the same combination as they have sent in the past as well. The new CPUs are the same LGA 1700 socket as the 12th-generation CPUs which means they have the same rectangle shape. They don’t have a crazy X-shaped heatspreader like AMD has gone with, they have the standard heatspreader with the model name laser etched on the top. I do wish they would do a larger Intel logo like how AMD does with their Ryzen branding but let’s be honest it will be under a cooler its entire life anyhow so it isn’t a big deal. Being an LGA socket the pins are on the motherboard and the CPU has contact pads on the bottom just like in the past. Beyond the model name etched on top, these don’t look any different than the 12th gen CPUs.

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