PCWorld (USA)

Intel unleashes 13th-gen Core CPUS with more cores, facemeltin­g speeds

Intel’s Core i9-13900k offers eight more cores and 600MHZ more turbo boost speed than its 12th-gen predecesso­r.

- BY MARK HACHMAN

Intel kicked off its 13th-gen Core (Raptor Lake) generation in late September with six new processors that executives claim offer the “world’s best gaming experience” for enthusiast­s, with up to 24 percent performanc­e improvemen­t in gaming compared to Intel’s own 12th-gen Core chips.

A large part of that increase derives from the fact that Intel is offering many more cores,

more threads, and higher clock speeds than ever before. The Core i9-13900k, for example, offers eight more cores plus eight more threads than the correspond­ing 12th-gen Core model, with an additional 600MHZ of “turbo” speed on top.

The unlocked Core i9-13900k tops out at a boost speed of 5.8GHZ, though the other processors operate at slower speeds. “To be clear, we are delivering the world’s fastest desktop processor out of the box,” said Mandy Mock, vice president and general manager of desktop, workstatio­n, and channel for Intel.

You may have anticipate­d higher prices for the new chips, perhaps in the wake of the sticker shock surroundin­g Nvidia’s new Geforce RTX 40-series GPUS ( fave.co/3yg7ber) and recent shortage pricing. But aside from the Core i5-13600k and I5-13600KF (which received a $30 bump), the prices of Intel’s 13th-gen Raptor Lake Core chips are identical to those of Intel’s 12th-gen Alder Lake. And now, AMD’S rival Ryzen CPUS aren’t always a cheaper option.

AMD has said that its just-launched Ryzen 7000 series will handily beat the best of what Intel has to offer ( fave.co/3bpnovb). AMD’S new Ryzen 7950X not only claims an enormous performanc­e advantage ( fave.co/3thn24k) over earlier Ryzens, but the high-end 7950X dropped $100 off the sticker price to boot. Intel also promised that Raptor Lake would hit 6GHZ ( fave.co/3vfyr0b)— and these initial 13th-gen Core chips do not, at least not yet, with CEO Pat Gelsinger saying to expect that chip “in limited volumes” next year. It’s going to be a tightly contested race for the best desktop processor of 2022.

MEET INTEL’S 13TH-GEN CORE CPUS

Intel will eventually fill out its processor lineup for the remainder of the desktop space, as well as mobile: U-, P-, H-, and Hx-series chips for laptops and 35W and 65W S-series

processors for desktops will accompany these new K-series processors in time, Mock said— the 13th-gen family will eventually offer no less than 50 CPUS. For now, though, the new K- and -KF series chips are taking center stage.

Here’s a quick summary of the new Intel processor lineup:

• Core i5-13600k ($319): 14 cores (6 performanc­e cores, 8 efficiency cores)/20 threads at up to 5.1GHZ; P-core: 3.5GHZ (base) to 5.1GHZ (turbo); E-core: 2.6GHZ (base) to 3.9GHZ (turbo)

• Core i7-13700k ($409): 16 cores (8 performanc­e cores, 8 efficiency cores)/24 threads at up to 5.4GHZ; P-core: 3.4GHZ (base) to 5.3GHZ (turbo); E-core: 2.5GHZ (base) to 4.2GHZ (turbo)

• Core i9-13900k ($589): 24 cores (8 performanc­e cores, 16 efficiency cores)/32 threads at up to 5.8GHZ; P-core: 3.0GHZ (base) to 5.4GHZ (turbo); E-core: 2.2GHZ (base) to 4.3GHZ (turbo)

• Intel also has three KF variants that eliminate the integrated GPU to save cost: the $564 Core I9-13900KF, the $384 Core I7-13700KF, and the $294 Core I5-13600KF. Unfortunat­ely, we’ve moved past the days where we can assign a processor a simple clock speed. Now, even the fastest speeds have to be qualified. While the performanc­e core on the Core i9-13900k can “only” achieve a boost speed of 5.4GHZ, one core may be able to achieve the chip’s overall boost speed of 5.8GHZ. That’s thanks to the Intel Turbo Max Technology 3.0 Intel debuted in 2019.

Power, too, isn’t as simple as it once was. What’s known as the PL2 value—the power needed to push the 13900K or KF series into its turbo mode—is 253W, Intel executives said, and 181W for a Core i5-13600k.

All three chips integrate Intel’s UHD Graphics 770 graphics, with slight difference­s in clock speed: 1,550MHZ, 1,600MHZ, and 1,650MHZ for the Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9 parts.

Intel’s new processors are built on the Intel 7 process, which Mock implied was producing better yields than the 12th-gen Alder Lake chip, also on Intel 7. Intel’s ramp of its Alder Lake-k chips was its fastest ever, Mock said, with 1 million units shipped by the end of 2021.

“We are on track to go even faster with 13th-gen, so there will be ample supply in the market to meet our customers’ demand,” Mock said. Intel anticipate­s that 140 partners across 30 countries will ship 13th-gen Raptor Lake chips, with 70 different versions of the Z790 motherboar­ds accompanyi­ng it, she said.

And in case you were wondering, yes, Intel held an internal discussion about officially naming these chips the 13th-generation Core chips. Qualcomm, for example, named a recent chip the Snapdragon 888 to capitalize on a number that’s seen as lucky in Asia. American buildings usually skip the 13th floor. But what it boiled down to was a certain smartphone company finding success with version 13 of its own operating system ( fave.co/3myii3n), and Intel deciding to follow suit.

WHAT’S INSIDE 13TH-GEN RAPTOR LAKE PCS

What’s improved? First, the new 13th-gen Core Raptor Lake chips include an updated Raptor Cove processor core with improved speed paths, said Daniel Rogers, Intel’s senior director of mobile marketing. Inside Intel’s upgraded Intel 7 process is a 3rd-gen Superfin transistor. Essentiall­y, Intel is benefiting from an improved design alongside a performanc­e boost from the maturation of process technology as well, according to Guy Therien, an Intel fellow.

The number of efficiency cores has also doubled. In addition to the additional cores, Mock said the cache attached to the efficiency cores had been increased. Intel’s hybrid architectu­re uses performanc­e cores for foreground tasks that you’re actively

working on, as well as efficiency cores handling background tasks that would normally steal CPU cycles from the active app.

Intel’s thread scheduler, tightly integrated with Windows 11, can also assign priority tasks to the efficiency cores under extreme workloads. In the new Windows 11 2022 Update ( fave.co/3mu22p3), not only has the Thread Director been optimized but the way background tasks are handled by Windows has been improved, increasing the overall efficiency of a Raptor Lake PC running the latest version of Windows. (Incidental­ly, Intel has no plans to release a version of Thread Director software that will allow you to manually assign performanc­e cores or efficiency cores, executives said.)

Intel’s debut Raptor Lake volley is paired with Z790 motherboar­ds, an upgraded chipset that now adds support for DDR5-5600 and -5200 memory, as well as DDR43200 memory. Board makers can take advantage of 16 PCI Express 5.0 lanes ( fave.co/2Ynwrdr) off the CPU, plus an additional four PCIE 4.0 lanes. The compute fabric bridging the two has been made 900MHZ faster, increasing I/O performanc­e. Finally, Thunderbol­t 4 and Intel’s Killer Wifi 6E continue to make appearance­s.

Basically, all of Intel’s 600-series and 700-series boards will be backward-compatible, provided that they have a manufactur­er-supplied update that supports the 13th-gen Raptor Lake.

There’s something else that’s rather interestin­g: additional support for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 I/O. That’s gobbledygo­ok to most people, but the upshot is that USB ports on Z790 systems will be capable of 20Gbps, as opposed to the normal 10Gbps most USB-A and USB-C ports enable. That will potentiall­y add extra performanc­e headroom for USB-C dongles, provided Intel brings this capability to the mobile space.

INTEL 13TH-GEN CORE RAPTOR LAKE PERFORMANC­E

There are many metrics you can use to compare the performanc­e of a processor, but here’s how Intel breaks it down: The new Core i9-13900k delivers 15 percent more performanc­e in single-threaded applicatio­ns and 41 percent multithrea­ded performanc­e over the Core i9-12900k. Raptor Lake’s single-threaded performanc­e has improved decently over Alder Lake, but thanks to the significan­t increase in the number of cores and threads,

overall performanc­e should increase dramatical­ly. Marcus Kennedy, general manager of Intel’s gaming and esports segment, also showed a suite of gaming tests that indicated the 13th-gen Core chips were up to 24 percent faster in gaming. All this should mean fairly minor improvemen­ts in most graphics-heavy games, though more substantia­l performanc­e improvemen­ts in CPU-hungry games like League of Legends and DOTA.

Creatives, though, should see some real benefits. Intel’s claiming that the 13th-gen Raptor Lake cores are 27 percent faster in a workload that involves Adobe Media Encoder and Adobe Photoshop, as well as 34 percent faster in a media creation workload involving Blender and the Unreal Engine for game developmen­t. In the demonstrat­ion, Intel ran Photoshop in the foreground and the encoder in the background, as it did for the Blender render.

But Intel, and Mock, may have

to prove that its Raptor Lake is faster than the Ryzen 7000 in testing. On paper, it’s an interestin­g comparison: The Ryzen 7950X has “just” 16 cores and 32 threads, but runs at a 4.5GHZ base clock and up to 5.7GHZ while in turbo mode. They’re all “big” highperfor­mance cores, however. Intel’s Core i9-13900k packs more cores (24) and 32 threads, but has a mixture of performanc­e (8) and efficiency (16) cores that begin at 2.23.0GHZ, but can boost up to 5.8GHZ. AMD’S Ryzen 9 7950X consumes 170W, versus the 165W the Core i9 requires.

Since head-to-head tests weren’t yet officially possible at the time of the announceme­nt, Intel compared its 13th-gen chip to AMD’S Ryzen 5000 series instead. Intel’s own tests showed a whopping 58 percent improvemen­t over the Ryzen 5950X in games like Marvel’s Spider-man Remastered. In content creation, the difference was even more profound: 69 percent in Autodesk Revit’s model creation.

Those gamers that choose to water-cool their system should see higher overclocki­ng frequencie­s with “headroom similar to 12th-gen,” Intel said, and overclocke­d DDR5 memory pushing up to 6,600 megatransf­ers per second.

Though extreme overclocki­ng is still pretty much a niche applicatio­n, Intel believes that cooling the cores using liquid nitrogen will push performanc­e core frequencie­s beyond a whopping 8GHZ, with overclocke­d DDR5 memory pushing beyond 10,000 MT/S.

With Intel’s disclosure of Raptor Lake, we now know what AMD’S plans are for at least the majority of its Ryzen 7000 processor lineup, as well as where the performanc­e of those chips falls. Now we just have to wait for the independen­t benchmarks that can tell us the same regarding Intel’s 13th-gen Core chips.

The fall is typically one of the most exciting times of the year for enthusiast­s hoping to build their own desktop systems. AMD, Nvidia, and now Intel have all outlined their offerings for the upcoming year. Now, we wait for official testing to confirm whether their claims will play out in the real world.

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 ?? ?? This is worthy of note: simply by tweaking the manufactur­ing process, Intel’s 13th-gen Raptor Lake at 65W can deliver all of the performanc­e the older 12900K (Alder Lake) can produce at 241W in turbo mode. That matters as power prices go up.
This is worthy of note: simply by tweaking the manufactur­ing process, Intel’s 13th-gen Raptor Lake at 65W can deliver all of the performanc­e the older 12900K (Alder Lake) can produce at 241W in turbo mode. That matters as power prices go up.
 ?? ?? By and large, Intel has left the prices of its 13th-gen Raptor Lake chips unchanged from Alder Lake.
By and large, Intel has left the prices of its 13th-gen Raptor Lake chips unchanged from Alder Lake.
 ?? ?? Intel’s three new 13th-gen Core (Raptor Lake) processors.
Intel’s three new 13th-gen Core (Raptor Lake) processors.
 ?? ?? Intel’s Z790 chipset will be paired with Intel’s 13th-gen Core (Raptor Lake) chips.
Intel’s Z790 chipset will be paired with Intel’s 13th-gen Core (Raptor Lake) chips.
 ?? ?? Intel’s 13th-gen Raptor Lake shows some gains over its predecesso­r, Alder Lake.
Intel’s 13th-gen Raptor Lake shows some gains over its predecesso­r, Alder Lake.
 ?? ?? Intel claims that its 13-gen Core, Raptor Lake, demonstrat­es significan­t gains in gaming performanc­e over AMD’S previous Ryzen 5000 generation.
Intel claims that its 13-gen Core, Raptor Lake, demonstrat­es significan­t gains in gaming performanc­e over AMD’S previous Ryzen 5000 generation.
 ?? ?? Intel also claims hefty performanc­e wins for its 13th-gen Core (Raptor Lake) over the older Ryzens as well.
Intel also claims hefty performanc­e wins for its 13th-gen Core (Raptor Lake) over the older Ryzens as well.
 ?? ?? Intel’s 13th-gen Core shows significan­t improvemen­ts over its own 12th-gen processor in content creation.
Intel’s 13th-gen Core shows significan­t improvemen­ts over its own 12th-gen processor in content creation.
 ?? ?? Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility and Speed Optimizer have been updated to work with Intel’s 13th-gen Core, or Raptor Lake.
Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility and Speed Optimizer have been updated to work with Intel’s 13th-gen Core, or Raptor Lake.

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