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What We Know About Intel 13th-Gen So Far
The 12th-gen Alder Lake CPUs put Intel solidly back into the CPU game after years of sliding against its competitor AMD, yet now with the Ryzen 7000-series desktop CPUs giving even the 12900 processors a solid thumping, all eyes are on the 13th-gen products from Team Blue.
The Basics About Raptor Lake
Like Alder Lake, Raptor Lake is a hybrid design offering hyperthreaded performance and non-hyperthreaded efficiency cores. These LGA1700 CPUs offer a maximum of 8 P-cores and 16 E-cores. The P-cores are Raptor Cove CPUs, and the E-cores are Gracemont CPUs. As an LGA1700 part, it’s a drop-in upgrade for current Alder Lake customers assuming your motherboard supports it.
Raptor Lake uses the Intel 7 process, which is still a 10nm process, but as the naming suggests, Intel thinks it’s as good as a true 7nm process. Intel’s inability to scale its process down over the past few years is well known, and with TSMC starting 3nm production on paper, it seems archaic.
However, using creative engineering and lateral thinking, Intel has managed to tap amazing amounts of performance from this process with Alder Lake, so we expect Raptor Lake to be competitive but as always, wait for benchmarks!
The CPUs that have been announced so far range from 14 cores to 24 cores, with the P-core counts starting at six and ending at eight:
Core i9-13900K – 24 cores (8 performance, 16 efficiency) boosts to 5.8GHz
Core i9-13900KF – 24 cores (8 performance, 16 efficiency) boosts to 5.8GHzCore
Core i7-13700K – 16 cores (8 performance, 8 efficiency) boosts to 5.4GHz
Core i7-13700KF – 16 cores (8 performance, 8 efficiency) boosts to 5.4GHz
Core i5-13600K – 14 cores (6 performance, 8 efficiency) boosts to 5.1GHz
Core i5-13600KF – 14 cores (6 performance, 8 efficiency) boosts to 5.1GHz
All of these are “K” models with unlocked multipliers. Models that are marked “KF” lack an iGPU compared to the “K” model and are slightly cheaper. All of these CPUs offer 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes, which is the equivalent of 32 PCIe 4.0 lanes.
6Ghz Boost Clocks and Performance Improvements
One thing we know for sure since Intel confirmed it, is that Raptor Lake boosts clocks are as high as 6Ghz and that the silicon breached the 8Ghz mark under LN2 extreme overclocking. None of the CPUs that have been announced so far actually have a boost clock of 6Ghz. The highest official boost clock among them is 5.8Ghz, so we expect another CPU above the 13900K that’s been announced thus far.
Intel claims “up to” 15% better single-threaded performance, with up to 41% improved multi-threaded performance. It’s no surprise, given the increase in E-cores, and higher clock speeds account for most of the single-threaded uplift.
Pricing and Release Date
There are six 13th-gen CPUs that are already open for pre-order at the time of writing. The announced CPUs will go on sale on the 20th October 2022. MSRPs for the first run of models are as follows:
Core i9-13900K ($589)
Core i9-13900KF ($564)
Core i7-13700K ($409)
Core i7-13700KF ($384)
Core i5-13500K ($319)
Core i5-13500KF ($294)
It’s interesting to note that the i5 is the only CPU to get a price bump, albeit a quite modest one. How much better the performance will be from Alder Lake to Raptor Lake remains to be seen and will depend on the application. Intel has mentioned in particular that the CPU scheduler in Raptor Lake is much improved over Alder Lake, which was a weakness of that product line, especially on any operating system that isn’t Windows 11.
Who Should Buy Raptor Lake?
It’s all but certain that Intel’s upcoming Meteor Lake CPUs will not use the LGA 1700 socket, which makes it very hard to recommend the 13th-generation to anyone looking to bulid a new system. Unless you don’t care about upgrading, of course. Since only Alder Lake and Raptor Lake use this socket, it means that anyone on older generations of Intel CPU need not apply either.
From that point of view, AMD’s 7000-series Ryzen AM5 products are more appealing, since that socket is likely to be supported over several generations of CPU. We need to see more head-to-head comparisons, but the 7000-series benchmarks that are out for AM5 Ryzen chips are mighty impressive.
Even if you’re a gamer, the latest Intel flagship seems to be behind the AMD Ryzen 5800X3D as a gaming chip specifically, so that muddies the water even further.
There are surely more 13th-gen chips on the way, but one area we are quite interested in is the mobile segment. Given the increase in E-cores and upcoming laptops featuring 13th-gen chips, Raptor Lake could end up being a killer mobile workstation product.